The Aldersgate Group members are drawn from business, trade unions, universities and non-governmental organisations and are former members of the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance. The group published a study entitled Commission Statement (3 June) and it warns that a more urgent, joined-up and systematic approach is required to ensure that the UK does not get left behind in the race to dominate the international green markets, particularly in light of a resurgent United States.
In order to create market opportunities and improve resource efficiency, the group has recommended that businesses should investigate the scope for cradle to cradle or closed-loop production, where recycled materials become the feedstock for new products.
The report states that Government recognises resource efficiency (managing materials to reduce waste) benefits but its overall framework is inadequate to drive the massive step change that would hugely benefit the economy during the recession.
The group recommend that resource efficiency should be aggressively pursued to save on waste costs for households and businesses.
The CEMEP was established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in November 2006 in light of the Stern Review on climate change. It was established to make detailed proposals to ensure that the UK is in the best possible position to seize the new opportunities of the low carbon economy.
Its recommendations were published in November 2007 and after it proposed the need for a longer-term, better-resourced system to advise business on resource efficiency. The Commission Statement study welcomes the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs creation of the one-stop shop for business and household advice by bringing together a range of organisations under the Waste & Resources Action Programme. But the study states that It is not yet clear what objectives the new body has been set and whether it will have additional funding.
The report welcomes the landfill tax escalator Budget announcement but acknowledges that businesses now struggling to fund the establishment of alternatives to landfill would still welcome longer-term certainty about the trajectory of landfill costs. It also recommends that the Government should accelerate its work to consider the role of landfill bans in ensuring that more waste, particularly non-household waste is recycled.
Member of the CEMEP Confederation of Business Industry director general Richard Lambert said: The US is now moving out of the slow lane and into top gear in the race against climate change. The UK must show a greater sense of urgency if it is to rise to the challenges and grasp the opportunities that lie ahead.