Accelerating the resource revolution: 9 key messages from World Resources Forum 2017

This year’s WRF took place in Geneva on October 24-25h 2017, attracting 450 participants from 50 countries. It featured 160 state-of-the-art scientific contributions and 16 workshops, one of which was co-organised by Circular Change and included a speech by Ladeja Godina Košir of CC.  

Read 9 important takeaways from the event and become part of the resource revolution:

  1. Accelerating the Resource Revolution is a multi-stakeholder challenge. Cooperating for resource-efficiency and decoupling is key. Science is essential for understanding the challenges in a systemic way, and communicating the solutions to society.
  2. Sustainable Developments Goals and Paris Climate Agenda are calls for action. In addition to risks of scarcity of specific key mineral resources required for the low-carbon transition, pressure on planetary boundaries, such as climate change and poverty are key challenges. Stop using and investing in coal, oil and gas. Make sure that resource productivity can help achieve the goals. Carbon-free products and resource-efficient housing need to be promoted. Better resource management can also bring about biodiversity conservation. Waiting for economic development before protecting the environment is flawed thinking. We must grow without waste.
  3. Appropriate governance and political leadership are essential for sustainable development. To be considered: a UN convention or other global agreements and rules on the sustainable management of and access to raw materials and resource efficiency. The Sustainable Development Goals are interconnected – often the key to their success will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with one another. Because of the complex interactions, a systemic approach is needed.
  4. Transition to a circular economy is an important business opportunity. Metals and cement industries are, among other sectors, well placed for playing a role in the transition. Social dimension needs to be taken into account. An overarching policy framework on circular economy is needed to create a level playing field and allow internalization of costs. Secondary raw materials need to be cheaper than primary raw materials.
  5. 5. Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) and product sustainability information can have a big impact and help scale up the circular economy.
  6. Circular economy principles and rethinking and redesigning global plastic flows will reduce impacts on our oceans and health.
  7. Cooperation and partnerships with private sector are essential for making progress, provided that there are supportive legal and financial frameworks, and reliable key performance indicators.
  8. There is no guarantee that good science will get uptake from policymakers. One needs to create its own demand. Science needs to ‘sell the sizzle not the sausage’: focus on the functional, emotional and social benefits for decision-makers and society at large.
  9. Accurate, relevant and empowering science builds trust. Transparency and humility are important for improving the relation between science and society.