Environmental damage caused by the extraction and exploitation of resources, the associated emissions and the disposal of waste, all lead directly to environmental problems, and as a result, also to social and economic problems. Other factors, such as the insecurity of supplies, the scarcity of resources, the resulting international conflicts, and high and/or volatile raw materials prices, can also lead to strong economic and social dislocation in every country on Earth. Competitive disadvantages arising from the inefficient use of resources endanger the development of businesses and jobs. Increasing resource efficiency is also more and more frequently becoming a key issue in national and international politics, the more so as consistent strategies and approaches for a successful resource efficiency policy are still missing. Against this background, the German Environment Ministry and the Federal Environment Agency tasked 31 project partners, under the direction of the Wuppertal Institute, with the research project "Material Efficiency and Resource Conservation" (MaRess).
The aim of the project is to make substantial progress in our knowledge regarding four core questions on increasing material efficiency and conserving resources.
Fourteen work packages (WP) have been established for the implementation of the MaRess research project covering the four issues: Potentials of Incresasing Resource Efficiency; Target Group Specific Policy of Resource Efficiency; Analysis of Effects; and Application, Agenda Setting, Dissemination of Results. The Wuppertal Institute leads and coordinates the project with members from all research groups being involved in 11 of the 14 work packages.