The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said that harnessing existing technologies and appropriate policies to increase resource productivity could save up to $3.7 trillion (£2.18 trillion) each year.
In its report Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options, it notes that resource productivity would insulate future economic growth from the harmful effects of resource scarcity, price volatility and environmental impacts.
Produced by UNEP’s International Resource Panel, the report notes that the price of metal has risen by 176 per cent since 2000, rubber by 350 per cent and energy by 260 per cent and shows the results that competition for resources is already having.
UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said: “The worldwide use of natural resources has accelerated – annual material extraction grew by a factor of eight through the twentieth century – causing severe environmental damage and depletion of natural resources. Yet this dangerous explosion in demand is set to accelerate as a result of population growth and rising incomes.
“Dramatic improvements in resource productivity are a vital element of a transition to a green economy that will lift one billion people out of poverty and manage the natural resources required for the wellbeing of nine billion people by 2050. This requires an urgent rethink of current practices, backed by a massive investment in technological, financial and social innovation.”
View the report at www.unep.org/resourcepanel