In the past continuous growth, rising profits and increasing production of goods were top priorities. However, continuous growth within a limited eco-system is not possible in the long-term. Increasing worldwide demand led to bottlenecks in non-renewable raw materials in the medium-term. Raw materials are the basis for all physical products and consequently for peoples’ standard of living.
The scarcity of natural resources will be the main future challenge for economic and social development. Securing quality of life and material wealth in the long-term requires a dramatic reduction in the use of non-renewable raw materials, or in other words an efficiency revolution with regard to resources. This means a transition to renewable raw materials within the economic system, a broad-reaching circular economy and generally a more conscious approach to consumer products.
This calls for intelligent resource management throughout the entire value chain: beginning with agriculture and raw material production. Within the subsequent processing of raw materials to produce food and consumer goods, important aspects for consideration alongside the choice of material are the efficient use of materials, a reduction in the consequent volume of waste and the emissions produced by the process. The bio-based industry, which uses mainly renewable resources and promotes cascading/ multipurpose-use-concepts plays a major role here. Comprehensive resource management also bears product use in mind – quality labels, certification labels and sharing concepts can help users with their consumer decisions. For sustainable consumption, the duration of use is a deciding factor. Repair, recycling (including upcycling) and recirculation of raw materials facilitate a circular economy.
- initiates strategy processes and stakeholder dialogue,
- networks national and international actors,
- provides new impetus for the development of innovative and resource-efficient production processes and technologies and for the increased use of renewable resources,
- disseminates knowledge on important developments in the field of sustainable management, such as within the bio-based industry, the bio-economy and on the topic of scarcity of resources, for example,
- develops, compiles and communicates quality criteria for the recognition of sustainable products,
- answers questions on sustainable agriculture and nutrition,
- identifies focus areas and leads discussions on sustainable consumption,
- raises awareness and specifies awareness measures on various topics, e.g. waste prevention.