Germany’s New Resource Efficiency Plan

Berlin, 29 February – In an effort to meet its national sustainability targets, the German government has adopted a new Resource Efficiency Plan. Germany’s 2002 National Sustainability Strategy set the target of doubling resource productivity by 2020, compared with 1994 standards. However, recent figures showed that the country was only on track to achieve an 82% increase in efficiency, rather than the 100% that was sought.

The new plan seeks to decouple economic growth from resource use, looking to non-energy and abiotic resources through a variety of federal and regional measures, though with no new funding allocated to the task.

The plan has been criticised for its vagueness by environmental NGOs, who want concrete measures, binding goals and greater action on public procurement. Its method for indicating efficiency has also been questioned. The German green group, DNR, believes the current indicator to be misleading as it looks at resource use, compared with total growth across all sectors of the economy. Therefore, it is possible that growth in low-resource areas (such as finance and banking) can improve the resource productivity indicator.

Industry groups have been more supportive of the plan, but urged the government not to rely on heavy-handed regulations that could damage competitiveness.

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