My research over the past two decades has focused on providing a knowledge base on natural resource use and resource efficiency including its history, the socioeconomic drivers, and its likely trajectory. I address questions including: What is resource efficiency? Why is it important for national economies? How to achieve it? My background in sociology has enabled me to simultaneously identify the determinants of accelerating resource use and to describe potential institutional and governance responses to expand the global economy and human well-being within environmental limits. Additional emphasis was given to equity issues that emerge in the domain of natural resource use and ways in which benefits can be shared. In this research I employ a whole of life cycle perspective on natural resource use (extraction – manufacturing - use – to disposal) and the potential for resource efficiency along the whole supply chain. In such way, multiple entry points for reducing, reusing and recycling of resources can be identified.
My research over the next 5 years will focus on extending the theory and analytical framework, new data-sets and indicators, and devising models to test policy alternatives for their impact on future resource use and economic development. My past research has been instrumental in reaching methodological agreement on how to measure natural resource use of national economies and which indicators to use for the reporting of national resource use. Measuring and modelling of resource use and relating it to socioeconomic determinants to develop options for sustainable development has now become a major objective for many national governments (including the UK, the European Union, Japan, and China) creating exciting opportunities for impact-driven research. My research findings inform policy formulation in the domains of sustainable consumption and production, resource efficiency and green economy an help monitor progress and to evaluate policy outcomes. The potential for science innovation in the domains of industrial ecology and ecological economics are enormous.