Environmental damage caused by the extraction and exploitation of resources, the associated emissionsand the disposal of waste, all lead directly to environmental problems, and as a result, also to social and economic problems. Other factors, such as the insecurity of supplies, the scarcity of resources, the resulting international conflicts, and high and/or volatile raw materials prices, can also lead to strong economic and social dislocation in every country on Earth. Competitive disadvantages arising from the inefficient use of resources endanger the development of businesses and jobs. Increasing resource efficiency is also more and more frequently becoming a key issue in national and international politics.
Against this background, the German Environment Ministry and the Federal Environment Agency tasked 31 project partners, under the direction of the Wuppertal Institute, with the research project "Material Efficiency and Resource Conservation" (MaRess).
The aim of the project is to make substantial progress in our knowledge regarding four core questions on increasing material efficiency and conserving resources:
- Firstly, the project aims to discover ways in which resource efficiency may be augmented.
- Secondly, it aims to develop approaches for resource-efficiency policies specific to target groups.
- Thirdly, the project is to collate and analyse results from impact analysis at general and economic levels.
- The fourth component is the expert monitoring of concrete implementation steps and of how the agenda is set, as well as the publication of results.