The «Policy Guidance on Resource Efficiency» report urges Governments to adopt stronger policies aimed at improving the use of resources, the safety of supplies and market competitiveness, as well as reducing related impacts on the environment. Recommendations by the Commission include the introduction of incentive measures in the upstream phase of product life-cycles in order to encourage greener product designs and induce a right behaviour among consumers. Advanced economies can, as a matter of fact, do much more to design and produce goods by using fewer natural resources and reduce waste.
Although resource consumption in G7 Countries has remained stable since 1980, in spite of the economic growth per-capita income is still about 60% above the world average. Furthermore, following the rising demand by emerging and developing countries, combined with the fast population growth, resource consumption worldwide is expected to double by 2050, with severe repercussions on the environment.
According to the report, Governments seem to have mainly applied measures that are more in the downstream rather than in the upstream stage of product life-cycles. For example, the increase in land-filling fees has turned out to be particularly effective in targeting waste towards recycling and energy recovery. However, there are still too few incentives that encourage the design of greener products or induce a right behaviour among consumers that pays more attention to the environment.