Germany has committed itself to an ambitious resource policy. The National Strategy for Sustainable Development formulates the goal of doubling the resource productivity until 2020 (compared to 1994). The need to increase resource efficiency is indisputable: Natural resources are finite and their extraction and use are associated with environmental impacts. Meanwhile, other states, the European Union and international institutions follow the example of Germany and recognize the need for increasing resource efficiency. The rapid growth of the world’s population and developing economies’ growing hunger for resources intensifies the pressure to act. Recent assessments suggest, however, that the goal of doubling resource productivity will not be reached unless further policy measures are taken. Despite numerous political and scientific proposals (e.g. draft of the resource efficiency program by the environmental ministry) the goals and priorities of resource efficiency remain contested within society.
Against this background, the project aims at supporting and stimulating the emerging political and social debate on resource policies from a political science, legal and economic perspective. For this purpose the discussion on targets and indicators will be analyzed and options identified for selecting, operationalizing and prioritizing targets on resource policy. Moreover, policy instruments will be analyzed regarding their potential to increase resource efficiency and resource conservation as well as their potential effects. Qualitative scenarios will be developed and quantitative simulations conducted. In addition, scientifically grounded and purposefully contributions to the debate will be compiled – above all on the potential and chances of accelerating resource efficiency. Last, networking activities with other research projects and actors from science, research and politics will be promoted.