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German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) – an overview

Achieving more with less: The German Resource Efficiency Programme

With the adoption of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) in February 2012, Germany was among the first countries to determine targets, guiding principles and approaches to the conservation of natural resources. The German government is obligated to submit a report on developments in resource efficiency in Germany to the Bundestag every four years and to update the programme. ProgRess II, the first report and updated programme, was presented on 2 March 2016. The next (ProgRess III) is due in February 2020.

1. Purpose of the programme

The overarching goal of the German Resource Efficiency Programme is to make the extraction and use of natural resources more sustainable and meet our responsibility to future generations by helping to secure the natural foundations of life for the long term.

The objectives of the German government are

  • to decouple economic growth as far as possible from resource consumption and reduce the associated environmental burdens
  • to make the German economy more future-proof and competitive, thus promoting stable employment and social cohesion.

Voluntary measures and incentives play an important role in this context. Our resource efficiency policy is also an acknowledgement of our global responsibility for the ecological and social impacts of resource utilisation. The goal must be to permanently reduce global resource consumption.

ProgRess is based on the following four guiding principles:

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2. Contents and measures

ProgRess II consists of a report on the implementation of ProgRess I (2012 to 2015) and the continuation of the programme for the period 2016 to 2020. Activities already being carried out in the field of resource efficiency by the German government, Länder, municipalities, associations and institutions are described in an annex. The annex also includes citizens' recommendations for action on resource efficiency based on the public consultations.

ProgRess II topic areas

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ProgRess describes measures for increasing energy efficiency along the entire value chain – from raw material extraction and product design to production, use and circular economy. One aspect of updating the programme is to address current challenges in order to further improve the programme's effectiveness. For ProgRess II this included the joint consideration of resource efficiency and energy efficiency. One focus of ProgRess III will be the digital transformation. 

3. Procedure

Comprehensive consultation processes are an important basis for updating ProgRess. Representatives of civil groups, associations and the Länder have the opportunity to comment on the draft programme and contribute their own proposals. The programme is also informed by written contributions from associations, civil society, the scientific community and the Länder.

Comprehensive public participation is vital for gaining broad acceptance of the programme. The citizens' dialogue for ProgRess III will take place in May 2019 in three citizens' workshops comprising a total of 250 randomly selected members of the public. After the workshops, all interested citizens, irrespective of where they are located, will have the opportunity to participate in the online dialogue on the project homepage. The results of the citizens' workshops and online dialogue will be evaluated in detail and recorded in a final report. This will be used to draw up the citizens' recommendations for action based on the key outcomes of the public dialogue. These will be incorporated into the annex to ProgRess III.