Countries' perspectives on SOER 2015 - Resource efficiency cross-country comparison

Page Last modified 11 May 2020
4 min read
Photo: © Stephen Mynhardt/EEA

Countries and regions


Flanders: Taking a closer look at resource-efficiency, we noticed that an important goal (especially for Flanders) from the Roadmap Resource-Efficiency was not observed: 'no net land take by 2050'. The purpose is that both LNE (Environment, Nature and Energy Department, Flemish government) and Ruimte Vlaanderen (Spatial Development Department, Flemish government) ensure follow up through the indicator 'use of space' developed by VITO (Flemish institute for technology and research). This indicator is not publicly available yet, but will most likely be available in the near future.


In Ireland the Environmental Protection Agency operates the BeGreen programmes which provide homes, businesses and other sectors of society with ways in which they can participate in making Ireland a more sustainable country while saving themselves money. By participating in the programmes we can take action to reduce our use of water, electricity and the waste of resources and generation of excess waste.


The main materials extracted in Italy are non-energy minerals (almost entirely non-metallic minerals) and biomass, while Italy's economic system is dependent on foreign markets for energy and metal ore resources. This strong and growing dependence of the Italian economy on imports places emphasis on the analysis of total (direct and indirect) flows associated with external trade, and thus on the calculation of material flow accounts in raw material equivalents (RME). In 2000 -2010 every kg of product imported by Italy requires, on average, the taking from the global environment of 2.1 kg of resources used. While for every kg of exported product, an average of 3.4 kg of useful resources were extracted, due to the different composition of the goods and services imported and exported (i.e. the predominance of raw products among imports and of semi-manufactured and finished products among exports).

The fall in the domestic final use (GDP + Imports- Exports) during the economic crisis (2007 -2012) is shown by the steady declining in DMC. On the contrary, exported products has grown since 2009 both in monetary and physical terms.


The good result for Luxembourg in Figure 3 is the result of a very high GDP compared to its size and/or its resident population. Moreover, Luxembourg being mostly a "service"/"tertiary" economy, the DMC is rather weak. The briefing refers to the relationship between the total use of material resources and the size and structure of the economy. In the case of Luxembourg, the structure is "service oriented" rather than "manufactured products" oriented.


Domestic Material Consumption in Poland has increased due to fast economic development, especially in 2011 and 2012 when the majority of planned infrastructural investments were finalised. According to Eurostat, DMC in Poland exceeded 797 million tonnes in 2011 and dropped to 685 million tonnes in 2013. It is expected that this trend (decreasing DMC) will be continued in coming years. As it was mentioned before, the rapid growth of DMC between 2009 and 2012 was caused by investments – particularly in transportation infrastructure, sport facilities (European Football Championship Euro 2012) and environment projects – a significant part of these investments is being completed at the moment.

DMC per capita exceeds 18 tonnes a year (10th position in the EU) and probably will decrease next few years. Material productivity has improved from 500 USD (ppp) per tonnes in 2000 to almost 1000 EUR (~1300 USD) in 2013, in the same time resource efficiency almost doubled in the last 13 years.

Polish experience shows that the most cost-effective way of improving resource efficiency while reducing emissions is the improvement in the efficiency of generation, transmission and use of energy. Polish potential in this area is huge, at least 30% of current consumption (up to 2030). Over the past 10 years in Poland the energy intensity of gross domestic product fell for almost a 1 / 3 because of thermo-modernization projects (executed under the law on promotion of energy efficiency modernization), upgrading of street lighting or optimization of industrial processes. Besides while in Poland industrial energy intensity was reduced at a rate of 7% per annum, in the EU this was only at a rate of 2.2% per year.

The result of those actions will be shown in the improvements of the economic efficiency and cost optimization. High potential of energy savings is still in the building sector. Promoting energy efficiency in Poland is based on variety of tools, the most important are Thermo - modernization Fund, which in 11 years granted a bonus of nearly 1.1 billion PLN and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (the Green Investment Scheme - GIS and priority programs).

The rational use of natural resources and their protection forms the foundations for The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. The priority programs include environmental needs, financial capabilities of beneficiaries as well as their needs, but what is most important response to the changing environment. Public consultations and market research as well as the analysis of environmental needs result in the current programs what actually means modern, often innovative, "right-sized" financial products.

Till the end of 2013, seven priority programmes were adopted in the area of energy management in public buildings, energy management in buildings of selected public sector entities, biomass-fired power plants, agricultural biogas plants, upgrading electricity grid for connecting renewable wind energy sources, low-emission municipal transport, energy efficient street lighting.



The content on this page is the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance and editing.


Geographic coverage


Filed under:
Filed under: country perspectives
Document Actions