Creating an environment for growth
Only by being on another planet could you have avoided hearing about the economy in the last few weeks, and for good reason. Just as creating growth and jobs was a central theme during the General Election campaign, so too it is likely to be for the next five years and beyond.
We all want job creation, and a prosperous future, and I passionately believe that we are best placed to achieve this by creating an environment for growth and accelerating the move to a sustainable, resource-efficient economy.
Defra’s own figures show that the waste and resources sector, including repair, reuse and leasing activities, contributes £41 billion to the UK economy. These activities support over 670,000 jobs.
So let’s firmly put to bed any talk that helping the environment is at the expense of the economy. They are in fact ideal bedfellows.
WRAP’s forward plans will focus on creating an environment for growth, and to do this requires urgent and radical step change, which for some means making difficult decisions.
It means ripping up many tried and tested ways of doing things and instead reinvigorating and reimagining new paths to tread.
So, re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products, re-thinking how we use and consume products, and re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.
Next month, WRAP will outline its plans for the next five years, including the areas we will be working on with governments, businesses, charities, local authorities and consumers. The priority areas that will help protect our resources and create opportunities for economic growth.
We will continue to draw on our expertise in establishing the facts, getting the right people working collaboratively to agree common goals, then converting ideas into real action and delivering on the ground.
Action built on the foundations of evidence not ideology. It’s what we’re renowned for, it’s what our funders value us for, and this way of working won’t change.
Yet there are some things that will and have changed as we enter the new era. WRAP is now a charity, and as such will increasingly look for new ways of working, sources of funding and partnerships. We will also increase our international reach, exporting our world leading expertise.
Because only by tackling the challenges globally can we maximise the benefits to the UK.
It’s in all our interests to create an environment for growth. An environment which creates growth in jobs and the economy, but equally an environment that sustains the needs of future growth to populations.
So in a world where availability of resources goes down, but the population goes up, we have collective responsibility to change how we view, value and use resources, to meet the demands of future generations.
After all there is no plan B because there is no planet B to draw from.
So the time for change starts today, and it requires collective action.
Liz Goodwin is the chief executive of WRAP, which works with businesses, individuals and communities to achieve a circular economy through helping them reduce waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way.
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