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UK ‘could gain’ £77bn from resource efficiency

The UK could gain €88.4bn (£76.9bn) in gross value added by 2030 if it adopted more resource-efficient business models, research suggests.

A report by the Aldersgate Group, Amplifying action on resource efficiency, sets out a range of policy recommendations for the Government based on its findings from 26 business pilot projects in the UK and the Netherlands.

It has been published on the day the Government announced its industrial strategy

The report says these projects, carried out in sectors including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT, have delivered £4.89m in financial savings and reduced materials consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 62,619 and 1,953 tonnes, respectively.

The pilots taking part ranged from SMEs such as energy firm iPower to the Dutch ministry of defence, whose textile recovery programme for military personnel has delivered additional revenue of approximately €750,000 and a savings of more than 14,500 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Based on results from the pilot projects, the research finds that adopting resource-efficient business models across these sectors could deliver an increase of up to €324bn of GVA to the EU economy by 2030, €88.4bn in the UK alone.

The report, written for EU research project Rebus, recommends that the Government should develop standards that require products to be designed in a way that is resource efficient and includes other proposals including:

  • The development of resource efficiency government policy that is backed by all key departments across Whitehall and should feature in the upcoming industrial strategy
  • Policy should help to drive innovation on resource efficiency by helping businesses, especially SMEs, to have better access to finance and technical advice
  • Fiscal incentives to encourage the reuse of materials, such as variable VAT rates that favour resource-efficient goods and services
  • Regulations need to be improved to ensure that secondary materials with a safe, alternative use should not be classified as waste

Other recommendations in the report include public procurement practices that favour resource-saving goods and services and improving the availability of data on how businesses are becoming more resource efficient.

Executive director Nick Molho (pictured below) said: “As it prepares to leave the EU, the Government should urgently develop a resource efficiency policy that will help replicate the benefits of these pilot projects across the UK economy.

“This policy should be supported by all key Government departments, and should include fiscal incentives, product standards on resource efficiency that are as good as or better than what is in place in the EU and working with businesses to remove the financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of innovation.”

Director Steve Wallace said: “The pilots demonstrate that resource efficiency makes business sense and that there is a double-win given the environmental benefits that coincide with the financial gains.

“The report that we are launching today sets out the critical actions required to encourage and support more businesses to follow this path, leading to a more resource efficient and therefore more prosperous UK economy.”


Aldersgate group

Nick Molho eac

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