Fostering Resource Efficiency and Climate Action – study tour

Field visit to Procter and Gamble plant in Berlin; Photo: ©Arantza Aguilar Ramirez/GIZ

Field visit to Procter and Gamble plant in Berlin; Photo: ©Arantza Aguilar Ramirez/GIZ

During the 26-29th of November 2019, more than 25 participants from the public and private sector in 11 emerging economies gathered in Berlin for the Study Tour "Fostering Resource Efficiency and Climate Action: Examples from the public and private sector". This study tour was organized by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) to implement the global project "Initiative Resource Efficiency and Climate Action", as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The project is a result of the G20 summit (Hamburg, July 2017), where it was decided to establish a "G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue". The Dialogue serves to exchange good practices and national experiences to improve the efficiency and sustainability of natural resource use across the entire life cycle, and to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The study tour addressed the project's designed indicators and outputs, which included:

  • Promoting knowledge sharing and exchange of experiences with and among emerging countries of the G20 (and in this case, among non G20 emerging economies);
  • Contributing to identify potentials for enhancing resource efficiency and climate protection in selected participating countries.

Guests had the opportunity to get to know existing activities from the public and private sector in Germany (and Europe) that foster resource efficiency. Along with the opportunity to engage and identify collaboration opportunities with stakeholders in other emerging economies as well as with the Initiative Resource Efficiency and Climate Action. The participants included representatives from ministries, business associations, international organizations and research centres from Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.

The tour started with visits to two companies that have adopted resource efficient practices, organized by the Centre for Resource Efficiency of the Association of German Engineers (VDI-ZRE). First off was Procter & Gamble, which has been operating in Berlin for over 80 years. They have a corporate sustainability programme, which in addition to cutting edge facilities, includes the 'P&G Zero Loss Journey' waste management system, resulting in zero waste going to landfill and material utilization rate of 96%.  The second, was to BMW AG Berlin Plant, where 26 of 29 different motorcycle models are produced, with a total production of 163,000 units per year. They too have state of the art facilities and a waste collection system and use a water-based solvent-free topcoat and bio-based cleaning products for the components.

As part of the study tour, participants also attended the fourth European Resources Forum (ERF), organized by the German Environment Agency (UBA). This gave them a platform to interact with European decision-makers and experts from the fields of policy development, industry, academia, civil society and the media. The sessions ranged from digitalization and sustainable resource use to strengthening fiscal and financial instruments.

The study tour ended with a networking event that comprised of two high-level resource efficiency expert discussions. The first session was on "Resource efficiency strategies in emerging markets" with contributions from Janez Potocnik (International Resource Panel, IRP) and Shardul Agrawala (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD). The second session was on "Supporting business in meeting resource efficiency goals" with contributions from Astrid Schomaker (European Commission), Jordana Carvallo (Chamber of Food and Beverages Industry, COPAL, Argentina) and Timotheus Lesmana Wanadjaja (Indonesia Cleaner Production Centre, ICPC, Indonesia).  After the experts shared brief opening statements, all participants were encouraged to share their opinions and experiences, which allowed for an open discussion. External guests from the BMU, GIZ and the European Commission joined the participants in this dialogue.

Overall, the study tour created a great opportunity for all participants to internalize resource efficient as an important topic for achieving development as well as climate and environmental goals. Having so many countries represented allowed participants to find similarities and share areas of opportunity and collaboration. Many expressed their interest in sharing and applying what they had learned during the tour, in their own institutions back home. Furthermore, the global project will pursue activities to foster resource efficiency in the public and private sector in Argentina, Indonesia and Mexico.