On Germany’s initiative, the G20 countries are, for the first time, discussing the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources and raw materials. Representatives of the world’s 20 largest economies are coming together today in Berlin to discuss resource efficiency. The talks will be opened by German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, Matthias Machnig. The United Nations International Resources Panel (IRP) is also presenting its latest report at the event.
Minister Hendricks commented: "The German government wants to use the G20 Presidency to launch a new international resource efficiency initiative. We need a strong partnership among all the major economies to ensure we do not further exceed the planet’s ecological boundaries. Our prosperity must not depend on the increasingly intensive exploitation of resources. Growth and resource consumption are still too firmly bound together worldwide."
State Secretary Machnig: "Resource efficiency plays an important role in sustainably strengthening and modernising industrial locations. Here, digitalisation and lightweight design are important drivers of resource efficiency, something which strong emerging economies could profit from. By establishing the G20 Resource Efficiency partnership we are laying the foundation for much-needed networking and setting the required exchange in motion. It will be crucial to put this on a voluntary basis and foster cooperation with industry."
The IRPs latest report extensively shows that economic growth needs to be decoupled from the rapidly rising global demand for raw materials. The report presents two scenarios for raw material consumption: in the business as usual scenario, the extraction of raw materials between now and 2050 would double if no alternative measures are taken. Current global consumption stands at 85 billion tonnes. If, as depicted in the second scenario, resources were to be used in a more efficient and climate-friendly manner, raw material consumption could be reduced by 28 percent by 2050. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions would be lowered by 62 percent and global economic performance would even grow by further 1 percent.
The report shows that resource efficiency makes an important contribution to environmental protection and climate action as well as to the implementation of the SDGs. Resource efficiency increases competitiveness and helps secure jobs.
Delegations from international organisations such as OECD, UN Environment, UNIDO and all of the G20 countries are expected to attend the kick-off event. The outcomes of the resource efficiency event will be incorporated into preparations for the G20 summit, which will be held on 7 and 8 July 2017 in Hamburg.