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Resource efficiency is valuable for European companies


A recent report from the European Commission argues that companies should invest in resource efficiency to be more profitable. The report analyzes case studies of companies being resource efficient in three different sectors: food and drink manufacturing, fabricated metal products, and hospitality and food services. In addition the research highlights the environmental benefits of the resources saved in terms of contribution to the global warming. The greenhouse gas emissions of the EU could be reduced between 2% to 4%. 

 The different measures applicable in the three studied sectors to reach those benefits are the followings:

  • Food and Drink Manufacturing: redesign of packaging, food waste prevention, reuse of packaging, and internal waste recovery and reuse
  • Fabricated Metal Products: ecodesign (lightweighting), changing procurement practices, reusing materials in a closed loop system such as remanufacturing, and waste prevention
  • Hospitality and Food Services: changing purchasing practices, implementing best practices for cleaning and cooking, adopting reduced and re-usable packaging, processing technologies that reduce wastage, and purchasing seasonal food.

The report then scaled to all businesses in all the industry sectors of the EU-27 the initial findings in terms of gross and net benefits after investment. The estimates are based on three scenarios illustrating firstly the total opportunity assuming businesses are all starting from a highly inefficient baseline; a second slightly lower level of opportunity (with a correspondingly higher level of potential uptake of measures) which is based on assuming only 9% of EU businesses have already optimised their resource efficiency; and a lowest level of potential uptake which assumes 55% of businesses have already optimised their resource efficiency.

Resource efficiency savings potential for European firms in industrial sectors

Gross Benefit - Annual Value (millions Euro)
Net Benefit - Annual Value (millions Euro)
 100 % uptake
 995,826 €
 604,290 €
 91 % uptake
 914,023 €
 543,819 €
 45 % uptake
 456,862 €
 245,257 €

However, even if a number of these measures would benefit companies immediately, some need consistent investments and companies are reluctant to invest during this period of economic crisis. The obstacles for companies to seize those opportunities range from the lack of access to funding, the distorted market demand, the lack of knowledge and capability, and the desire to avoid lock-in. Still, never like today companies faces external pressures to adapt to the new economic conditions by cutting costs and inefficiencies also in terms of resource efficiency. 

The R4R project targets resource efficiency by providing best practices about waste collection and recycling performance across EU regions. 

Source: EC report –The opportunities to business of improving resource efficiency

Intereg IVC European Union
site last updated 09 December 2016
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