Study for the Conception of a Programme to Increase Material Efficiency in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

  • Project no.2404
  • Duration 10/2004 - 04/2005

Reducing labour costs is often seen as the only way of maintaining competitiveness. Many companies don’t realise that material costs are often higher than labour costs and, as a result, high economic potentials for saving material costs are not utilized. Especially small and medium sized enterprises (SME) are not well positioned yet in order to be as successful as material efficiency pioneers. Contrary to the situation in many big companies, diffusion processes in SME fail as a result of divers problems and obstacles. Therefore, it should the purpose of a German material efficiency programme to provide SME the framework for more efficient production systems in light of both, costs and natural resources.
In order to set up the material efficiency program in a target group adequate, effective and efficient manner, the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Labour has commissioned the Arthur D. Little GmbH (ADL), the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems und Innovation Research (ISI) and the Wuppertal Institute to

  • identify and quantify (as far as possible) the often not utilized potentials of material efficiency, and analyse the conditions for implementation (Potential roadmap),
  • investigate existing policy instruments and institutions in the field of material efficiency on national and international level, analyse its impacts and evaluate its transformation potentials for Germany (Program roadmap), and
  • suggest a design of a German material efficiency program based on the potential and program roadmap.

The presented recommendations have been largely integrated in the now estblished material efficiency program by the German government.

Further project information


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