Over two decades and hundreds of projects I have been fortunate to encounter some of the best, and worst, examples of resource efficiency programs. My own observations are that around a third of projects have done very well, another third delivered some value but have not been sustained in the long-run, and the final third fell short of expectations from early on.

This success rate is typical of most change management or business process re-engineering projects[ bah2003bpr  ], so we should not single out resource efficiency programs for especial criticism. If one reads what many organisations say publicly about their resource efficiency programs we can only find stories of success and the benefits to the organisation and their stakeholders of environmental thinking. No mention anywhere of challenges, disappointments, steps backwards. Consultants, like me, are also silent on the true level of success of resource efficiency programs because we are either bound by client confidentiality or we quite simply don’t want to advertise our involvement in failed projects – it is not good for business!.