The World Resources Forum (WRF) is a non-profit organization for sharing knowledge about the economic, political, social and environmental implications of global resource use . WRF promotes resource productivity among researchers, policymakers, business, NGOs and the public. WRF Secretariat multistakeholder dialogue projects, among others the Sustainable Recycling Initiative (SRI) and the H2020 project Towards a World Forum on Raw Materials(FORAM). WRF serves as a bridge and fostering exchange between academics, politicians, research-orientated practitioners, entrepreneurs, consultants and other professionals in the areas of sustainable development .

About the organization

The WRF aims to bring about the issues of global resource consumption and resource productivity on the agenda of policymakers and business leaders. Aspects covered by the WRF include the scarcity and security of supply as well as the price Risks of key resources. The issues of pollution and energy use in the life-cycle of certain resources, their social impact – in particular in developing countries – and in general the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are discussed by the WRF as well.

The WRF is set up as an association, with a General Assembly and Board. The WRF Secretariat, based in St. Gallen, Switzerland , is responsible for the coordination and organization of multiple activities.

Flagship activity is the organization of the annual WRF Conference, which usually takes place in the fall and brings together science, research, policymakers and industry. The program usually includes a series of high-level keynotes, parallel sessions and specialized workshops. Apart from the regular media deferrals are being white Regularly written by Student Reporters . Furthermore, the WRF Secretariat conducts other knowledge and multi-stakeholder dialogue, as well as the dissemination of an international resource panel [1] reports, social media and MOOCs .

The Corporate image of the World Resources Forum was designed by Helmut Langer . It shows a white in the blue world which symbolizes not only the resource issue but also associations like Refusing, Reducing, Re-using, Repairing, Refurbishing, Remanufacturing, Re-purposing, Recycling and Recovering.

Organizational structure

As an inter-link between research, industry and policymaking, WRF emphasizes the facilitation of networking in order to optimize the transfer of knowledge between different stakeholders. For this purpose, special events are organized and connected to key leaders can be established through the WRF Secretariat.

The WRF capacity building activities include, for instance, supporting the participation of scientists and young people (for example the youth program of the 2011 WRF Conference) [2] and Kids and the WRF program of WRF 2013 [1]

Founding members are the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment , the Swiss Interdisciplinary Research Institute and Service Provider for Materials Science and Technology Empa , the United Nations Environment International Resource Panel , [3] Hewlett-Packard , and the city ​​of St. Gallen .

Other members include the German Federal Environment Agency, [4] the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment , the United Nations Industrial Development Organization , the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences , the Rhomberg Group, [5] the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI ), [6] the Mercator Foundation Switzerland, [7] the Association for Quality and Management Systems (SQS), [8] the Chinese Academy of Sciences , the ESM Foundation for Rare Metals, [9] the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences ( SATW) [10] and the Finnish Innovation FundSITRA .


Empa, part of the ETH Domain , has organized international conferences on recycling and re-use of resources since 1995, the so-called „R“ series (R’93, R’95 etc.). Rated to reduce, reuse and recycle. In 2009 Empa together with the Factor 10 The Institute is broadening the scope of the conference to include the full life cycle of products and services. And so the series of conferences has become the World Resources Forum, which has been attracting high-level politicians, business leaders, NGOs and scientists from all over the world ever since.

In 2009 the WRF Conference was organized in Davos , Switzerland, back to back with the R’09 Twin World Congress on Resource Management and Technology for Material and Energy Efficiency.

The R ‚Conferences got entirely integrated into the WRF and in 2011 the enlarged WRF Conference took place again in Davos, followed by annual flagship meetings in Switzerland and beyond (see next chapter).

The spin-off of the Secretariat from Empa and inauguration of the independent WRF Association took place on March 16, 2012 in St. Gallen, Switzerland, with support from governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Bas de Leeuw (formerly UN Environment) became its first Managing Director, and Xaver Edelmann (formerly EMPA) its first President.

Read more in the Huffington Post „How the World Forum Resources came to be“.

Vision and Mission

WRF envisioning the world where influential decision-makers, civil society, key players, leading scientists and the empowered public interacting and communicating around the world economic, social and environmental implications of resources. Through this interaction of multiple stakeholders, innovative and effective solutions emerge,

The World Resources Forum aims to make their vision of sustainable development a reality and to be able to work with international organizations. resource utilization, creation of opportunities for financing resource efficiency projects. WRF is committed to the inclusiveness of economic growth and elimination of poverty and marginalization, thus making these issues a reality.


Flagship activity of the World Resources Forum is the organization of the annual WRF Conference, which brings together science, research, policymakers and industry. The program includes a series of high-level keynotes, parallel sessions and specialized workshops. The program also includes WRF Cinema, WRF Art Gallery, WRF Workshop Parade and WRF Gala Dinner. The World Resources Forum is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Resources Forum, the Latin America and the Caribbean Resources Forum, and is contributing to the European Resources Forum. In 2016 the first Swiss Resources Forum, focusing on resources issues within Switzerland, was organized.

WRF 2019

WRF 2019 will be held in Antwerp, Belgium, on 24-27 February 2019, at the Flanders Meeting & Convention Center, co-hosted with OVAM, the Public Waste Agency of Flanders.

WRF 2017

This conference took place in Geneva on October 24-26, 2017 at the International Conference Center Geneva. WRF 2017 has focused on Accelerating the Resource Revolution and the over 400 participants from 48 countries discussed the issues of Governance of Raw Materials, Circular Economy and Sustainable Recycling, Sustainable Development Goals , Business Concepts on Resource Efficiency and Decoupling, Sustainable Consumption and Production , Life Cycle Thinking , Smart Cities, Infrastructure and Lifestyles and Capacity Building for Resource Efficiency. Keynote speakers have included, others, Mathis Wackernagel , Jorgen Randers ,Anders Wijkman and Janez Potočnik .

World Circular Economy Forum 2017

Together with the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, World Resources Forum HAS co-organized the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in June 2017 with the Nordic Council of Ministers , the Ellen MacArthur Foundation , the Finnish government , the European Commision , the European Environment Agency , International Institute for Sustainable Development , UN Environment and WBCSD. The forum has focused on showcasing circular economy solutions for business, cities and finance and attracted 1500 participants from 105 countries. Overall conclusion of the WCEF is that the business case for Circular Economy does not have to be made, but that many countries and businesses are already leading the way.

Swiss Resources Forum 2016

The WRF organized together with other stakeholders a resource forum focusing on Switzerland. The conference brought together over 100 participants from industry as well as policymakers and researchers. It focuses on the supply of critical metals and other resources for renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, innovation and economic growth. The main outcome stated that Switzerland does not need an Energy Revolution (away from fossil fuels) but also a Resource Revolution.

WRF LAC 2016

The World Resources Forum Latin America and the Caribbean was held in San José , Costa Rica in conjunction with the International Sustainable Building Congress, organized by the Green Building Council of Costa Rica, WRF and UNEP . About 380 participants from 30 countries focused on the key topics of sustainable business and financing; bio economy – priority resources for cities; sustainable lifestyles and education; resource efficiency policies for sustainable cities and lifestyles; sustainable and inclusive cities and buildings. The meeting report was published in 2016. [2]

WRF 2015

World Resources Forum 2015 was held in Davos, Switzerland, from 11-14 October 2015, and had over 600 participants coming from 108 countries. Discussed topics included Circular Economy and Decoupling; innovation, business and finance; targets, indicators, and benchmarks for resource and education. One of the main outcomes of the conference is a strong need for reliable and comprehensive indicators and benchmarks that can be used in the field of resource management. The meeting report was published in 2015. [3]

WRF Asia-Pacific 2015

World Resources Asia-Pacific Forum was held in Sydney , Australia, from 1-3 June 2015, and attracted close to 300 participants. An Action Agenda on Resource Productivity and Innovation was launched by the Institute for Sustainable Futures of the University of Technology (UTS) and the Center for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at UNSW Australia . The chairman’s summary was published in 2015. Key themes discussed during the conference were Resource Productivity in the Asia-Pacific, Enabling Transition Pathways, and Innovation through Collaboration.

WRF 2014

World Resources Forum 2014 was held in Arequipa , Peru, from 19-22 October 2014 and attracted over 1,000 participants from 40 countries and international organizations. Main topics of the conference include issues such as increasing resource productivity, climate change , decreasing the environmental and social burden of current consumption and production patterns, and achieving high quality of life for the current and future generations. The meeting report was published in 2015. [4]

WRF 2013

World Resources Forum 2013 was held in Davos, Switzerland, October 6-9, 2013 and attracted over 400 participants from 53 countries and international organizations. Main conference topics at WRF 2013 were Resource Efficiency and Governance, Sustainable Business and Industry, Sustainable Cities and Infrastructure, and Lifestyles and Education. The conference included speeches by leading experts Plenary Such As Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker , as well as debates featuring Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy , Reinhard Bütikofer and HRH Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma .The meeting report Was published in 2013. [5]

WRF 2012

World Resources Forum 2012 was held from October 21-23 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing , China, and attracted over 700 attendees. Main theme of this forum, co-organized with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was Resources and Green Economy . The outcome of the world, and the importance of sustainable development. The meeting report was published in 2012. [6]

WRF 2011

More than 400 participants from over 40 countries and international organizations attended the World Resources Forum 2011 in Davos, Switzerland, from 19-21 September 2011. The results from the conference were submitted to the Rio + 20 Earth Summit document compilation, other stakeholders, such as the International Monetary Fund . The Swiss government adopted the recommendations and integrated these statements in Rio. Topics discussed at the conference included the Security of Supply; Assessment Methods, Resource Use Indicators and Targets; the Social Dimension of Resources and Communication. The meeting report was published in 2011. [7]

WRF 2009

The R’09 conference on resource management and technology for energy efficiency in Davos and Nagoya from 14 to 16 September 2009. The main goal of the ninth event in the World Congress ELEVATION AND EFFICIENCY OF PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND PROCESSES (FROM PRODUCTION AND USE TO RECYCLING), INCLUDING DEVELOPING SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR TACKLING THE GROWING MOUNTAIN OF E-WASTE. The conference was organized by Empa in cooperation with the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, the EcoTopia Science Institute of the University of Nagoya, and the Factor 10 Institute. For the first time, that year’s conference was followed by the World Resources Forum, where politicians and scientists had the opportunity to discuss new economic frameworks. The innovative two site conference concept saved substantial amounts of CO2, published in Elsevier’s Telematics and Informatics Journal.

At the Davos meeting, WRF expects a declaration that calls for western economies to massively reduce their material inputs and for the world to dramatically increase resource productivity. They also agreed that, because the price of natural resources is so low compared to that of labor, the industry will not purposely drive those changes. Only governments can provide the necessary framework and incentives.

Key projects

The World Resources Forum Secretariat and the project lead for various programs. They range from development cooperation projects to more governance oriented initiatives.

Sustainable Recycling Industries

The Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) program builds capacity for sustainable recycling in developing countries. The program is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs [11] and is implemented by the Empa, WRF and ecoinvent. [12] It builds on the success of implementing e-waste recycling systems together with various developing countries for more than ten years. The SRI program attempts to achieve three objectives. First, it develops basic data for the assessment of environmental and social life cycle disambiguation needed ]performance in Brazil, India and South Africa. Furthermore, SRI improves local capacity for sustainable recycling together with private and public institutions, as well as the informal sector in Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Peru, and South Africa. Lastly, the program facilitates a stakeholder consultation for the development of sustainability criteria for secondary raw materials. This is the result of the ISO International Workshop Agreement on Guidance Principles for Sustainable Management of Secondary Metals(ISO IWA 19: 2017), which was launched at the Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention. This new ISO document is designed to guide the economic sector, including the informal sector, in the efficient and credible implementation of improved recycling practices, and in particular in emerging and developing economies.

Towards a World Forum on Raw Materials

The Project Towards the World Forum on Raw Materials (FORAM) develops and sets up an EU-based platform of international experts and stakeholders that will advance the idea of ​​a World Forum on Raw Materials and Enhancing International Cooperation on Raw Materials Policies and Investments. This platform works together on making the current complex. As such, the FORAM project is said to be the largest collaborative effort for raw materials strategy cooperation on a global level.

The global use of mineral resources has become more complex. Several international initiatives and organizations have been contributing to knowledge and information, including the European Commission, the European Geological Survey , the European Federation of Geologists , the UNEP International Resource Panel , the World Resources Forum, the World Resources Forum, [13] the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Developmentand others. It is widely appreciated that it would be beneficial for all countries, since it would be lead to stability, predictability, resource efficiency and hence a better foundation for competitiveness on a sustainable basis.

FORAM 18 – the pilot event of the project – will be organized on June 27, 2018 in Nancy, France, back-to-back with the World Materials Forum . Launching and preparatory events held in Brussels during Raw Materials Week , and Geneva, as part of the 2017 World Resources Forum .

Providing e-learning platforms and webinars

WRF also takes a leading role in the planning, coordination and production of massive open online runs on such issues as e-waste, resource efficiency and circular economy. Examples are the MOOC on e-waste [14] and the MOCC on decoupling [15] with partners such as UN Environment International Resources Panel , Secretariat of the Basel Convention , Climate-KIC , Stellenbosch University and Commitability. [16]

Igniting Business Investments in Resource Efficiency

Igniting Business Investments in Resource-Efficiency (IBIRE) Developed as part of the United Nations 10 Years Framework Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production, [17] aims at boosting private investments in sustainable development, by identifying funding sources business development and sustainable development, business development and sustainable development. Building on decades of good work on Production and related concepts, IBIRE program ignites worldwide attention of various types of investors and donors to the business opportunities that the shift to moresustainable lifestyles has to offer.

Other projects and programs

In addition to the dissemination of scientific reports and papers, WRF also funds publications and papers in collaboration with universities and research institutes. In cooperation with Leiden University , WRF published the paper Towards a resource-efficiency index of nations . [8]


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  2. Jump up^ „Youth program WRF 2011“ (PDF) . World Resources Forum . Retrieved 2012-08-20 .
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