Government 'must move beyond' carbon if UK is to remain competitive

Low-carbon industrial strategy must take wider resource efficiency into account according to leading business coalition the Aldersgate Group.

A report launched today (1 February) in joint meeting of the Aldersgate Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Environment Group at the House of Commons says the UK must adopt an industrial strategy which goes 'beyond carbon' to address critical resource efficiency challenges in all areas.

This is the conclusion of in-depth report by the Aldersgate Group, a coalition of companies, NGOs, professional bodies, MPs and others, who believe that high environmental standards are essential to long term economic growth.

The report - Beyond Carbon: Towards a Resource Efficient Future - states resource efficiency will be one of the key determinants of economic success and human well-being in the 21st century and describes what a resource efficient economy might look like and what policies would be required to enable the transition.

It welcomes the publication of the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, however, there is now a need to go 'beyond carbon' and adopt general resource efficiency principles through practices such as true resource pricing and life-cycle management.

It also states that while carbon may be the most immediate resource issue, it is not the only one.

Sir John Harman, former chairman of the Environment Agency and lead author of the report, said: "There is understandably a focus on carbon in policy making at the moment.

"However, there are equally pressing resource demands across many areas of the economy which need to be addressed, such as water resources against energy use, food production against biofuels, natural habitats against agricultural intensification and so on.

"All of these will require a strong policy response and each will need to be addressed sector by sector.

"We cannot rely on the market to act in time to anticipate constraints in natural resource stocks, we have to act in advance.

"The Low Carbon Industrial Strategy was an encouraging sign. for the first time, one of the economic ministries showed it wished to explicitly promote and shape Britain's transition to a low carbon future."

Luke Walsh


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