GBC commits to support G7 & G20 leaders in developing an international policy framework on resource efficiency that benefits from the experience and initiatives of business

Rome, March 30, 2017 – Meeting the demand for natural resources in a sustainable way is one of the main challenges of our time; data indicate that the use of raw materials rose at about twice the rate of the population growth, over the last century. The present trends are forcing today’s societies to consider the environmental impacts of using raw materials, from their extraction and production, through to their end-of-life.

To decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, a collaborative approach involving governments, businesses, the scientific community, as well as consumers is much needed. The Global Business Coalition (GBC), which brings together leading business organisations from the major world economies, has made resource efficiency its priority and is committed to supporting the initiatives undertaken by the G7 and G20 leaders, in fostering the inclusion of resource efficiency in the international agenda.

RESOURCE EFFICIENCY, A GROWING GLOBAL PRIORITY

Resource efficiency has kept gaining in importance over the recent years, as a large part of the global resource flow takes place across borders and the challenges as well as opportunities can be addressed effectively through international dialogue and cooperation.

In 2015, resource efficiency became a priority, under the German G7 Presidency, with the launch of the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency, which aims to promote an exchange of concepts on how to address the challenges of resource efficiency, to share best practices and experiences, and to create information networks.

In 2016, under the Japanese G7 Presidency, the leaders endorsed the Toyama Framework on Material Cycles to provide a new framework for a common vision and a guide for future actions to deepen the efforts on resource efficiency and the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

In 2017, Germany has introduced, for the first time, the Energy, Climate and Resource Efficiency taskforce in the B20 agenda and has been advocating for the creation of a platform that can favour the exchange of best practices, experience on national policies and possible cooperation on resource efficiency at the G20 level.

It is in this context that Confindustria, the Confederation of Italian Industry, along with the Global Business Coalition, is hosting an international workshop on resource efficiency, in Rome on March 30, 2017, to foster the cooperation between the international business community, the G7-G20 and dedicated institutions such as OECD and UNEP.

THE ROLE OF BUSINESS

Businesses with global value chains are the most vulnerable to high volatility of supplies, but also occupy a key position to identify constraints and opportunities associated with natural resources. By decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, businesses can also reduce risks, supply uncertainties and disruptions.

Businesses are indeed key solution providers for making our economies more resource efficient. Through innovative products and solutions, they can enable consumers to meet their economic needs in a more sustainable way. Many businesses believed in the resource efficient thinking and started investing in it years ago, and have gradually integrated it into industrial practices. Thus, good resource efficiency practices already exist in many sectors, be it as technologies or new business models.

In the coming years, resource efficiency will significantly impact the way businesses operate. It is expected that resource efficiency driven business models, will spur innovation along the entire value chain, increase revenue, and drive competitiveness, while helping to move towards sustainable futures. Companies that invest in resource efficiency will be best positioned to seize market opportunities and face international competition.

CHARTING A RESOURCE EFFICIENCY AGENDA

“Resource efficiency means a more sustainable management of at least three assets that are crucial for industry: materials, energy and soil. Global action is required in each of these fields in order to reach the ambitious targets shared by the international community and, ultimately, to allow the transition to a more ‘circular’ economy, a stable climate change mitigation and an effective soil preservation.” Elaborated Vincenzo Boccia, President of Confindustria.

President Boccia further emphasized, “In this respect, industry will play a crucial role, by investing in R&D, increasing its energy efficiency, and working on remediation and redevelopment of industrial areas. To accelerate this process, the global framework requires urgent action from our political leaders and a major engagement from stakeholders and public alike”.

The development of an effective global roadmap on resource efficiency will benefit from active cooperation, between businesses and national and international institutions, in working towards achieving the following objectives:

  • Encouraging publicising resource efficiency thinking to reach out to a wider audience, including all aspects for material value chains from extraction through to product use and end-of-life.
  • Establishing monitoring of material flows as a primary objective for increasing resource efficiency. Addressing gaps in information by supporting public authorities, who are an indispensable source of credible data and can make material data accessible and useful for the purposes of resource efficiency along global value chains.
  • Reviewing national and regional policy initiatives that incentivise resource efficiency in order to compare and integrate them into internationally transparent policies.
  • Striving to provide consistent policies and incentives for companies and shareholders to embed resource efficiency in business growth strategies.
  • Fostering increased public and private investment in research and innovation as it could reduce the cost of material resources solutions and facilitate the transition to more-advanced technologies.
  • Enabling financial services/ capital markets to better evaluate resource efficiency policies and to help them become more amenable to extend finance to breakthrough innovations.
  • Reviewing recommendations from international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank to ensure that they reflect today’s market conditions and new material flows.
  • Addressing the ‘paradox of plenty’, which needs to be taken seriously, to be eradicated, by an integrated approach that takes into account the need to promote growth in the local economies.

By providing a link between governments, relevant international institutions and business communities, the Global Business Coalition is in a unique position to inform the G7 and G20 policy-makers of the forward trends within industries, to support the development of an integrated international policy framework that benefits from good practices and experiences of how businesses can promote resource efficiency activities globally.

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This statement is issued by the Global Business Coalition members, in Berlin, Brasilia, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, New Delhi, Ottawa, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Sydney, and Washington, D.C.

To download the Press Release click here

Banner image: Confindustria