Materials Efficiency

The EBRD now invests in materials efficiency via its Green Economy Transition approach.

Learn more about our Green Economy Transition approach

Resource inputs and production waste impose costs on businesses, the economy and the environment. These costs can in many cases be avoided, or at least be reduced. The EBRD’s materials efficiency work supports businesses in a range of sectors across the EBRD region to optimise their use of resources and to minimise the generation of waste or find alternative uses for it.

The EBRD takes a systems, cradle-to-cradle perspective of a company’s resource use, based on the waste minimisation hierarchy (reduce-reuse-recycle). The aim is to identify bankable projects that help companies to reduce resource inputs through efficiency improvements, and/or to capture value from waste streams. Opportunities for this include the recovery of fertilizers and primary chemicals from agricultural residuals, or the development of return markets for fly ash in the cement industry.

Once these opportunities have been exhausted, support will be extended to find opportunities for reuse or recycling of unavoidable waste generation through optimising production process.

To support clients with the identification of potential projects and the optimisation of project design, the EBRD offers dedicated resource efficiency audits to existing and potential clients. These audits include a range of analyses of input/output streams in a site or company, reviews of the performance of existing technologies, and recommendations for investment in appropriate resource-efficient technologies. They would be followed up by detailed development work should a client be interested in pursuing this work further.

Opportunities for improving materials efficiency can be found in many enterprises in the EBRD’s region of operation, and indeed outside it. The focus of the material efficiency component of the SRI (between 2012 and 2015) was therefore on sectors with the highest potential.

These included the food production and processing as well as resource intensive manufacturing industries, such as steel and metals, chemical, and pulp and paper.