Policy mixes addressing natural resources: learning from real world experiences

This research note, published in the context of the FP-7 DYNAMIX project, compares 15 case studies of past and existing policy-mixes in different sectors and assesses how effective they have been in spurring decoupling of resource use from economic growth.

Key findings presented in this report suggest that relative decoupling is being achieved in Europe, though at different rates across countries and resource issues. Examples include fossil fuels use in Sweden and Denmark; local municipal waste in Slovakia; and land take in England and Germany. Evidence of absolute decoupling is less frequent and related to specific resources and countries. Examples include Denmark’s fertiliser use, the UK’s use of aggregates, Ireland’s plastic bag use and Japan’s "sound material cycle society". In Iceland, absolute decoupling within resource limits has been achieved for some fish species.

The report highlights the different roles instruments can play in policy-mixes, points to some of the core characteristics of effective policy-mixes and identifies frequent shortcomings in policy-mix design.