From my former position as chief executive of WRAP I had watched Lwarb grow and develop, so it’s a great opportunity to be part of its continuing work.
I also love London: I went to university here and it will always feel special to me. It’s our capital city, one that is highly regarded around the world, and it has a mayor with real ambition to make London a leader in becoming a zero-carbon city and making the transition to a circular economy (CE).
Those ambitions are easy to speak about but much harder to deliver. They raise a lot of questions: what do we mean by a zero-carbon city? What will the infrastructure be like? How will people get around? How will they live and work in our ever-expanding capital?
These are all questions we need answers to, and it is Lwarb’s role to help deliver the mayor’s objectives and, in doing so, answer some of those questions.
In order to do that we need to build an understanding of what the priorities are and the critical steps we need to take to deliver against them – and this will require a hard focus on what will make the most difference.
We have some good plans to get us started – the CE route map and programme, the Advance London programme providing support to SMEs who want to become more circular, and the Resource London programme working with boroughs to raise recycling rates.
But we are not going to achieve enough by lots of incremental changes. We need some bold decisions and bold leadership – by the mayor, by London boroughs and by business leaders.
There are plenty of challenges to be tackled if we are to be successful, including overcoming some of the historic boundaries and blockers that can prevent progress.
More collaboration among stakeholders will help with this, particularly across boroughs, on issues such as sharing services and providing a more harmonised suite of waste services across London. I know there are good examples already but we need more. Let’s sort out the lack of consistency in recycling collections once and for all.
And we need innovation in business models. London is a great place to pilot things – service offerings, leasing ideas, ways to recover goods at the end of their life. London is also a pioneer city – it has a lot of people living in it who are receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things, which will help to make their lives easy while also being part of the move to a CE.
Liz Goodwin is Lwarb chair