The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has drawn up a Treasury briefing paper containing a series of recommendations that it believes the Chancellor should adopt to help boost the green economy.

These include setting commercial targets for resource efficiency, underpinned by a framework of indicators for each industrial sector. In the UK, it is estimated that the total value of potential resource efficiency savings to British businesses ranges between £23bn to £35bn per annum.

The EIC also wants ministers to drive greater resource security through the use of fiscal incentives such as a ‘virgin materials’ tax and reducing VAT on use of reused materials.

The Commission highlights the work of WRAP as being of particular importance and argues that this should be funded with the additional revenue generated through landfill tax increases. Despite WRAP reporting long-term business savings of £29.30 for every £1 spent, few companies are taking up the opportunity to improve resource efficiency.

The Government has yet to publish its much-anticipated resource security action plan, but the EIC is hopeful it will facilitate the implementation of a regulatory framework across the waste hierarchy to move towards a circular economy.

In particular, the Commission feels that more innovation is needed in the ways consumer goods are created, packaged and distributed if waste is to be significantly minimised.

Commenting on the briefing paper, EIC’s executive chairman Adrian Wilkes challenged Chancellor George Osborne to come up with “concrete action” in next week’s Budget.

“By truly pricing pollution into the cost of doing business, funds would be freed up to implement the fiscal policy recommendations set out in EIC’s report – with the upshot being a boon to the creation of green jobs, the UK’s export potential, and the Treasury’s coffers,” he said.

Maxine Perella

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