That was the message from Conservative MP John Gummer as he delivered one of the opening addresses at this year’s Sustainabilitylive! in Birmingham today.

The former Environment Secretary told delegates that the exhibition itself was already showcasing a wide range of ways that this can be achieved.

But he argued this needs to be backed up by the right policies and incentives from local and national governments, and the European Union.

“We do of course need a society in which it is easier to do the right thing than the wrong thing,” he said.

“This is one of the biggest problems of Government because Government should be setting an example for all of this but it doesn’t.

“Government has got to take the sort of measures that enable the public to see that it’s easy, and so does business.”

Some companies are already embracing this idea, Mr Gummer said, and cited the example of Walkers using carbon labels on packing – an idea which helped consumers make more informed choices and which helped Walkers identify ways to slash their own carbon footprint.

But other businesses are also developing technologies that could help to make everyday life become more environmentally friendly, he said.

“What we are trying to do in Sustainabilitylive! is show there are a whole range of technologies that we are going to be able to deliver as long as governments and the EU set policies that make it possible,” he said.

He added: “As you go round this exhibition here, I hope you will look out for all those things that will contribute to what we can do to become a low-carbon economy – an economy that uses less resources so that there’s more for our children.”

Kate Martin

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