Resource intensity

Resource Efficiency

Resource management is the ability to manage available resource (natural capital, human capital, financial capital) efficiently – regardless of whether the capital is scarce or abundant. Whether a country does or does not possess resources within its boundaries (natural and other resources), efficiency in using resources – whether domestic or imported - is a cost factor, affecting the competitiveness and thus wealth of nations. Over-exploitation of existing natural resources also affects the natural capital of the country, i.e. the ability of a country to support its population and economy with the required resources into the future.

Resource intensity scheme

Resource Management World Map

The resource intensity ranking is topped by less developed countries, with no OECD nation or developed economy in the top 20. Ireland and Sweden, the highest ranking of the developed economies, are placed 21 & 26, followed by Latvia (33), and Luxembourg (35). The UK, thanks to a near-complete de-industrialisation ranks 39. World’s economic powerhouses score comparable low: Germany is ranked 149, Japan 162, and the USA at 161. Brazil is positioned the highest among the large emerging economies (66), while India (138), China (166) and Russia (152) have a distinctive potential for improving their sustainable competitiveness through improving resource intensity and resource management – i.e. reducing costs, at the end of the day.

Dark areas indicate high resource efficiency, lighter high resource intensity

Global Resource Intensity Rankings

The main implications of higher or lower resource management capabilities are related to stability and sustained economic growth: should global prices for raw materials and energy rise significantly in the future (as trends and the majority of available research suggests), the countries in the lower ranks will face substantial higher costs and challenges to maintain their growth compared to countries with higher efficiency and intensity scores.