Resource Efficiency

Definition, goals & methodology

Resource efficiency stands for the efficient use of natural resources and the relationship between the resources used and the benefits derived from them. The less materials are used for the resulting benefit, the better the resource efficiency.

Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement Carbon Footprint

What is resource efficiency?

Continued worldwide population growth is resulting in a global increase in demand for products and associated resources. Currently, our society consumes more resources than the earth can provide and renew. Improved efficiency can counteract the increasing consumption of raw materials.
By using a broad range of methods and approaches to achieve material & energy efficiency, potential savings can quickly be identified and successfully realized.

Resource efficiency stands for the relationship between natural raw materials or technical-economic materials and the benefits gained from their use, whether in production or consumption. The aim is to maximise the benefits of products or services while minimising consumption and waste. The less energy and material required to produce a product the better.

Resource Efficiency - simply explained!

Why is resource efficiency necessary?

A responsible approach to the environment and the raw materials extracted from it is more important today than ever before.

The protection of natural resources is essential from both an ecological (environmental & nature conservation) and social perspective. Raw materials, such as rare earths, ores or even energy sources, are the basis of our prosperity and must be preserved both to protect the climate & environment and for future generations.

Renewable raw materials in particular play a key role here.

What are raw materials?

In addition to water, soil, air and biological diversity, raw materials are natural resources.

Raw materials are unprocessed or only slightly processed materials that are used in production processes in industry & trade. Energy sources are also regarded as resources.

Why is resource efficiency necessary?

Goals & fields:

  • Energy efficiency: Reducing energy consumption

  • Material efficiency: Avoidance of material waste and losses and reduction of the use of operating and auxiliary materials

  • Cost efficiency: Cost savings through less energy and material use

  • Reduction of negative environmental impacts: Achieving CO2 savings by sparing resources

    You can also find further exciting insights into the topic of resource efficiency in our ► Case Studies

    Resource Efficiency Goals

    More than energy savings:

    For many manufacturing companies, energy efficiency is often the entry point into the topic, because with good energy management, savings can often be achieved quickly with simple measures. But what if the so-called "low hanging fruits" have been worked off?

    Then it is worth taking a look at material efficiency. This is often where further efficiency potential is hidden. Material losses are particularly inefficient if the material has already been on a long journey along the value chain - because the CO2 rucksack that the material brings with it is correspondingly large. These so-called "hidden costs" can be uncovered by a precise analysis of the material flows, e.g. with the help of ► Material Flow Cost Accounting.

      Resource Efficiency Goals

      Critical consideration:


      Increased resource efficiency often results in a price reduction for a good or service, which in return increases demand. This can result in an overall increase in resource consumption. This effect is called the rebound effect or Jevons' paradox.

      Therefore a sustainable corporate strategy should not only focus on the principle of efficiency. The diagram here shows the three basic principles of sustainable resource consumption.

      According to the principle of sufficiency, the absolute consumption of resources must also be reduced so that future generations can have a fair share in the use of natural resources. This is the only way to decouple growth and prosperity from the use of natural resources in the long term at a macroeconomic level and to strengthen competitiveness.

      Resource efficiency sufficiency
      Consulting on Resource Efficiency by ifu Hamburg

      Consulting Services of ifu Hamburg

      • Experienced team of resource efficiency experts, process and environmental engineers
      • Support at every step on the way to improved resource efficiency and a more sustainable production
      • From workshops and training courses to project support
      More information about our consulting services

      More information about our consulting services
      Resource Efficiency Software by ifu Hamburg

      Resource Efficiency Software Umberto

      • Graphical visualization of production processes
      • Transparency over energy and material flows
      • Leading software for Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA)
      • Comparison and evaluation of improvement measures
      • Determination of the CO2 footprint
      More information about Umberto Efficiency+

      More information about Umberto Efficiency+

      We optimize your resource flow system and make it sustainable!

      Do you have questions about the resource efficiency of your products?

      Or are you pursuing the goal of a more optimized use of energy and raw materials?
      Then you are very welcome to contact us. We look forward to talking to you about the creation of a sustainable economy.

      ifu Expert News

      Monthly whitepaper, best practice examples etc. on sustainable production

      Related Topics:

      Product Carbon Footprint

      Product Carbon Footprint

      A Product Carbon Footprint is an instrument for determining the climate impact of a product. Learn more

      Learn more
      Product Environmental Footprint

      Environmental Footprint

      The Product Environmental Footprint is developed to make products comparable in terms of sustainability. Learn more

      Learn more
      What is material flow analysis?

      Material Flow Analysis

      Material flow management refers to the analysis and process optimization of material and energy flows. Learn more

      Learn more
      Material flow cost accounting

      MFCA

      The goal of material flow cost accounting is to increase business resource efficiency. Learn more

      Learn more