Why does resource efficiency matter?

In Resource efficiency

The unsustainable use of resources has triggered critical scarcities and caused climate change and widespread environmental degradation – all of which have negative impacts on the well-being of the planet and its people.

At the same time, more than 10 per cent of the world population continues to live in extreme poverty, unable to meet even their most basic needs.

Responding to this dual challenge will require innovative policies, redirected investment, environmentally sound technologies, international cooperation, and capacity development to support countries to transition to inclusive green economies. Producers will need to change how they design, source, manufacture and market their products. Consumers will need to incorporate environmental and social concerns into their consumption decisions and adopt sustainable lifestyles.

At UN Environment, we are striving to decouple economic development from resource use and environmental degradation, while reaping the benefits of this transition to ensure inclusiveness and poverty eradication.

Our work focuses on the following areas:

  • Engaging with governments in their transition to inclusive green economies;
  • Fostering partnerships with business and industry for cleaner production and green investments;
  • Influencing consumer information and choice for sustainable lifestyles; and
  • Strengthening and communicating the knowledge and scientific base for resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production.

Sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is a key focus of our work. SCP is about promoting resource and energy efficiency while providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. The implementation of SCP as an integrated approach helps to achieve overall development plans; lower economic, environmental and social costs; strengthen economic competitiveness; and reduce poverty.

Consult the ABC of resource efficiency and link it to the glossary

In Resource efficiency