The concept of efficiency advocates for a level of performance that involves processes that use the least amount of inputs to produce the biggest amount of output. It takes into consideration all the inputs that go into the production of a desired output including energy and time. In essence, the desired central point is using less to create the biggest impact. All inputs in the context of efficiency are scarce; the main inputs are raw materials, time and capital all of which are limited and hence the need to conserve and implement better management on these vital inputs in order to have an acceptable output level. Efficiency reduces the amount of inputs lost in the process of production and urges the use of available resources in a sound and just manner in order to achieve a bigger end impact.
The challenge of resource efficiency is exacerbated by the growing demand for these resources caused by a rapid increase in human population. There is a synergy between the principle underlying efficiency and the concept of sustainability. The relationship comes from the definition of sustainability which is suggested to be a process that provides for human needs, but within the capacity of the earth’s resources. Additionally, the process advocates solutions that will benefit both the human welfare and the state of the environment by not causing degradation and adverse impacts. The concept of efficiency puts into consideration interests of future generations just like the principle surrounding sustainability. Three fundamental concepts of sustainable development are essential in encouraging efficient resource utilization. The first one is living within earth’s limitations, and capacity to regenerate its own resources. The second one being an understanding of how the economy, society and the environment interact and the third one being maintaining a fair opportunity through equitable resource distribution for the current generation and generations to come.
The world population is growing at a fast rate and is putting pressure to natural resources to support their day to day life, with the rate of the middle class expected to rise from 1.8 billion currently to 3.2 billion people by the year 2020 and subsequently 4.9 billion by the year 2030. The middle class section of the world’s population is putting immense pressure on the world’s resources, notably water, food, energy and raw materials. This subjects the environment to a lot of pressure with biodiversity being lost and demand for food increasing. Human induced greenhouse gas emissions further complicate the situation leading to global warming. Waste production increase is directly proportional to population increase, and this means waste being produced continue to accumulate with less recycling taking place. Waste recycling can reduce the amount of new products needed which eventually leads to more raw material utilization and exploitation.
Efficient resource utilization can go a long way in alleviating poverty. However, wasteful utilization of these resources e.g. water, biomass, land and even energy acts as a setback for societies worldwide to try and reduce the poverty gap. Even as countries are working towards advancing their economic growth, the challenge of economic growth at the expense of the environment is one that should be looked at keenly in order to ensure a development path that is sustainable. The positive and underlying aspects of resource efficiency translate into a platform where the urban world population will be able to meet their needs and not run the risk of jeopardizing the development through resource depletion and mismanagement. A change in Sustainable production and consumption patterns of businesses will help in initiating a resource efficient society and can in the process, generate frequently savings from direct net costs. This action will lead to increase in demand for resource efficient products and services will initiate and ensure an economic growth that is resource efficient. Amidst this, proper and accurate information regarding cost and life-cycle impacts of resource use is pertinent in order to help guide consumers and the choices they make in respects to buying products and services. Consumers can save costs of buying new products by buying longer life-cycle products or products that can be easily recycled or repaired. Additionally, new business models where products are leased rather than sold or bought can contribute to consumer needs satisfaction with less life-cycle use of resources.
According to European Commission, several actions open new pathways to resource efficiency mainly in terms of policy change and advocacy. Enhancing dialogue and engaging in active discussions with stakeholders at both the national and regional levels will help provide solutions to resource efficiency that are participatory in nature. Investing in transition costs for countries is pertinent in preparing for the transition of the world economy to a more resource efficient one. According to United Nations, the transition cost will be between US$1.05-2.59 trillion most of which will come from private sources. This will require greening of all investments both public and private and spending to generate green solutions.
Setting and development of indicators and potential targets for broad resource efficiency will help define a future resource efficient economic path. Policies in the public sector can be redesigned to consider the benefits and costs of more efficient resource utilization, and this can help the private sector take sound long term decisions for their investment plans. Steps are already being made in Europe through integration of environmental, economic and social systems of accounting. Stakeholder involvement is very significant in determining the indicators which need to be used or developed to give directions of better for better investment decisions and policy formation. In Europe zone, for example, European commission proposes to use resource productivity as an indicator by measuring the ratio of gross domestic product to domestic material consumption which projects that a higher ratio will reflect a better performance, meaning that growth is consuming rather fewer resources. However, this system has some assumptions and only deals with material resource aspects.
Main intention of the poster
The creative piece is in the form of a poster pinpointing the key sustainability issues that are affecting the modern world especially in third world countries. Pollution and misuse of natural resources are among the leading issues of sustainability. The poster goes a step further to educate the reader on how overcome sustainability problems. Moving beyond efficiency is the perfect answer (Simply ‘Go Green’).
How creative ideas were selected or developed to express that intention
Real life experiences helped in the development of this poster. Third world countries are embracing this idea of ‘going green’ so as to preserve the environment for future generations. Pollution is highly being discouraged as its negative effects are well known. ‘Going green’ simply involves a series of activities such as planting of trees, introduction of drought resistant crops, implementation of energy saving mechanisms, introduction of policies to control logging and recycling of solid waste materials. These activities have highly improved the environment, hence making it more suitable for human beings.
The main intention of the poster is to inform the individuals about the key sustainability problems and how to overcome them. It campaigns the idea of moving beyond efficiency so as to achieve a ‘greener future’. ‘Going green’ will ensure food security and availability of natural resources.
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