Increasing resource consumption to sustain India’s robust economic growth has meant an increase in the extraction of primary raw materials by about 420% between 1970 and 2010, dominated by the extraction of abiotic materials (minerals and metals). India’s material demand in 2010 was the 3rd largest in the world, after that of China and the United States, with a consumption of about 7.2% of globally extracted raw materials in that year. A study from UNEP in 2016 indicates that consumption rates in India in 2015 may have already overtaken those of the USA. If current trends continue, India’s material requirements are projected to be 15 billion tonnes by 2030 and 25 billion tonnes by 2050, with fossil fuels, metals and minerals accounting for the biggest increases (Dittrich, 2015).
European Union’s Resource Efficiency Initiative (EU-REI) for India is a three-and-a-half year project (until July 2020), and aims to support India in the implementation of the United Nations global Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) agenda by way of adapting international standards and best practices in business on resource efficiency and fostering the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources.
The project will work towards creating a dialogue on the need for resource efficient approaches in India among key government and non-governmental organisations, businesses, students, media and the general public. It will also underscore the link between recovering raw materials from different material streams and creating an enabling ecosystem for the management of secondary raw materials. Adoption of RE standards and benchmarks and business best practices on resource efficiency will remain key in this transition. The primary sectors of interest are mobility, buildings and construction, renewable energy (photovoltaics), and resource recovery from waste (e-waste and plastics and packaging).