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Efficiency – How efficiently are we using our resources?

Greenhouse gas intensity

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  Although total emissions have increased, the intensity of emissions in relation to the economy has decreased.

This indicator compares production in the economy, as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), with total greenhouse gas emissions. This measures whether emissions have grown or decreased faster or slower than growth in the economy.

Graph, Intensity of greenhouse gas emissions 1990–2008.

  • The ratio of total greenhouse gas emissions to GDP, which takes into account production and consumption levels, has fallen since 1990. This means fewer emissions are produced per unit of GDP.
  • Possible reasons include changes in the composition of the economy, for example the growth of the services sector, which produces relatively fewer greenhouse gases compared with other sectors.

Energy intensity

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  The energy intensity of the economy has decreased since 1995.

This indicator compares production in the economy (as measured by real GDP) with total energy demand (as measured by total consumer energy). This determines whether reliance on energy to generate economic growth is increasing or decreasing.

Graph, Energy intensity of the economy 1995–2009.

  • Since 1995, real GDP has increased at a faster rate than total consumer energy. As a result, the energy intensity of the economy fell 23 percent, with less energy required for each unit of value added to the economy.
  • Both total consumer energy and real GDP fell in 2009.
  • A structural factor contributing to the reduction in energy intensity in New Zealand is the growth of service industries, which are less energy-intensive than industries such as manufacturing.

Labour productivity

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  Since 1985, labour productivity has increased an average of 2.0 percent per year.

Labour productivity is a measure of the efficiency of the labour force (that is, output per worker). Growth in labour productivity implies an increase in the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy.

Graph, Labour productivity 1985–2009.

  • Between 1985 and 2009, average annual growth in labour productivity was 2.0 percent. This was the result of output (as measured by GDP) growing 2.5 percent a year and labour input growing 0.4 percent a year.
  • Average annual labour productivity fell 0.3 percent over the 2006–09 period, compared with an annual growth of 2.4 percent from 1985–2006. However, the 2006–09 period is  not a complete cycle, so caution should be taken when comparing with previous periods.
  • In 2009, labour productivity fell by 1.5 percent, output dropped by 2.2 percent, and labour input fell by 0.7 percent. 
     
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