Analysis: Resource efficiency – Innovations for the environment and jobs

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of PLC.

A conference held by German think-tank Ecologic examined the issue of resource efficiency (energy, raw materials) and the opportunities it provides for the economy and job creation.

On 31 August 2006 a conference entitled “Resource Efficiency – Innovations for the Environment and Job Creation”, jointly organised by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment and IG Metall (Industrial Trade Union of Metalworkers), was held in Berlin. 

Central to the discussion was the intelligent use of energy and raw materials as a key component of increased employment and economic success. Participants agreed that only a linkage between economy and ecology through the use of energy-efficient products and procedures will both provide chances for the future and preserve natural resources. 

It was concluded that using resources efficiently in ways that improve the environment and conserve raw materials can both lower costs and develop new markets. In many firms, the overwhelming focus is placed on work productivity, with too little attention paid to resource efficiency. But paying attention to the efficiency of material inputs makes sense both economically and environmentally. If German firms can become engines for innovation, it was argued, then the economic competitiveness of the German economy can be secured, creating new employment opportunities in the future.

Speeches and issue papers presented at the conference can be downloaded here.