How to Deal with Resource Productivity

How to Deal with Resource Productivity
Yu Gan
Journal of Industrial Ecology, Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 440–451

Resource productivity enhancement stands at the center of tackling issues on environmental pollution and resource scarcity. Identifying influential socioeconomic factors should be the first step in establishing and improving resource management policy. This study compares and analyzes data from multiple countries to construct a resource productivity simulation model. The socioeconomic factors and their characteristic patterns are discussed in detail. The results demonstrate that the major factors influencing resource productivity include income level, population density, economic structure, energy structure, and raw material trade. Among these factors, the three most important are income level, population density, and economic structure. The influencing patterns can be summarized as follows: (1) Resource productivity increases with increasing income levels. (2) Countries with high population density are inclined to demonstrate high resource productivity. (3) The economic structure shows a biphase influence on resource productivity, that is, during industrialization, decreased agricultural activity and increased industrial activity lead to higher resource productivity. On the other hand, after industrialization, decreasing industrial activity and an expanding service sector become the major impetus of resource productivity enhancement. (4) Raw material export demonstrates a negative effect on resource productivity. Countries that depend heavily on raw material export show a unique resource productivity evolution pattern. For these countries, relatively high resource productivity in low income phases and relatively low resource productivity in high income phases show only small increases in resource efficiency and economic growth. Finally, insights from the study are transformed into suggestions for sustainable resource management and resource productivity enhancement.

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