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May urged to commit to sustainable goals

Prime minister Theresa May has been urged to demonstrate a commitment to delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A letter signed by 80 organisations, including Unilever, Dong Energy and the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), was sent to May on 16 January ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

It calls for the Government to:

  • Demonstrate to business its commitment to deliver the SDGs in the UK
  • Work with businesses to deliver the SDGs, creating a transparent reporting framework and clear benchmarks
  • Require all departments, not only the Department for International Development, to work with business and other stakeholders to develop an SDG delivery plan

The letter coincided with the Business and Sustainable Development Commission’s publication of its own report on the business case for achieving sustainable growth, including the benefits of reduced food and packaging waste.

ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “Sustainable development will create jobs and increase our competitiveness but, above all, secure the sustainability of our planet on which we and future generations depend.

“Anaerobic digestion has a key role to play in helping to meet the SDGs through increasing our energy and food security, reducing carbon emissions, managing wastes and improving our health both in the UK and abroad.”

Earlier in the month, Morton called on Defra to roll out separate food waste collections in England after the latest figures from WRAP showed a year-on-year increase in food waste generated by households.

The latest figures for household food waste in the UK in 2015 stood at 7.3 million tonnes, up 4.4% over 2012, the baseline year. The amount of ‘avoidable’ food waste increased 5.1% to 4.4 million tonnes.

In response, Morton said: “These figures show that efforts to date to reduce household food waste have had limited effect and not gone far enough. Not only is edible food being thrown away rather than eaten but, in many areas of England, this wasted food is not even collected separately by local authorities. Instead it is being sent to rot in landfill with disastrous consequences for carbon emissions.

“We are calling on Defra to properly enforce the waste hierarchy and follow the examples of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland by rolling out long-overdue separate food waste collections in England.

”This would make householders and businesses more aware of the amount of food they are wasting, the most effective way of reducing the amount of food waste generated in the first place, reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill and incineration, and allow more food waste to be recycled through AD into valuable green gas and biofertiliser.”

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