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Businesses call for action on waste and resources

Political failure to act on resource efficiency and waste is undermining competitiveness and attempts to tackle climate change, according to a trade body.

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), which represents environmental technology and services companies including Veolia, Biffa and Viridor, has published a new report outlining what it says must be done to tackle the “ever increasing amount of waste Britain is generating”.

Adrian Wilkes, chairman of EIC said ministers had failed to take action on resource efficiency which was “undermining policies aimed at tackling key environmental challenges such as climate change, whilst damaging the UK’s international competitiveness in a world facing rising prices for all raw materials”.

The report, Driving Resource Efficiency for a Competitive Britain, calls on the Government to implement new “resource efficiency” policies. Its recommendations include:

  • Putting in place a framework of indicators and benchmarks on resource efficiency for each industrial sector.
  • Requiring the Environment Agency to put a high priority on resource efficiency under the Industrial Emissions Directive and to publish a regular report on the resource efficiency gains achieved.
  • Requiring reporting on environmental issues, including resource efficiency, in the Operating and Financial Review, building on the recently-announced requirement for carbon reporting.
  • Making a clear commitment to sustainable public procurement, with clear, long-term targets for improving energy and resource efficiency in all Government procurement, and requiring that all future public private partnership / projects must meet high resource efficiency standards.

Jonathan Davies, chairman of EIC’s resource efficiency and waste management group, said: “The government is currently pursuing a number of individual initiatives in resource efficiency and security, low carbon, green and circular economies, but spread across different departments and directorates within those departments.

“We need to see strong co-ordinated leadership for close working between these activities so that they focus on agreed overall objectives and integrate their approaches to them.”

Read the report [pdf].

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