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Resource Efficiency

Author: Marba Visagie - National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA).

( Article Type: Explanation )

Globally, we are extracting more resources to produce goods and services than our planet can replenish, while a large share of world population is still struggling to meet basic needs. The transformation required to sustaining economic growth and social development requires resource efficient consumption and production patterns, or 'using less and living better'.

Resource efficiency represents a critical opportunity to address this unsustainable path, building green economies in which economic growth is decoupled from environmental harm. Investment in cleaner industrial processes, technologies and cities has the power to positively transform economies and societies towards meeting human needs over the long term.
From a life cycle and value chain perspective, the key to resource efficiency is to continue reducing the total environmental impact of the production and consumption of goods and services. Investors increasingly choose resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP) options, building sustainable, low ecological impact economies.
UNEP's Resource Efficiency sub-programme collaborates with governments and the research, business and consumer communities in the transition to resource efficient societies and a Green Economy. The sub-programme promotes options that ensure the production, processing and consumption of natural resources in a more environmentally sustainable way, while enhancing poverty alleviation and human well-being. In South Africa the National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA) runs UNIDO, UNEP and government supported resource-efficient and cleaner production projects aimed at improving sustainability, industrial competitiveness and economic growth. Towards this end the Centre, under auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) offers assessments and other projects that help industry mitigate carbon emissions and environmental degradation.