Lobby group calls for action on resource efficiency

Green business lobby the Aldersgate Group is calling for policy makers to take a closer look at resource efficiency, arguing that those economies that get ahead of the game in this area stand to profit in the long term.

While climate change and carbon are writ large on the political agenda, waste management and its cousin resource efficiency tend to come further down the pecking order.

The Aldersgate Group’s Beyond Carbon wilfully positions itself as something other than just another report on waste.

It looks at the issue of resource management from initial use of raw materials through to how we regard the leftovers from any given process – accessing the lifecycle of resources rather than simply targeting the waste disposal options.

Sir John Harman, who has swapped his chairmanship of the Environment Agency for that of the Aldersgate Group, said at the launch this week: “It’s increasingly evident that resource efficiency – by which we mean the systematic reduction in the quantity of resource employed to produce goods and services in the economy – will be one of the key determinants of economic success and human well-being in the 21st century.

“We think that the transition is inescapable and it’s merely its timing depth and pace we do not yet know.

“Regardless of the ethical concerns that there undoubtedly are around resource use, a prudent policy would promote prudent resource consumption.

Securing that advantage and moving in advance of the market is what the report is about, he said, and asks what a resource efficient economy would look like and how government policies could smooth the transition to such an economy.

“In each sector we looked at the way forward seemed to be a mix of pricing, regulation and consumer information,” said Harman.

“We have a number of themes we’d like to see taken much more seriously into economic management – we’ve seen this with low carbon.

“We hope it will provoke wide debate and challenge the parties about how they will approach economic and industrial policy, not necessarily environmental policy.”

See what he had to say about the report on the video below.

The report can be found online here.

Footage of other speakers at the launch including Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, eco-economist Prof Paul Ekins and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Environment Group Peter Ainsworth MP, can be seen here.

Sam Bond

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