Two leading organisations in the waste sector have called for greater emphasis on resources as the Government develops its industrial strategy.
In its response to the consultation on the Green Paper, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) pointed out that sustainable economic growth was not just about labour productivity.
The Resource Association (RA), meanwhile, expressed disappointment at the limited references to resource efficiency and the circular economy (CE).
CIWM chief executive Colin Church said: “The availability of resources – raw materials, water, energy, land use – will also be critical to UK industrial competitiveness and resilience, and must be a cross-cutting priority in the industrial strategy.”
The Government’s Resource Security Action Plan from 2012 had noted that increasing competition for resources was already having an impact on UK businesses, he added, with 29% of profit warnings issued by major companies in 2011 attributed to rising resource prices.
“Policy-making in this space must also be co-ordinated. The reliance placed by the Green Paper on Defra’s highly anticipated 25-year environment plan framework, which ministers as recently as last week were promising for the current Parliament, coupled with the news of a general election in June, should provide the necessary impetus for this important document to be published as soon as possible,” said Church.
The CIWM said the resource and waste management industry provided more than 100,000 jobs, delivered almost £7bn Gross Value Added to the economy, and offered greater resource productivity and efficiency through sustainable waste practices and the supply of quality secondary raw materials and feedstocks.
A resource-efficient, low-carbon economy would also require a renewed focus on ‘green skills’.
The RA welcomed the Government’s approach to creating an industrial strategy, and agreed with much in the Green Paper.
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But chief executive Ray Georgeson (pictured) said: “We were disappointed that there was only modest reference to the value of the resources sector, and have urged the Government to see us as a critical foundation sector for the future growth of the UK economy.
“We stand ready to work with the Government and colleagues in the resources sector to collaborate and develop the partnerships needed to make a resource-efficient CE a reality.”
The association’s submission called for the CE to be considered as a pillar [theme] of the industrial strategy in its own right, with a strong focus on quality in the use of materials and resources, ensuring that quality feedstock for recyclers and reprocessors was at the heart of a resource-efficient economy.