Structure of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess)

ProgRess II consists of ten action areas with over 120 individual policy approaches. Unlike the broad European concept of resources (Eurostat n.d.), ProgRess focuses on the material use of resources, including the related environmental impacts. The programme addresses a large number of different activity levels (as shown in Figure 14.1) but bases mainly on voluntary activities and instruments.

ProgRess implementation mechanisms

The governance of ProgRess is shared by the Federal Environment Ministry and Federal Environment Agency (here: BMU and UBA). Main elements in the implementation process of ProgRess are:

  • • A National Platform for Resource Efficiency (NaRess), established in 2013. Initially comprising the Federal Government and industry associations, the membership was extended to further groups such as environmental organisations, unions and local authority associations. NaRess serves as a platform for sharing information on members’ resource efficiency activities and supports the implementation and onward development of ProgRess (BMUB 2016).
  • • The Centre for Resource Efficiency (VDI ZRE), established in 2011. It develops products notably comprising sector-specific support, methodologies, and information. They include, for example, resource efficiency checks and process systematisation tools to assist manufacturing enterprises with internal resource efficiency improvement projects (BMUB 2016).
Elements of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess 201(>-2020)

Figure 14.1 Elements of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess 201(>-2020).

Source: own illustration; modified from Bahn-Walkowiak et al. (2019: 44).

• The Resource Efficiency Network (NeRess), established in 2007. The network combines inter-disciplinary expertise and experience in resource efficient production, products, and management (BMUB 2016).

The implementation of ProgRess has been transparently communicated from a range of different thematic perspectives in biannual public Resource Efficiency Network (NeRess) meetings, biannual meetings of the Länder, and conferences of the European Resources Forum (ERF) and the National Resources Forum (NRF).

ProgRess evaluation

A recent evaluation assessed ProgRess to be a successful strategy with important network components and an elaborated updating process. However, the impact on resource use clearly needs to be improved, and material flows need to be optimised (Bahn-Walkowiak et al. 2019; Verbiicheln & Wagner-Endres 2018). The leading research question is why ProgRess does not have a greater penetration on all levels and how can this be improved. The objective of this chapter is therefore to highlight options for better integration of Lander and municipalities in the further development and implementation of ProgRess.

Länder: responsibilities and influence on action areas of ProgRess

To date, all 16 Länder have a sustainability strategy, but only 3 of them have a specific strategy' for resource efficiency (i.e. Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hessen. Saxony). The Länder that have integrated relevant resource policy activities into their environmental policy are Bavaria (Bavarian Raw Materials Strategy), Saarland (Saar Environmental Pact) and North-Rhine-Westphalia (Sustainability Strategy).

Federal states have various legal and other possibilities to, directly and indirectly, influence the consumption of raw materials. To mention is the field of land management, construction policy, waste and circular flow policies, public procurement, mining laws, regulation of environmental impact assessments. However, some of the resource relevant intervention points of the Länder are not within the defined scope of action of ProgRess, but go beyond it.

The scope for action of the Länder in the areas of raw material extraction and supply, production, consumption, circular economy and sustainable urban development (which represent five of ProgRess’ total ten areas of action) is consequently vast and diverse. The authors identified several hundred intervention points in the form of different economic, legal, informational, or sectoral instruments. Multiplied with the individual countries an impressive number of options occurs.

ProgRess areas, which are in the exclusive responsibility of the Länder, are not found in the 120 policy approaches. On the other hand, about 60 of the policy approaches are at least partly under the responsibility of the Länder. That means that competencies/responsibilities are to be shared with the other governance levels and coordination is required. Multi-actor responsibilities are always at risk to lead to no actor feeling responsible, sometimes resulting in inaction.

Municipalities: responsibilities and influence on action areas of ProgRess

Besides the sovereignty of the Länder, it is important to mention that the local self-government of German municipalities includes the right to implement most of the public responsibility independently. However, the municipalities implement obligatory as well as optional tasks on the local level in general. Concerning the constitutional law, it is not possible to allocate duties directly to the municipalities by the Federal State — only the Länder have this option by using their legislation. Therefore, the Federal Government has to go via the Länder level or use other means such as programmes or incentives to address municipalities.

On the municipal level, large quantities of resources are required, such as building materials, water and energy. Resource efficiency is a cross-sectional local and regional issue. Hence, the local politicians, administration and

Actors and action areas in resource efficiency on the local level

Figure 14.2 Actors and action areas in resource efficiency on the local level.

Source: own illustration; modified from Verbiicheln and Wagner-Endres (2018).

municipal undertakings play an important role in resource efficiency, along with actors of civil society and private enterprises (Verbiicheln & Wagner-Endres 2018). Figure 14.2 shows the actors and municipal actions fields which have a direct or indirect effect on the use of natural resources.

The local politics (e.g. mayor, council, a county office) sets the agenda on the local level, produces statutes and has a monitoring and controlling function, for example, vis-à-vis the local administration (CEMR. 2013). The municipal administration has competencies in different resource relevant action areas (e.g. urban planning, environment; see Figure 14.2). The daily work of the administration comprises planning and implementation. The municipal business development units support small and medium enterprises (SME) or industries in business parks (e.g. resource efficiency). Municipal infrastructure undertakings and economic enterprises (private law organised) take duties from the local government. They mostly provide local and regional infrastructures like energy' and water supply, public transport, or waste management. The mentioned actors are in Germany part of the so-called ‘municipal family’. The civil society (e.g. Transition Town) pushes bottom-up processes and is important for local action.

Figure 14.2 shows how important the role of municipalities is for the implementation of resource relevant activities. In addition, municipalities play further different roles on the local and regional level — they are initiators.

networkers, or partners for the implementation of any resource relevant activities. Local actors have the knowledge to identify on-site potentials, develop networks and adopt measures.

However, there are different interfaces between the 120 individual policy approaches which are described in ProgRess II and the action areas of the municipalities. The evaluation has shown that 34 of the policy approaches are optional, and three are obligator}' for the municipalities (Verbiicheln and Bahn-Walkowiak, unpublished). For example, the following ProgRess policy approaches have a direct link to municipalities: ‘Environment-friendly expansion of material use of regenerative resources’ or ‘resource-efficient neighbourhood and building development, construction, refurbishment, and use’ or ‘resource-efficient infrastructure’ (BMUB, 2016). An effective implementation of such policy approaches is not possible without the municipalities. Furthermore, municipal activities affect resource relevant action fields which are not included in ProgRess, for example, the field of mobility.

There is a multitude of municipal activities which have a direct and indirect effect on natural resources. But on the local and regional level, resources are not a single action field. In the municipalities, there are usually no separate departments, authorities, or single persons who are responsible for resource protection or resource efficiency. Approaches are mostly sectoral. Furthermore, questions concerning resource efficiency play a minor role in most of the municipal action areas (e.g. urban planning). There are still potentials on the local and regional level which have to be realised in an efficient and consistent way.

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