New commission targets resource efficiency gains for business

A government-led authority has been set up to examine ways to deliver bottom line growth to business through creating new models of efficiency and resource management.

The 2020 Productivity & Efficiency Commission was launched this morning at the London headquarters of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and is seeking input from business leaders to take on a series of challenges.

These include building a longer term resilient business environment that will place the UK at a competitive advantage, while adapting to rising cost pressures and insecure access to materials and resources.

Waste reduction is a key priority as it is estimated that UK businesses are squandering £23bn through the misuse of raw materials, energy and water.

Badly designed products, energy system inefficiencies and over-engineered goods, services and standards are all thought to be major contributors towards this.

The Commission will seek to devise new metrics around waste reduction and investigate the potential of asset optimisation through the creation of strong secondary markets in raw materials and minerals.

Greater use of synthetic minerals and materials will be studied and a new risk analysis carried out on the basis that resource insecurity now presents a commercial risk to business.

A series of policy parameters will also be drawn up to push home the message that regulation needs to reflect true value of resources, with direct policies around demand reduction and optimisation of assets.

According to the Commission’s chair, Laura Sandys MP, while companies are looking at re-engineering business models around greater efficiencies, no major economy has undertaken any investigation to see how business and consumer margins can be increased on a wider societal level.

“We need to emerge from the global downturn with a new economic model that is designed to deal with the fast moving challenges of the 21st century,” she said.

“We cannot emerge from this downturn with an old economic model – we need to put competitiveness, productivity and resilience at the heart of our renewal.”

The first key output from the Commission will be a report due to be published in November which will include a range of policy recommendations.

Maxine Perella

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