Climate Change




Resource Efficiency

Promoting Sustainable Lifestyles and Resource Use

Most of the global growth in resource use has occurred in high-income Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, but recently the Asia and the Pacific region has emerged as a major global resource consumer and has surpassed the rest of world in material use. As a consequence, it is rapidly catching up with the world in per capita material use, and retains a gigantic potential for further growth relative to OECD countries.

This strong growth in resource use has been driven to a large extent by massive construction of new infrastructure and buildings in fast-growing cities, the emergence of major economies in the region as centres of global manufacturing and new consumers. These developments, while enabling fast economic growth and a higher standard of living for some of the region's population, have had a negative impact on the region's resource efficiency ( i.e. the efficiency of materials used per unit of economic output), because natural resource use has outpaced economic output. The region, however, remains extremely important in terms of natural resource availability and the potential benefits from improving the way resources are used, can be very substantial.

To tap into this potential, UNEP has developed several projects, programmes, tools and instrument to raise awareness and build capacity on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and Resource Efficiency towards ensuring that resource efficiency is increased, whilst reducing pollution over product life cycles and along supply chains; and to support increased investment in efficient, clean and safe industrial production methods through public policies and private sector action;

The work focuses on four central themes:
  • Strengthening and communicating the knowledge base for RE&SCP;
  • Building governmental capacity; 
  • Consolidating and extending partnerships with business and industry; and 
  • Influencing consumer choice to favour more resource efficient and environmentally friendly products.