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Staying positive

Leadership, investment, infrastructure and communities are key issues being explored at this year’s Communications Hub, writes John Twitchen, executive director at Copper Consultancy

Delivered by Copper Consultancy in partnership with SLR Consulting and the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG), the Hub will be taking a detailed look at ‘positive communications’.

Day one has a focus on leadership with the theatre programme being kicked off with a seminar on skills. Reflecting on the APSRG’s recent ‘Sustainable Skills’ report, this discussion will examine the skills needed to support the resource management industry going forward.

Leadership is often cited by many as the missing link between a successful project or programme, and abject failure. Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent at The Guardian, will chair the early afternoon panel debate, ‘Leading from the front: good choices, hard politics’. Focusing on the sticky issues faced by many in political positions and government bodies, the panel will include Charlie Devine, head of resource management, Zero Waste Scotland, Andy Rees, head of waste strategy branch, Welsh Government and Paul Vanston, manager, Kent Resource Partnership.

Day two sees a focus on Investment. The ‘perfect pitching’ seminar sees entrepreneurs pitch their innovative resource management ideas to a panel of leading industry experts and investors. 

The afternoon debate focuses on infrastructure: “how much is enough?” John Twitchen, executive director of Copper Consultancy will be joined by Alban Forster, director, SLR Consulting; Anthony Oliver, editor, New Civil Engineer; John Kjorstad, editor, Infrastructure Journal and Adrian Judge, managing director of waste and bioenergy at Green Investment Bank.

This session tackles the proverbial elephant in the room – at a time when half of mechanical biological treatment (MBT) outputs are being landfilled, over a million tonnes of RDF/SRF material is being exported, only 50% recycled and 45 million tonnes is still landfilled, have we really got enough treatment and recovery infrastructure in the pipeline? The session will also tackle the emerging postcode lottery for businesses – those who have access to alternatives to landfill, and those who don’t. 

Communities will be at the heart of the seminar schedule on day three. Social media, one of the most popular topics in the Communications Hub in previous years, will be covered by Steve Bustin, founder of Vada Media and Copper associate. The morning session will cover social media before Bustin returns at the end of the day to take a humorous look at what not to do.

Day three also sees the Communications Hub showcase ‘Innovative engagement techniques’ with Graham Simmonds, managing director and co-founder of Green Rewards, among others, looking at innovative engagement techniques. The panel debate session ‘Reaching out to the yesses’ at 1pm will look at how to best reach those in favour of change and development rather than the Naysayers and NIMBYS.

Reaching the silent majority is a key priority for Copper and its clients. Research by Copper shows that, when confronted by a sensible proposition, a majority of people will respond positively. Many are hard to reach, through being time-poor or less motivated to engage through traditional channels. But obviously, the really big issue facing the sector is the push for higher recycling rates and waste prevention. 

Copper Consultancy is the new name for Sauce Consultancy and 3G Communications following last year’s merger.

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