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Sustainable resources – Managing markets, increasing efficiency and establishing partnerships

Bleischwitz, R; Flachenecker, F; (2017) Sustainable resources – Managing markets, increasing efficiency and establishing partnerships. In: Sustainable Development Policy - A European Perspective. (pp. 253-275). Routledge Green open access

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Abstract

The contemporary debate offers two perspectives on natural resources, especially regarding minerals and metals: One perspective looks at environmental pressures and scarcities; it often contrasts environmental constraints with extraction figures that have been on the rise since decades. The other perspective looks at development opportunities for resource-rich countries and analyses the governance conditions that may help to turn natural endowments into prosperity for the people. Indeed, both perspectives are justified and resemble the broader debate on the environmental and socio-economic dimensions of sustainable development. Not surprisingly, there are a number of trade-offs and synergies between both angles that need to be considered. The aim of our contribution is to analyse key trends of international resource consumption and evaluate sustainability perspectives for resources focusing on material resources. We seek to demonstrate that the broader picture is neither gloomy (limits to growth or resource curse) nor should one become overly optimistic about transitions to market-based and equitable democracies based on commodities. Underlining the importance of natural resources, we argue that the notions of a green economy and green growth require incorporating the topic of sustainable resource management. A particular objective of our paper is to highlight resource efficiency as an opportunity, which is in line with both perspectives. Evidence, however, shows that resource efficiency occurs insufficiently and under what we call a web of constraints, i.e. interconnected barriers to resource efficiency improvements. Such barriers obstruct efficiency gains at different levels and should be removed by more ambitious, better coordinated and more internationally oriented strategies by multiple actors, including policy makers. Finally, we will draw several conclusions about the future role of resources in development cooperation.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Sustainable resources – Managing markets, increasing efficiency and establishing partnerships
ISBN: 1138284998
ISBN-13: 9781138284999
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.routledge.com/Sustainable-Development-...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Green economy, green growth, commodity markets, resource efficiency, resource governance.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1549709
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