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What Drives (in)efficient Use of Resources? Findings from a Meta-analysis of Literature

What Drives (in)efficient Use of Resources? Findings from a Meta-analysis of Literature

Ideas for Future Resource Efficiency Policy

At the World Resources Forum 2013 held in Davos from 7 to 9 October 2013, Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers and Katharina Umpfenbach presented recent findings from the DYNAMIX project. Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers discussed drivers of (in)efficient resource use based on findings from a literature meta-analysis. The presentations are available online.

Knowledge of drivers of both efficient and inefficient resource use remain fragmentary. The presentation summarised the findings of a meta-analysis of scientific articles to identify and synthesize relevant drivers. Following a multi-step selection procedure, 28 articles were meta-analysed, covering different resources (e.g. materials, energy), sectors (e.g. food, buildings) and geographic foci (e.g. individual countries or the EU-15). 

Overall, more than 120 drivers were identified and clustered into six main categories, e.g. behavioural and informational; policy and regulatory; and socio-economic. Most outstanding in terms of mentions are:

  • Legal and political frameworks, e.g. legislation hampering the use of waste as a secondary raw material;
  • production and consumption patterns, inter alia increasing meat consumption in Asia and inefficient global value-chains;
  • socio-economic conditions, which inter alia through rising standard of living cause increasing resource consumption, for instance increasing floor space per person in emerging economies.

7 October 2013
Davos, Switzerland
Resource efficiency, targets, decoupling, Meta-Analysis