Business in the Community – The Prince’s Responsible Business Network will challenge business to reduce waste or turn “waste into wealth” to prevent catastrophic climate change during at the Waste to Wealth Summit, held today (22 November).
HRH The Prince of Wales will deliver a keynote address at the Summit in which he will address the urgent need to tackle the resource issue in the UK and explain why business is best placed to meet this challenge.
Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will also deliver a speech in which he will detail how the government will support businesses which are stepping up to this challenge.
200 leaders from business, government, academia and civil society will gather at the Waste to Wealth Summit, hosted by event partner Veolia, at Veolia Southwark’s integrated waste management facility in London to tackle this challenge head on. Leaders will commit to actions in a Waste to Wealth Commitment that will help collectively double the nation’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030 (supercharging the UK Industrial Strategy’s 2050 targets).
Michael Gove MP – “Today builds on the excellent work that HRH the Prince of Wales has done to raise environmental issues over many decades and help to drive real change. By working together we can all play a part in eliminating unnecessary waste to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”
Over 40 leading businesses signed the Waste to Wealth Commitment before the Summit including Bupa, The Co-Operative Bank, Deloitte, Greggs, Heineken, Iceland, Lloyds Banking Group, Marks & Spencer, PwC, Sky, Thames Water, Toyota, Unilever and Veolia and more are expected to join.
By signing the Waste to Wealth Commitment, businesses recognise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conclusion from October 2018 that we only have 12 years to change our relationship with the resources we use to avoid catastrophic climate change and restore the health of our environment.
The Waste to Wealth Commitment signatories are committing to the following actions:
- Set targets to improve the productivity of resources that are key for our business.
- Work collectively towards doubling the nation’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030, contributing in the way that is most relevant to our business.
- Redesign how resources are used in our products, services and operations.
- Collaborate across our organisations, value chains and sectors.
- Reconvene and report on progress annually to share learning and demonstrate results.
Seven Waste to Wealth Champions representing key areas identified by Defra will also be announced at the summit and have also signed the Commitment. The Waste to Wealth Champions are: JLL and Interface representing construction, Burger King, Nestle, Sainsbury’s and Sodexo representing food and European Metal Recycling representing metals.
The Waste to Wealth Champions will develop and deliver innovation hubs to identify challenges, create roadmaps and start to develop innovative solutions, reporting annually to The Prince’s Responsible Business Network.
A survey of over 2,000 UK adults published today in partnership with Ipsos MORI shows consumers want to do their bit too and reduce waste. Money-back incentives; dedicated spaces in shops to return used packaging and clothing; loyalty points and hiring not buying were the most popular actions from business when it comes to helping consumers reduce their own individual waste.
Key survey findings include:
- Moneyback incentives to encourage return of used packaging has the strongest support among UK adults (82%), closely followed by dedicated places to return used packaging (80%) and store loyalty points (79%)
- Price increases to re-invest in more environmentally friendly and/or recyclable packaging had the lowest level of support (39%), although there was more support among 16-24 year olds with 45% of the age group supporting price increases
- Nearly four in ten people (38%) say they would hire home improvement equipment/tools rather than purchase as a way to help decrease waste in future.
Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky plc and Chairman of Business in the Community, said: “We know that we only have 12 years to change our relationship with the resources we use in order to avoid catastrophic climate change and restore the health of our environment. The clock is ticking.
If businesses were presented with a similarly concerning outlook on the state of their markets, the competency of their core products or the future of their customer base they would use all the power and influence at their disposal to change track. To pivot in order to secure their future. That is why today we are calling on business leaders to use these same skills, mentality and approach to tackle the environmental challenge before us.”
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “I commend Business in the Community, and the companies committing to work towards a more circular economy. We need to cut avoidable waste and start looking at the waste we do produce as a valuable resource.
“Today builds on the excellent work that HRH the Prince of Wales has done to raise environmental issues over many decades and help to drive real change. By working together we can all play a part in eliminating unnecessary waste to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”
Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, said:“HRH The Prince of Wales and Business in the Community’s Royal Founding Patron has been shining a light on plastic pollution and our throwaway culture since the 1970s. And now we, as The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, are looking at how we make the most of critical resources and reduce all waste, ideally not producing it in the first place. The old adage ‘waste not want not’ has never been more relevant.
“The research shows that customers welcome action from business which encourages them to do the right thing. While the UK Industrial Strategy deadline of doubling our nation’s resource productivity and eliminating avoidable waste by 2050 is ambitious, our responsible business network can help accelerate progress and aim to achieve this by 2030. Businesses can start by finding out what their resource footprint is. Let’s tackle this critical problem together and lead the world in doing so.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, attending the Summit, said: “It’s becoming ever more visibly and painfully obvious that the world’s resources are finite. So we would mad to continue wasting them at the current rate. It’s increasingly clear that as consumers an overwhelming majority of us actually want to do something about it. But there is only so far individuals can go.
“It is up to businesses and government to rise to the challenge of creating a circular economy that values our precious resources, and gives consumers help, incentives and direction to play their part in tackling waste. BITC’s Waste to Wealth Summit sets bold targets to be achieved by 2030. It is critical that we embrace them and stick to them.”