Resource EfficiencyAccelerating the transition to resource-efficient societies
In FocusUNEP Helps Bank of America Reduce Food Waste Reducing the 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted or lost each year requires everybody to do their part to transform cumulatively the power of individual action into a global movement that fundamentally changes how we use our natural resources.

01 Building Understanding on the Sustainable use of Natural Resources (International Resource Panel)The International Resource Panel provides independent scientific knowledge on the sustainable use of natural resources, bringing together experts from around the world alongside governments, business associations and civil society organizations. Its work covers various issues, such as decoupling environmental impacts and resource use from economic growth, land and soils, metals, water, food systems, trade and natural resource flows, and the environmental impacts of Greenhouse Gas mitigation technologies.

02Enhancing National Resource Efficiency Capacities In September 2013, the joint UNEP-UN Industrial Development Organization Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP) Programme held its third Global Networking Conference, celebrating a membership level of 55 institutions from 34 countries—a 30 per cent rise in membership base, firming up 2013-2015 regional work plans and exchanging experience and know-how to scale up successes.

03Financing the Future We Want: China, Emerging Markets and the World EconomyThe UNEP Finance Initiative Global Roundtable brings together high-level representatives from financial institutions, governments, regulators, civil society, academia and the scientific community to galvanize action on sustainable finance.

04Greening the Building Sector Supply ChainOn an annual basis, the building sector is responsible for a third of all global resource consumption, a third of global energy consumption, and 12 per cent of all fresh water use. The manufacture of building materials consumes about 10 per cent of the global energy supply, and building construction and demolition waste amounts to about 40 per cent of solid waste streams in developed countries.

05Greening Economies in Eastern EuropeIn September 2013 under the EU-funded project “EaP-Green” and the guidance of UNEP, a national stakeholder consultation for Green Economy and Sustainable Consumption and Production was held in Kiev, Ukraine, with a broad participation of national authorities, international organizations and NGOs. In Ukraine, UNEP is helping develop a national and strategic policy framework enabling the transition towards a Green Economy through improving resource-efficient Sustainable Consumption and Production.

06Green Economy Regulatory FrameworksIdentifying and compiling best practices for promoting regulatory frameworks of the green economy, sustainable consumption and production, and resource efficiency represents another aspect of UNEP’s work. Regulatory frameworks are composed of constitutions, framework laws, sectoral laws and judicial applications.

07 Group of Friends of Paragraph 47UNEP continued to promote corporate sustainability reporting through the Government-led Group of Friends of Paragraph 47 of the Rio +20 Outcome Document, for which UNEP, together with the Global Reporting Initiative, acts as secretariat. The Group aims to recognize and encourage the role that governments play in promoting sustainability reporting practices, with the ultimate goal of creating enabling conditions for business to contribute to sustainable development.

08Integrated solid waste management in Central AmericaThis project demonstrates the process of developing an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan at local levels, with the aim of replicating the project in other towns in Honduras and Central America. Implemented by the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre through the UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, this initiative was and executed by the National Cleaner Production Centre of Honduras with the National Association of Municipalities and the Ministry of Environment.

09Life Cycle InitiativeCapacity building is a core activity for the UNEP/SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) Life Cycle Initiative. A public-private partnership was launched in 2002 to enable users worldwide to put life-cycle thinking into practice. It aims to advance the development of life-cycle data, methods and tools to enable the public and private sectors to implement approaches conducive to more sustainable consumption and production.

10Opportunities for Trade in a Green EconomyThe Green Economy and Trade Opportunities Project (GE-TOP) fosters solutions by identifying and assessing trade opportunities associated with a green economy transition. In May, the Green Economy and Trade – Trends, Challenges and Opportunities report identified general trade opportunities that arise from the green economy transition in six key economic sectors.

11 Partnership for Action on Green EconomyLaunched in 2013, the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) will support 30 countries over the next seven years in building national green economy strategies that will generate new jobs and skills, promote clean technologies, and reduce environmental risks and poverty.

12 Recent Trends in Material Flows and Resource Productivity in Asia and the Pacific (2013)The 2013 report was intended to supplement the original Resource Efficiency: Economics and Outlook for Asia and the Pacific report released by UNEP in 2011, based on an updated material flows database, and the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. The report focuses on deepening quantitative analyses relating to primary material flows in the ten greatest resource consuming countries in Asia and the Pacific, and the trajectories of related resource efficiency indicators.

13 Reducing emissions across the United NationsThe Sustainable UN facility supports UN entities to measure and reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and to consider options for offsetting. In 2013, the facility provided a business case for environmental management in the UN system, and obtained approval for a Strategic Plan on Environmental Sustainability Management. As a result, the highest UN coordination system, the Chief Executives Board, agreed that all UN entities should develop and implement Environmental Sustainability Management.

14Resource Efficiency: Economics and Outlook for ChinaChina’s dramatic economic growth over the past few decades has increased demands for natural resources within and beyond the country in ways that are unprecedented in human history. While that growth has lifted millions out of poverty it has also come with rising environmental challenges linked to the extracting, processing and use of those natural resources in areas from construction to power generation.

15Sustainable Production and Consumption in BrazilImplemented in Brazil by the UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment, this project aims to foster a strong and continuous process of dissemination of Sustainable Consumption and Production concepts and actions. The project promotes the integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production with other national efforts to confront climate change, poverty alleviation, economic development, and biodiversity and natural resources conservation.

16Supporting Sustainable Consumption and Production in Developing CountriesThrough policy assessment, capacity building, policy dialogue and national policy support, SWITCH-Asia RPSC aims to support sustainable consumption and production in developing countries in Asia. The EU-funded project accelerated implementation in 2013, with national level support to China, Viet Nam and Pakistan. At the regional level, workshops were held to further understanding of how to apply sustainable consumption and production in the Asian context, where consumption patterns are changing at an unsustainable rate.

17The 10 year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP)The 10YFP is a global framework for action to accelerate the global shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. The 10YFP aims to develop, replicate and scale up sustainable consumption and production and resource efficiency initiatives at national and regional levels, decoupling environmental degradation from economic growth, and promoting a transition to a green economy.

18The Sustainable Rice PlatformRice is the daily staple for half the global population—more than 3.5 billion people, many of them classed as food insecure. Rice is grown on 160 million hectares, mostly by 144 million smallholders. In all, one fifth of the world’s population depends on rice cultivation for their livelihoods.

19The Voice of Environment for Business: GEO 5 for businessFor the first time, UNEP used the comprehensive assessment of its landmark Global Environmental Outlook to publish a report that analyzed the environmental risks for the private sector. GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a changing environment on the corporate sector, published in June 2013, made the business case of companies to factor into their strategies long-term planning for the costs and effects of environmental changes.

20 Urban Development and the Global EnvironmentWith complementary mandates in the fields of urban development and the global environment, UN-Habitat and UNEP have a history of continued cooperation spanning more than 20 years. The overall goal of this partnership is to mainstream environmental considerations into urban policymaking, and to incorporate urban perspectives into environmental policymaking.

20 World Environment Day Celebrations in North AmericaThe UNEP Regional Office of North America selected the City of Portland as host of the 2013 World Environment Day for their longstanding environmental achievements, policies and initiatives. Activities began on Earth Day 22 April and culminated on World Environment Day, 5 June 2013.