Better and more efficient production and use of natural resources can be one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways to reduce impacts on the environment (including pollution) and advance human well-being.

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    Global material resource use is expected to reach nearly 90 billion tonnes in 2017 and may more than double from 2015 to 2050.

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    To achieve effective decoupling, today's linear material flows must become circular.

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    Resource efficiency and circular economy create jobs and deliver better socio-economic and environmental outcomes than business as usual.

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    The report

      The way in which societies use and care for natural resources fundamentally  shapes the well-being of humanity, the environment and the economy. Better and more efficient use of natural resources can be one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways to reduce impacts on the environment, while also achieving the socio-economic objectives of international sustainable development and climate goals. Viable pathways exist for society to undertake such decoupling of economic growth from natural resource use and environmental impacts. But how can we get there?

      Environmental and sustainability policies require a new evidence base that makes it possible to monitor the scale of the physical economy, that is – the amount of material, energy, water and land used and emissions generated in making, using and providing goods, services and infrastructure systems.

      This publication provides an assessment of the state, trends and outlook of global natural resource use, with a focus on material resources as part of the evidence base for policymaking for sustainable consumption and production.

      The report pinpoints seven strategies for system-wide pollution reduction and more sustainable resource use throughout the economy, including consideration of appropriate policy instruments and good practice examples from cities and countries around the world.

      A special feature on the link between resource use, infrastructure, air pollution and human health in cities is included.

      • IRP (2017). Assessing global resource use: A systems approach to resource efficiency and pollution reduction. Bringezu, S., Ramaswami, A., Schandl, H., O’Brien, M., Pelton, R., Acquatella, J., Ayuk, E., Chiu, A., Flanegin, R., Fry, J., Giljum, S., Hashimoto, S., Hellweg, S., Hosking, K., Hu, Y., Lenzen, M., Lieber, M., Lutter, S., Miatto, A., Singh Nagpure, A., Obersteiner, M., van Oers, L., Pfister, S., Pichler, P., Russell, A., Spini, L., Tanikawa, H., van der Voet, E., Weisz, H., West, J., Wiijkman, A., Zhu, B., Zivy, R. A Report of the International Resource Panel. United Nations Environment Programme. Nairobi, Kenya.

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