photo World Resources Forum

Inauguration World Resources Forum Association in St. Gallen

St. Gallen, 16 March 2012. Against the backdrop of the multiple crises of the past years – financial, food and energy – the World Resources Forum announced today an expansion of its activities. On top of the successful bi-annual events in Davos, Switzerland, the Forum will start organizing conferences and smaller sized meetings in all regions of the world. An independent association has been set up to this end, supported by governments, industry and NGO’s.

The new World Resources Forum (WRF) Association was inaugurated today at the town hall in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in the presence of representatives of its founding members BAFU/FOEN (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment), Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), HP (Hewlett-Packard) and the city of St. Gallen.

The first WRF outside Switzerland will be held in Beijing, China, October 21-23, 2012, and will address the Green Economy. This conference is organized with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute for Process Engineering. An India Resource Forum is tentatively planned for the beginning of 2013, and the WRF plans to support meetings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (African Development Forum, 23-25 October this year) and Berlin (European Resources Forum, 13-14 November).

The new Association will be led by former UNEP diplomat Bas de Leeuw, who says that “more and more organizations are working in this field, for specific resources or for specific audiences. We welcome these initiatives and would like to provide a global platform, giving our members and our conference audiences the possibility of practical implementation-oriented snapshot experiences, where they can inform themselves about the latest trends and new cutting edge initiatives and partners”.

Urging policy makers to demonstrate a sense of urgency for resource issues similar to what they do for financial crises, De Leeuw points out that addressing resources challenges require significant investments on a global scale. Sharing information about trends and options helps ensure that these investments will be efficient and effective. In developing countries, the World Bank has estimated, that the need for investments in greening infrastructure, such as buildings, the energy and transport sectors, could reach US$264-$563 billion by 2030. “This is why it is so important that the WRF works with and for developing countries as well”, he says, “decision-makers from these countries are very welcome to join our initiative, and many of them have already done so.”

Go here for full story and press release (PDF)

Conferences Publications World Resources Forum

Meeting report 2011 World Resources Forum published

St. Gallen, December 2011 Today the WRF secretariat published the meeting report of the World Resources Forum, held in Davos, from 19-21 September 2011. The 80 pages full coulour report “Shaping the Future of our Natural Resources – Towards a Green Economy” presents the chair’s statement of the conference, a report of all plenary sessions and highlights of the workshops.

Basic information, such as the program, overview of abstracts, overview of the youth program, results of the participants survey, sponsors and partners, committees and a full list of participants is included as well.

Xaver Edelmann, President of the WRF, writes in his preface that he hopes “that the report will serve as a continuing source of inspiration for our participants and also all readers who could not participate in Davos”. He hopes to see many of them at the next WRF, to be held in Beijing, October 2012.

The report has over 50 photos, illustrations and graphs, and can be downloaded for free at the link below.

Printed hardcopies can be requested by writing to Kindly state how many copies you would like to receive and the reason for your interest. Reports will be sent on a first come first serve base, with priority for our participants.

Download the full meeting report here (PDF)

Find here the announcements of our report on IISD and on the official UN Rio+20 website.

Conferences photo World Resources Forum

Co-chairing 2010 WRF Expert Committee Summit Meeting

St. Gallen, June 2010. The WRF Expert Committee met in St. Gallen, 14-15 June 2010, and discussed lessons learnt from WRF09, as well as the tentative program for WRF11. Five ‘hot topics’ for a call for papers emerged. The beautiful setting of the Swiss Alpes helped to get a far reaching vision. Xaver Edelmann and Bas de Leeuw chaired the meeting.

The clusters which emerged from plenary and working group discussions are:

1.Security of Supply Peak minerals, Scarcity of metals and minerals, Environmental and social burden of resource extraction, Resource extraction and socio-political conflicts, Recycling of important material flows, Secondary resources

2.Growth, Innovation, Decoupling, Efficiency and Sufficiency Supply chain management, Regional and global material flows, Efficiency of processes and manufacturing, Dematerialization, Low Carbon Society, Green economy, Circular economy, Resources and greenhouse gas emissions, Best practice examples and case studies

3.Assessment Methods, Resource Use Indicators and Targets Life cycle analysis, Ecological footprint, Grey energy, Carbon footprint, other Greenhouse-gas-related indicators, Water footprint, Soil-related indicators, Material flow indicators and (per-capita) targets, Standards

4.The Social Dimension of Resources Welfare of countries, New economic approaches beyond growth, Values and lifestyles, Consumer behavior, Social LCA, Sustainability assessment, Sustainable consumption, North/South context, Industrializing countries

5.Communication and Education Information systems, Product information, Youth involvement, Awareness for resource limits and sustainable resource management, Workplace training, Outreach

The next meeting of the Expert Committee will be held early 2011.

Conferences Publications Sustainability Institute

Calling for systems approach to scarcity in India

New Delhi, March 25, 2010. As part of the Foresight India symposium taking place March 25-26 in New Delhi, Sustainability Institute’s Executive Director Bas de Leeuw will be presenting his text on applying a systems approach to resource scarcity.

In this text, De Leeuw begins by pointing out that through the years an increasing amount of credibility has been given to the issue of resource scarcity. Such scarcity is not only due to quantitative limitations, but also to the constraint location may put on their availability, due to conflicts and security concerns. Though society is far along this growth path, de Leeuw assures us there is still hope. If we put effort into looking at the whole picture, gathering more specific data on the global situation, and demonstrating the consequences of inaction, we can better understand the change we need. This change must be reflected on a global, national, and individual level in order to produce effective, innovative solutions and the legislation to support.

Read the article here.   Reader available here (PDF). Sustainability Institute web coverage here

Conferences photo UNEP Video

Facilitating EC Green Week session on resources

Brussels, 3-6 June 2008. Besides the problems of climate change, the scarcity of our planet’s natural resources and pollution, mankind is faced with equally pressing challenges related to production, consumption and waste disposal. Many people are unaware of the speed at which we are using up our natural resources, and that we are producing waste far faster than it can be turned back into a useful resource. Green Week 2008, organised by the European  Commission, took a closer look at the sustainable use of natural resources, focusing on waste management, sustainable consumption and production.

UNEP’s Bas de Leeuw – head of the Resource Panel Secretariat – moderated the June 4 session on identifying priority natural resources. Watch the unedited video of the full session.

Putting a priority on certain natural resources can play an important role in reducing the environmental impacts of resource use. This session focused on the advantages of using one resource over another, such as wood rather than stone to build houses. It also covered a range of related issues including trends in raw material use, price developments, market failures, the development of methodologies and how these elements influence sustainability. 

Speakers were Thomas E. Graedel, Member of the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management and Professor, Industrial Ecology, Yale University,  Phil Dolley, AEA Technology, and Andreas Kunsleben, Effizienz-Agentur – cleaner production in North Rhine-Westphalia.