Analysing Resource Efficiency Transitions in Asia and the Pacific

Report27 Dec 2017

This study provides an overview of material resource use and efficiency trends in Asia and the Pacific over 1990 to 2015. The main contribution of this study is a new analytical approach to assess a country’s resource efficiency transition over multiple dimensions (such as material use and material footprint). This approach is grounded on the idea that it is important to monitor the actual pathways through which countries achieve resource efficiency because some transitions are more efficient than others. The paper illustrates the diversity in transition pathways of countries, especially their non-linearities. These non-linearities suggest that while countries make resource efficiency gains along one dimension, they make little progress in or lose resource efficiency along other dimensions. The combination of pathways has implication for a country, but that implications is typically overlooked. The analysis also highlights strong similarities in the resource efficiency transition pathways of countries most affected by the East Asian financial and economic crises that began in 1997. To quantify diverse resource efficiency transition pathways of countries, the study introduces the concept of a resource efficiency transition score (RETS) as a rating that is based on how close an actual transition pathway is to the most efficient pathway (represented by a linear transition). Based on the analysis of policy landscape of some of the top performers of RETS as well as a review of literature, the paper suggests nine policy pathways to promote resource efficiency. The study concludes with five avenues for promoting resource efficiency through greater regional collaboration.