Resource efficiency ‘central’ to Industrial Strategy

A group of senior waste industry and business leaders have called for resource efficiency to play a ‘central role’ in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The comments came from the RWM Ambassadors group in response to the government’s Building Our Industrial Strategy Green Paper, launched for consultation in January this year which outlined a number of priority areas that government has pinpointed for investment and policy development.

The government’s Industrial Strategy is intended to shape policy around infrastructure development and investment.

The strategy identified 10 ’pillars’ – areas to drive growth in investment in UK businesses:

RWM Ambassadors – which is tied in to the annual RWM exhibition and conference – include figures from across business, public sector, academia and community groups, and is chaired by Barry Dennis, former director general of the Environmental Services Association. The group has an expressed aim of shaping future resources and waste policy.

In an open letter to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) submitted during the consultation period for the Green Paper, the RWM ambassadors presented three recommendations to inform the future direction of the strategy.

These included placing an emphasis on resource efficiency which it said should be regarded as a “truly cross cutting priority through the whole strategy”. The group claimed currently, the government’s focus is on ‘labour productivity’ but that measures to shift businesses towards resource efficient design and processes would be important.

RWM Ambassadors have also called for ‘green procurement’ strategies across markets which would encourage “more reliance on renewable and secondary feedstock sources”. The group wrote: “Many of these measures are already being considered by devolved governments in the UK and are under discussion through the EU Circular Economy Package and our Ambassadors Group would be keen to explore the design and delivery potential of these types of approach.”

On new technologies and infrastructure, the group has suggested that government should consider “a new approach to planning” – capable of supporting ‘more circular’ resource flows.

Commenting on the proposals put forward by the group, Mr Dennis, said: “We hope through this submission to open a dialogue with the Industrial Strategy team for future input including highlighting the Industrial Strategy at our September 2017 event.

“The diverse group of leading industry figures that make up the RWM Ambassadors welcomes the opportunity to input into the Building Our Industrial Strategy Green Paper, and we recognise its importance and links to other policy initiatives. In fact, we see this as the most important current policy initiative from UK government.

Mr Dennis continued: “The 10-pillar approach is sound, but we call on the government to position resource efficiency as a key cross-pillar component. It must be recognised that the way we manage our valuable energy, water, materials and land resources is integral our productivity goals, and to driving our One Planet Living agenda. Resource productivity should be afforded the same priority under this strategy as labour productivity – without it, clean growth is unlikely.”

The open letter also invites the Minister and the Industrial Strategy team to attend the RWM event which will take place from the 12-14 September at the NEC in Birmingham.

References:

Building Our Industrial Strategy Green Paper

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