Today (19 June), the Aldersgate Group launches a briefing setting out recommendations for the government’s forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS), setting out key policy priorities to radically improve the UK’s resource efficiency and maximise the economic, societal and environmental gains that this transition will offer.
Significantly improving the efficiency with which the UK economy uses resources could deliver major benefits, in environment gains and competitiveness. Recent business trials that the Aldersgate Group has been involved in showed that greater resource efficiency could deliver a total net gain in Gross Value Added (GVA) of £76bn by 2030, whilst also improving resource security.
To turn this economic and environmental potential into reality, the Aldersgate Group’s briefing, No Time to Waste: An Effective Resources and Waste Strategy, urges the government to:
- Provide clear policy direction by explicitly linking resource efficiency commitments to existing targets and updating the RWS every five years; supporting the provision of skills and access to information about resource flows for businesses
- Set standards to mandate greater resource efficiency in the manufacturing of products, ensuring that these are at least as stringent as those developed in the EU
- Establish tax incentives (such as VAT rebates) to encourage businesses to develop resource efficient goods and services and to drive consumer demand
- Support an effective regulatory regime for resources and waste through adequate funding for regulators and local authorities who can apply pragmatic regulations and tackle waste crime
- Ensure the effective implementation of the Waste Hierarchy through development of metrics that better reflect the best environmental outcome for resources
- Optimise producer responsibility to capture more businesses and more products, incentivise businesses to take greater responsibility for the environmental impact of their products and penalise those who fail to engage.
The government has committed to establishing the UK as a world leader in resource efficiency and to doubling resource productivity by 2050. The economy-wide benefits of resource efficiency are well documented and can save businesses money, reduce reliance upon finite materials, provide insulation from materials’ price volatility, protect the natural environment from harm by the processes of material extraction and waste disposal and reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, the Aldersgate Group says.
To secure these benefits the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy must provide a coherent policy framework that moves beyond the take-make-dispose model of waste management and recognises the need for integrated regulations, product standards and technical and financial support to drive business innovation in developing new relationships, products and processes.
Victoria Fleming-Williams, Aldersgate Group – “Resource efficient business models are proven to generate significant financial, material, natural resource and greenhouse gas savings, all of which are essential to deliver the government’s goals in the Industrial Strategy, 25 Year Environment Plan and Clean Growth Strategy.”
Victoria Fleming-Williams, lead policy paper author and policy manager, Aldersgate Group, said: “Resource efficient business models are proven to generate significant financial, material, natural resource and greenhouse gas savings, all of which are essential to deliver the government’s goals in the Industrial Strategy, 25 Year Environment Plan and Clean Growth Strategy.
“It’s high time for resource efficiency to cease to be an overlooked area of policy and for government to use the public procurement, regulatory and fiscal levers at its disposal to make the UK economy a world-leading resource efficient economy.”
Dr Adam Read, External Affairs Director, SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK, said: “There is so much work to be done to overhaul the UK’s approach to resource management, but the prize will be to spur new levels of productivity and economic competitiveness. SUEZ warmly welcomes the Aldersgate Group policy paper which sets out many of the priority areas that must be tackled.
“Our own recent report similarly emphasises the need to consider resource management at product design stage, whilst a number of policy interventions and measures are needed to more effectively tackle the complexity of our waste streams.
“We firmly believe that a combination of Extended Producer Responsibility, better data, new non-weight metrics and better labelling will allow consumers and the value chain to identify, extract, harvest and reuse materials more easily. We look forward to working closely with the government and the Aldersgate Group on this vital agenda in the coming months.”