The responsible handling of energy is only a part of the challenges of the 21st century and can be attributed to the conservation of resources. Because of the growing global population, sustainability regarding any kind of resources is becoming increasingly important. Assuming that industrial states cut their resource use per capita until 2050 in regard to 2006 in half, the global consumption would nevertheless rise by 40 % in consequence of population growth . It is therefore necessary to, among other things, come up with a more efficient use of raw materials.
Worldwide Resource Use
Figure 1: Worldwide resource us in billion tons based on 
At this, Germany occupies a pioneering role, not least because as a resource-poor country, it is dependent on imports. In 2002, within the framework of the national sustainability strategy, the objective to double the resource productivity  until 2020 was set .
The Cost Structure of the Manufacturing Industry
Figure 2: Cost Structure in the Manufacturing Industry 
Especially the efficient use of resources presents an advantage for companies, since materials make up a significant part of their cost (see fig. 1). Over 40 % of the overall cost in the manufacturing industry are spent on materials. Based on estimations, 20 % thereof can be economized by technical modernization and thus plays a crucial part for the competitiveness of a company .
Since the processing of materials requires energy, a reduction in material use also results in energy savings . A sustainable use of materials therefore not only contributes to a socio-political, but also to an economic solution to the challenges of the 21st century.
 R. Kaiser, “ProgRess: Das deutsche Ressourceneffizienzprogramm 2011,” uwf, vol. 19, no. 1-2, pp. 49–58, 2011.
 Krausmann et al., “growth in global materials use,” gDP and population during the 20th century, ecological economics, no. 68/10, pp. 2696–2705, 2009.
 R. Neugebauer, Ed., Handbuch ressourcenorientierte Produktion. Munich: Hanser, 2014.
 Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), Kostenstruktur der Unternehmen im Verarbeitenden Gewerbe. Available: https://www-genesis.destatis.de/genesis/online/data;jsessionid=090EDB169A1EF41FAA48379F3085E81B.tomcat_GO_1_1?operation=abruftabelleAbrufen &selectionname=42251-0004&levelindex=1&levelid=1533119147238&index=4. Accessed on: Aug. 01 2018.
 R. Neugebauer, Ed., Ressourceneffizienz: Schlüsseltechnologien für Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, 1st ed. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Vieweg, 2017.