Study on the Competitiveness of the European Companies and Resource Efficiency

Koen Rademaekers, Sahar Samir Zaki, Johannes Berg
European Commission
Publication date
July 2011
Consumer Goods
Electrical Goods
Food & Beverage
Oil, Gas & Mining
Utility/Waste Management
Sustainability and the Business Case
Environment/Climate Change
Corporate Responsibility and Public Policy
Free/Pay for content
The study on the “Competitiveness of the European Companies and Resource Efficiency” aims at understanding the issues that European companies face with regards to “resource efficiency”. The study set forth five main questions:
  1. What are the drivers that trigger companies to invest in resource efficiency?
  2. What are the measures (business practices and strategies) that companies adopt in order to increase resource efficiency?
  3. How do companies monitor/measure their resource efficiency performance?
  4. What are the barriers /market failures impeding greater resource efficiency for companies?
  5. What policy measures can be taken to incentivise greater resource efficiency?
The EU industries examined in the study made substantial improvements in the implementation of resource efficiency measures, however, our observation is that companies adopted the measures that focused on optimising the use of the “same” resources; i.e. they focused on using the resources “right”, thus increasing their EFFICIENCY. Rarely, did companies try to increase the EFFECTIVENESS of their resource use. This would entail a focus on the use of the “RIGHT RESOURCES rather than on the use of the SAME RESOURCE RIGHT. In practical terms, for using the right resources, companies should ask themselves two questions: are we using the right resources? Are there alternative resources that can be used in production and that can produce the same products but with a higher environmental quality? Although some evidence towards increased effectiveness was found in this research, the effectiveness approach was less prominent than the efficiency approach as per our definition of efficiency and effectiveness in this paragraph.