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UBA project "Policy scenarios ProgRess" policy paper and final report published

Analysis of action fields for increasing resource efficiency, and several economic policy instruments to leverage so far unused potentials

News from Mar 23, 2021

The results of the research project "Politikszenarien ProgRess – Analyse und Bewertung von Politikmaßnahmen und ökonomischen Instrumenten des Ressourcenschutzes für die Weiterentwicklung von ProgRess" have been published in the form of two final reports and a policy paper. Commonly, between 2017 and 2020 on behalf of the Umweltbundesamt, the Forschungszentrum für Umweltpolitik (FFU), the Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (Fraunhofer ISI) und the Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft (FÖS) examined potential action fields to increase resource efficiency (link to the report), and address these with economic instruments (link to the policy instruments). The pivotal action recommendations are summarized in the policy paper (link to the policy paper).

By means of an comprehensive literature study the action fields analysis shows the existence of far reaching potentials for increasing resource efficiency. In total, 18 action fields were identified. Particularly two obstacles hinder these potentials regularly: (1) The overall social costs of resource-intensive products are often not included in the purchase price, but are externalized. Thus, resource-efficient alternatives become unattractive. (2) Additionally, there are substantial information deficiencies along the commodity chains, whereby resource efficiency potentials cannot be put into effect. It appears, that technical solutions as well as resource-efficient practices are already available in many areas. It requires political set incentives to raising efficiency potentials.

The following seven instruments for increasing resource efficiency were elaborated in-depth and examined for potential effects: a primary construction material tax, a backfill tax on mineral construction and destruction waste, promoting business resource management through tax benefits or promotion programmes, a decreased value-added tax for resource-efficient products, an European product resource tax, and a deposit system on small electronic devices. Besides the design, the effects of the instruments as well as their potential embedment into accompanying instruments were analyzed. Depending on the instrument maturity the impact assessment covers both qualitative examination and a quantitative impact modelling.

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