Production and resources: raw materials, water and land

One of the core issues of a Green Economy is the careful management of finite resources in the production of consumer and investment goods. The aim of the Federal Government is to double raw material productivity by 2020 as against 1994, and to decouple resource use from economic growth and environmental impact (National Sustainability Strategy 2002).
Nahaufnahme eines Laser-Metallschneidegräts bei der Arbeit ( / Fertnig)
Laser Cutting Manufacturing Tool in Operation
photo: / Fertnig

In the context of a Green Economy, an environmentally compatible raw material economy must set its sights not just on relative but also on  absolute decoupling. On the one hand, higher efficiency and technical innovation should achieve decoupling of prosperity and economic growth from raw material consumption (decoupling in the narrower sense), and on the other prosperity should be decoupled from pollution (decoupling in the wider sense). Specifics for decoupling measures such as this lie, for example, in increasing raw material and energy productivity, increased re-use of raw materials, or substitution by renewable raw materials. A holistic approach to product life cycles, means considering service life and patterns of consumption.
To achieve any significant reduction in non-renewable resources usage businesses have to consider entire value chains and networks. It must be remembered that many of the value chains relevant to Germany are based outside the country, meaning that new approaches need to be developed for collaborative implementation between German businesses and foreign suppliers in order to improve demand for or consumption of resources, to reduce emissions and environmental impact throughout the value chain, and also to improve working conditions.
It is also important to the development of the Green Economy to clarify how biodiversity and ecosystem services can be appropriately (economically) evaluated and better factored into business and national economic processes.