Resource efficiency as part of overarching strategies and actors
Few countries under study have adopted a strategy or law similar to the German Resource Efficiency Program (ProgRess), which explicitly addresses the efficient use of raw materials across the value chain. In this respect, India launched the Indian Resource Efficiency Program (IREP) in 2017. IREP includes a short- and medium-term Action Plan 2018—2020 with action points on material How indicators, environmental labels, recycling standards, best practices for green mining, industry clusters, sustainable public procurement, information sharing and awareness-raising (NITI Aayog National Institution for Transforming India, EU External Action, 2017).
The majority of the surveyed countries have adopted either an overarching framework or sub-strategies in the areas of sustainable development and green growth. Raw material efficiency is, hereby, often mentioned as an aspect or even designated as a critical component (Renault et al. 2016). South Africa, for example, has developed the National Framework for Sustainable Development (Department of Environmental Affairs South Africa 2011) in which the efficient use of natural resources is a crucial component. Another example is the Republic of Korea where resource efficiency is part of the 2010 Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth. Countries such as Mexico,
Brazil and Indonesia promote resource efficiency within the framework of action plans and special programs, which are integrated into overarching strategies for sustainable development.
In other countries, resource efficiency is promoted through so-called partial strategies (Renault et al. 2016). One example is China, a raw material importing country, which has adopted the Circular Economy Development Promotion Law with the objective to integrate secondary materials much stronger to contribute to future raw material supply (Li & Lin 2016). The USA is promoting raw material efficiency as part of the Sustainable Materials Management Program (2009) which supports raw material efficiency in consumption and waste management in the sectors of food, construction and packaging (USEPA 2019b).
In most of all countries under study, the central actors to foster resource efficiency are environmental ministries or administrative agencies and strategic planning institutions within the governments. In the monitored Latin American countries, companies and universities are actively pushing the topic. Civil society and non-governmental initiatives have been found in all countries under study mostly in the field of waste management.
Compared to the other countries under study, the institutional approach in India is outstanding with the Indian Resource Panel established in 2015. The Indian Resource Panel is a group of ten experts who assist the Indian government in advising and promoting resource efficiency. Its members include former environment ministers, NGO representatives, companies and scientists. With its focus on resource efficiency, the panel is the first of its kind at the national level. Its main task is to advise the Indian Ministry of the Environment (MoeFCC) and the National Planning Commission NITI Aayog on the design and implementation of a national resource efficiency strategy' (Government of India, NITI Aayog National Institution for Transforming India, 2017).