Resource efficiency has become quite a major issue in the preservation of the manufacturing industry's competitive position globally with higher environmental damages, the rapid decrease of non-renewable natural resources and the increasing value of resources due to technological and industrial developments. Resource efficiency is defined by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as the sustainable production, processing, and consumption of natural resources as well as the reduction of adverse environmental impacts occurring during the production and consumption of products of the products throughout all life cycles. At the same time, it aims to minimize the production-related environmental effects by preventing and reducing waste generation at its source contrary to conventional pollution control methods. This promotes higher profitability and the development of new technologies, enhances employment, and reveals the potential for innovation and growth in production. The development and application of new production processes ensure the design of ecological products, recycling and reuse of waste (Europe EEIG, 2012).
Since 2009, the public and private partnership REMAKE ("Resource efficiency in production and recycling") enabled the assessment of resource efficiency potentials of France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Spain and the UK. The initiative determined that the raw materials accounted for 40% of the manufacturing industry enterprises in the said EU countries with 50% of such cost being related to energy and water costs.
Industrialization targets had priority in previous years whereas the current policies aim to increase “competitiveness.” It is critical to develop policies and strategies for competitiveness for the Turkish manufacturing industry, which is faced with with competitive pressure created by the countries with cheap labor costs such as China and India. Turkey has made huge progress in the manufacturing industry since the 1980s. Strategies such as global integration of the manufacturing industry, efficient use of resources (energy, raw material, water), reduction of costs, development of transport infrastructure and R&D activities, provision of qualified workforce, increase of operational capacities and development of environment-friendly production policies will enhance Turkey's competitiveness.
Energy, water, and raw material efficiency are the most relevant areas of resource efficiency. Energy efficiency comes to the fore particularly in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing industry. Energy efficiency can be defined as the conversion of each unit of energy consumed into more services and products (UCTEA, 2008). Although energy efficiency is perceived in abstract terms by the Turkish enterprises, it has the potential to bring considerable financial, environmental and economic gains.
Energy efficiency can be viewed as a set of efficiency enhancing measures such as preventing energy losses, waste recovery, and utilization, reducing energy demand through advanced technological processes, energy recovery systems and more efficient energy resources (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Energy efficiency measures
Ensuring energy sustainability depends on decreasing external dependency, alleviating the burden of energy costs on the national economy and the efficient use of energy resources. It is necessary to pay attention to energy efficiency in order to leave a habitable world for future generations, considering rising energy demands and prices, continuous reduction of fossil fuels as primary fuel resources, energy security, and environmental factors. This means that we will have to use renewable energy sources and focus on energy efficiency much more in the future.
The most fundamental indicator for the efficient use of energy is the reduction of energy density. Per capita, energy consumption in Turkey is about 1/5 of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries while the energy density is twice the OECD average. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) data, the energy density of the developed countries ranges from 0.09-0.19. The rate of 0.38 and the lack of downtrend in Turkey that this issue should be taken seriously (Türkay and Yılmaz, 2013).
The manufacturing industry has a significant share in the country's overall energy consumption due to the current and future energy consumption increases. Moreover, the manufacturing has become the target sector for energy efficiency investments due to the considerable gains to be achieved by such savings (ABB, 2011). Energy efficiency in the manufacturing industry includes energy accounting, control systems, insulation, new technologies and industrial processes, raw material properties, product types and properties, climate conditions and environmental effects, and capacity utilization
The past trends indicate that global resource utilization has been increasing consistently. UNEP (2011) notes that the amount of ore, minerals, fossil fuels and biomass globally extracted and consumed has surged by eight times between 1900 and 2005. An examination of Figure 2 shows that the mining processes continues to grow strongly. According to such recent data, mineral extraction has been growing faster than GDP since 2000 (UNEP, 2016a, UNEP, 2016b, UNSD, 2015).
Figure 2 Global material extraction and global GDP change, 1970-2015
Current trends indicate that higher global population with average wealth will continue to increase material consumption and usage. It is estimated that the amount of extracted material will reach 183 billion tons by 2050. Mines and minerals are depleted sources, and many are geographically concentrated. In this context, the effective use and recycling of these scarce resources can reduce the risks and threats to their future availability (UNEP, 2015; UNEP, 2016a).
Turkey, in this context, reflects sustainability principles on national development policies to a large extent. The 10th Development Plan emphasizes the use of environment-friendly techniques in the manufacturing industry to realize more efficient production and reduce wastes. Raw material efficiency activities are important in the manufacturing sectors of chemical, textile, food, basic metals and non-metallic mineral products which operate under the Turkish manufacturing industry with particularly high raw material consumption and saving potentials.
The amount of water resources on Earth is fixed, while their distribution is irregular. The rapid growth of the global population and increased diversification of demand for water, pollution and climate change have made this vital resource a strategic asset especially for water-poor countries For this reason, it is a priority to develop strategies to determine national water efficiency so that water is a sustainable resource (Greco Initiative & Regional Activity Center, 2007).
For water efficiency, it is important to encourage the use of waters with lower quality in the industry instead of drinking water which is scarce in the world. Efficient use of water should be ensured with the development of policies to use appropriate quality of water in the correct place by using low quality water in various manufacture sectors including metal, textile, paper, cement and glass as opposed to drinking water or better quality water for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and certain food and beverage products, Öztürk, 2011; Yetiş, 2013).
Currently, projects are carried out in Turkey to harmonize and implement the EU Water Framework Directive. Including the “determination of water tariffs,” the Directive envisages the management of water resources according to environmental and economic sustainability. Therefore, the policies for the creation of a water tariff is of great significance to achieve the objectives of this Directive, in particular, the reduction of water use and the promotion of water recovery. Currently, underground water is used with a very low cost or free of charge in the Turkish manufacturing industry because of the lack of full compliance with the EU Water Framework Directive especially in terms of determining water tariffs. Also, certain enterprises do not regularly measure and monitor water consumption, nor prefer water-saving improvements because of their low water costs and free of charge water consumption.
In this context, further policies and measures are needed to encourage the more efficient use of water in the manufacturing industry, endorse improvement practices for water savings. Also, there should be efforts to regulate and inspect water consumption in the manufacturing industry as well as charge it to reflect actual costs.
In conclusion, countries which have completed their industrialization process at a later stage should implement strategies and programs in priority sectors. The countries need to adopt sector-focused approaches in the manufacturing industry to achieve success in resource efficiency and sustainable production strategies. We need sector-based resource efficiency studies because sectors differ from each other in the manufacturing industry regarding resource utilization and because Turkey’s resources are limited. In this context, cleaner production activities have a significant place in the manufacturing industry (Ashton et al., 2002, Böğürcü, 2012).