Resource efficiency – in a nutshell
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.