Improving resource efficiency, i.e. reducing consumption of raw materials at equal or higher levels of economic production and growth, is a central theme of green growth. The question whether production processes are becoming more resource efficient is assessed on the basis of the degree of decoupling between the indicators on resource use and economic growth (GDP).
Resource efficiency indicators for the Dutch economy show a mixed picture. Overall, the direct use of resources has improved since 2000. In a growing economy absolute resource use has decreased for groundwater extraction and domestic use of metals and minerals (absolute decoupling). The domestic use of biomass as well as net inland energy consumption have been stable in recent years. The share of renewable energy is slowly increasing. In addition to a higher resource efficiency, the Dutch resource footprint also seems to be declining. Fewer materials are used directly in the Dutch economy, whereas the Netherlands also imports fewer raw materials from abroad. When compared to other OECD and EU countries, the Netherlands’ score is average to good on most indicators for resource efficiency.