EXCLUSIVE: UK must up its game as China races ahead on resource efficiency
The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has called on the Government to provide incentives to stimulate greater resource efficiency in the UK economy.
EIC director of policy & public affairs Michael Lunn told edie that ministers did not seem to be putting in the time nor the resources to move the UK towards a resource-efficient economy.
His comments this week (20 May) come after an EIC delegation returned from China where it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 13 May with the Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences, which reports to the Chinese Environmental Ministry. The MoU eases UK environmental firms' access to Chinese markets.
Lunn said that Beijing acknowledged the importance of delivering a circular economy and warned that it was "significant steps ahead" of the UK government, which was providing little incentive for businesses to benefit from greater resource efficiency.
"There are a number of Chinese provinces that are piloting schemes to measure resource flow through their economy," he said.
"It is a big issue and there are huge opportunities for saving money in the economy yet the UK government seems to neither put in the time nor the resources to close that out and get things moving. We need more to happen, more quickly."
The EIC, which has produced a resource efficiency paper that is regularly updated to reflect policy developments, would like the UK government to set mandatory performance indicators for resource efficiency.
Lunn said it was vital that Defra created some incentive programmes so that businesses could start to recognise the importance of resource efficiency and realise the savings that could be made.
In marked contrast, the Chinese he said were determined to stimulate green innovation and the green economy.
Lunn told edie that three EIC members have had the opportunity to present their environmental services and technologies to Chinese government stakeholders with a view to forging closer collaboration.
He added that the EIC was working closely with the Mayor's office to build on the MoU and was planning to take out a delegation to China in late 2013 to promote London and a wide range of proven technologies in the capital, including anaerobic digestion and plasma technology.
"The Chinese are very interested in all of these technologies and how they can lead to better efficiencies in Chinese cities," he said.