ProgRess III: The contribution of standards and specifications to increased resource efficiency
With the adoption of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) in 2012, Germany was one of the first countries to commit to goals, guiding principles and courses of action to protect natural resources. The third version of the programme (ProgRess III) was approved by the German Federal Cabinet on 17 June 2020. The aim of ProgRess III, which is being led by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), is to increase resource efficiency along the entire value chain.
Benefits of standardization recognized
The benefits of standardization have been recognized in ProgRess III and prominently anchored in the programme. Standards and specifications define requirements for products and processes and create structures that increase resource efficiency – for example, circular systems. In order to roll out a resource-saving and circular economic system across Europe, to enable resource-friendly consumption and to shape global supply and value chains, standards and specifications are an essential precursor.
Standardization Map for Resource Efficiency
In order to illustrate the benefits of standardization for resource efficiency and to encourage further projects, DIN, DKE and VDI have published the Standardization Map for Resource Efficiency (This document is only available in German). To do this, the 118 defined measures were analysed by a joint action group, which determined that 56 of them were relevant for DIN, DKE and VDI. This standardization map names a total of 428 documents. Of these, 301 are published standards and specifications, 46 are drafts, and 81 are ongoing standardization projects that are already being used in value chains and material cycles or will be in the future. Based on this overview, the influence of standards and specifications on the measures outlined can be assessed, and possible needs for standardization projects – "standardization gaps" – identified for the implementation of the respective measures. The standardization map is targeted at companies that develop resource-efficient products based on the current state of the art and want to be aligned with the measures put forth in Progress III, but also at scientists working on research projects in the designated fields of action, as well as ministry officials and project managers who write funding guidelines.
Contributing to the success factor of digitalization
For example, DIN, DKE and VDI propose to create or revise standards and specifications that can define criteria and procedures for the repairability of products or serve as a basis for the development of a labelling system for the percentage of recycled plastics. Digitalization is also a crucial success factor for the expansion of resource efficiency. Standards and specifications also play an essential role in this context and can make an important contribution – among other things, for the transparency and sustainability of supply chain management.
Invitation to participate
In order to take an active role in developing standards and specifications for resource efficiency, DIN would like to invite all interested parties from industry, science, politics and public authorities to contribute their ideas and suggestions to the technical rule-making process.