Enabling Resource Efficiency Investments: A Review and Outlook of the Resource Efficiency Agenda of the European Union

  • Manfred RosenstockEmail author
  • Florian Flachenecker


In times of volatile resource prices, possible disruptions in resource trade, re-industrialisation objectives, and concerns about environmental pressures arising from resource use, resource efficiency, i.e. ‘doing more with less’, is seen as one possibility to address these issues and deliver multiple economic and environmental benefits. All these challenges are particularly relevant for the European Union (EU) since it depends on resource imports, aims to increase industrial production, and has set itself the goal to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The EU attempts to achieve several objectives by increasing resource efficiency: reducing its dependency on resource imports, increasing the cost competitiveness of its industry, mitigating climate change, and working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, the EU declared resource efficiency a flagship initiative as part of its Europe 2020 strategy, introduced a Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, and developed a Circular Economy Action Plan, among other initiatives. Additionally, the EU and its member states currently devote substantial capital to resource efficiency and circular economy investment projects. However, recent economic, political, and social circumstances have seemingly put other policy issues to the forefront of discussions, and slowed the political momentum for the resource efficiency agenda. Nevertheless, the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan and ensuring access to adequate finance for investments in resource efficiency and the circular economy remain key priorities. Accordingly, this chapter outlines the opportunities as well as challenges for advancing the resource efficiency agenda in the future, and discusses the role resource efficiency investments can play in that development.



The views expressed in this chapter are entirely those of the authors, and should not be attributed to the institutions with which the authors are associated.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European CommissionBrusselBelgium
  2. 2.University College London, Institute for Sustainable ResourcesLondonUK

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