CIWM’s Resource Productivity Manifesto, published today (26 April), calls on all the political parties to commit to embedding improving resource productivity as a key strand of government economic and environmental policy in the run up to the snap general election in June.
A proper focus on resource productivity and efficiency is vital to the UK’s future economic, social and environmental development, including tackling climate change, CIWM says.
It is therefore calling on all the political parties to commit in their manifestos to:
- ensure that current environmental standards are maintained and that the UK continues to show ambition on delivering clean growth and a better environment, irrespective of Brexit
- embed better resource productivity and efficiency as a key strand of government economic and environmental policy
- provide a clear and stable future policy direction to 2030 and beyond, taking account of the development of the EU Circular Economy framework.
“The next UK Government must continue the journey towards a clean environment and better resource productivity,” CIWM says in its manifesto. “To do so will require an ambitious, forward-looking and stable policy direction.”
CIWM – “The next UK Government must continue the journey towards a clean environment and better resource productivity. To do so will require an ambitious, forward-looking and stable policy direction.”
It says the resource and waste management industry can make a dual contribution to future UK prosperity. Firstly, as a dynamic sector that already provides over 100,000 jobs and almost £7bn Gross Value Added to the economy. Secondly, through the “vital role” it can play in improving resource productivity and efficiency in the UK – through sustainable waste practices and the supply of the quality secondary raw materials and green energy.
The sector can help the UK provide “inclusive growth” and employment, both because management of secondary resources derived from waste can support local economic development and because industrial growth and new infrastructure (eg, housing) requires appropriate waste management services and facilities.
This potentially means creating more job opportunities in some of the UK’s traditional low growth/high unemployment areas. Transitioning to a resource efficient, low carbon economy will require a renewed focus on skills related to low carbon growth, resource productivity and efficiency.
CIWM is calling on the next UK Government to produce a long-term strategy to protect and enhance the UK environment, enshrine current environmental protections in a new, binding Environmental Protection Act and to continue to tackle waste crime by:
- providing suitable resources (money and legal powers) to the environment agencies and HMRC to fight waste crime
- strengthening awareness of the legal obligations amongst businesses and householders, so less material can enter the illegal waste world
- making the use of electronic Duty of Care systems compulsory for all waste producers and handlers.
To embed better resource productivity and efficiency as a key strand of future government economic and environmental policy, CIWM says the next UK Government should:
- monitor and report on whole-economy and, where practical, sector-specific resource productivity
- ensure the post-Brexit regulatory framework supports resource productivity (promoting resource efficiency, waste prevention, reuse, sharing economy, etc) and a more circular economy
- through WRAP, Innovate UK and other similar means, provide support for innovation on resource productivity and waste management
- strengthen or introduce a coherent set of extended producer responsibility schemes for a suitable range of waste streams (packaging, mattresses, electrical and electronic equipment, tyres, etc.) to share the costs more equitably across the supply chain, including local authorities, incentivise more resource efficient product design, and enable investment in recycling infrastructure
- recognise resource productivity and waste management skills as part of STEM and provide support (beyond apprenticeships) for resource productivity upskilling in smaller firms in all manufacturing sectors.
Clear & Stable Future
The next UK Government should provide a “clear and stable” future policy direction to 2030 and beyond, taking account of the development of the EU Circular Economy framework. CIWM says it can do this by:
- not stepping back from the existing 2020 framework for resource management, in particular the 2020 EU landfill diversion and recycling targets
- adopting the EU Circular Economy package proposals in the UK once agreed, followed by a properly consultative review of its elements where appropriate
- producing a comprehensive resource productivity and waste management strategy for England, consistent with the targets in the Climate Change Act, setting the direction of travel out to 2030 and beyond.