The steering group of the UK Business Taskforce on Sustainable Consumption and Production convened on March 14 to establish the committee’s agenda.

The taskforce is made up of leaders from the business community but will operate under the joint auspices of Defra and the Dti.

It will look for practical ways for companies to minimise the negative impact of their products and services while remaining profitable and will feedback to Government with suggestions on how policy could help support these efforts.

Environment Minister Elliott Morley said the work of the taskforce would be vital to Defra’s foster more sustainable business in the UK while increasing efficiency and competitiveness.

“Moving to more sustainable consumption and production practices is one of the major challenges we face,” he said.

“We need a major shift to deliver new products and services with lower environmental impacts across the whole of their life, as well as new business models which meet this challenge while boosting competitiveness.

“I am therefore delighted that, at the joint invitation of Defra and Dti, four leading business-sustainability networks in the UK have come together to create this new Taskforce to help us achieve this.

“And I am especially pleased that Neil Carson, chief executive of Johnson Matthey Plc, has agreed to chair the taskforce steering group.”

The UK Government strategy for sustainable development Securing the Future was published in 2005.

In it the Government committed to creating a new Sustainable Consumption and Production Business Taskforce to develop ideas for practical action on key aspects of sustainable consumption and production.

Mr Carson said: “sustainable consumption and production is a significant challenge, but also a huge opportunity for UK business and consumers alike. We need to make changes to our economy that will enable us to continue to enjoy growth and to compete even more effectively globally, whilst making more efficient use of the resources that underlie our prosperity and success.

“The taskforce will address these challenges both strategically, and

in a way that translates into practical action for business.”

By Sam Bond

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