Sustainable Consumption and Production

G7 Public Symposium
Resource Efficiency and a Low-Carbon Society: Identifying Opportunities and Implications

Resource efficiency was featured prominently in the Leader’s Declaration of the G7 Elmau Summit in June 2015, leading to the establishment of the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency, which aims at sharing best practices among stakeholders including the private sector, public sector, institutions, academia, consumers, and civil societies. Under the leadership of Germany’s previous presidency, the G7 Alliance was tasked with organising a series of workshops on resource efficiency; and this year, under the Japanese presidency, workshops on international cooperation, and supply chain management with US government, have been hosted.

At the global level, the consumption of natural resources and production of waste have increased to a greater scale than ever before. Production, consumption, disposal, and the life-cycle of materials, which are the focus of resource efficiency, have a strong relationship with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Increasing resource efficiency through promotion of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), including through remanufacturing, greatly contributes to the reduction of GHGs, in addition to reducing resource consumption. It is vital that attention is drawn to the positive implications of a low-carbon society for resource efficiency initiatives and vice versa. “Toyama Framework on Material Cycles”, which was adopted at the G7 Toyama Environmental Ministers’ Meeting in May 2016, also calls for integrating promoting measures on resource efficiency and the 3Rs, climate change, and other relevant issues in a holistic manner.

In particular, after the adoption of the Paris Agreement at UNFCCC COP21 in 2015, the importance of creating linkages between resource efficiency policy and climate policy has been raised. For example, the International Resource Panel (IRP), in its latest report that was launched in Toyama this May, stated that both implementing resource efficiency and ambitious global action on climate change are indispensable for meeting climate change targets cost effectively, and could allow global resource extraction to be reduced by 28% by 2050.

As the next step towards bridging resource efficiency and low-carbonisation, we need to identify what a resource circulation system in a low-carbon society looks like in the long to medium term, and what measures are needed to achieve it. In line with these developments, the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, with the United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), organised a public symposium as a part of initiatives under the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency.

In addition, G7 alliance workshop was held back-to-back with the symposium. Participants (G7+EC, some non-G7, experts/academia/research institute, IRP, OECD, UNEP-IETC, business) of the workshop shared recognition on the importance of promoting better communication between resource efficiency and low-carbonisation; pursuing synergy and overcoming challenges in the nexus of resource efficiency and low-carbonisation; and defining a resource-efficient society, taking into account the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement and SDGs. You can find the Co-chairs’ summary of the WS here (G7AllianceWS_Co-Chairs’ summary_rev.pdf (197KB))


Inviting Prof. Shinichi Sakai, Kyoto University as a chairperson, the symposium was organised with the support of Dr. Ryutaro Yatsu, Senior Advisor, United Nations Environmental Programme, International Environmental Technology Centre (UNEP-IETC) and Mr. Kazunobu Onogawa, IGES senior fellow as session moderators.

The first panel discussion focused on the need for integrating resource efficiency and climate policies, and the current progress in international discussions, the need for a transformation of an economic model based on sustainable consumption and production as a central ingredient for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the importance of strengthening cross-sector collaboration beyond silos both in governments and academic disciplines as well as the importance of taking immediate action rather than knowledge building given the urgency of challenges we face.

The following panel discussions shared ongoing efforts in G7 member states and best practices by business and local government. They discussed potential areas of support by governments in promoting business practices and local initiatives.

Presentation Materials
Report from the G7 Alliance Workshop
Junko Nishikawa, Programme Coordinator, UNU-IAS
PDF (1.3MB)
Janez Potočnik, Co-chair of International Resource Panel
PDF (1.8MB)
Starting Points for Resource Efficiency and Climate Change
Yuichi Moriguchi, Professor, the University of Tokyo
PDF (278KB)
Resource Efficiency and Low-Carbon Society: Approaches in Germany
Birgit Schwenk, Head of Division European and International Aspects of Resource Efficiency, Raw Materials Policy, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany
PDF (710KB)
U.S. EPA Advancing Sustainable Materials Management
Kathleen Salyer, Deputy Director, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, US EPA 
PDF (983KB)
DOWA’s Challenge towards Sustainable Society
Takanobu Tachikawa, Deputy General Manager, DOWA Eco-System Co., Ltd
PDF (997KB)
Hiroshi Ono, Director, Policy Planning Division, Waste Management and Recycling Department, Ministry of the Environment, Japan PDF (1MB)
Date / Time Tuesday, 13 December 2016, 14:00-18:00  (Registration starts at 13:30)
Venue U Thant International Conference Hall (3rd floor), Tokyo >>Access
(5–53–70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan)
Organisers Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ)
United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Langages English and Japanese (simultaneous interpretation provided)
Participants Approx. 150
Fee Free
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