Seasons greetings as edie reflects on an eventful year

As 2012 draws to a close - and the world hasn't ended - edie looks back on what has been a mixed 12 months for the sustainability sector and asks what might be in store for our community in 2013.

On the resource management front, it really was the year that the birth of the circular economy took place. Over the past 12 months, the idea of moving from a linear to circular model has gained so much traction that it is now setting policy frameworks, not just at EU and UK level, but across the world.

Heading into next year, it is set to dominate the agenda even further as edie together with sister title LAWR magazine starts drumming up momentum on the Resource Revolution campaign launched to great acclaim earlier this month.

WRAP will be moving onto the next phase of its work in this area, studying in finer detail closed loops for certain waste streams like food and textiles, while the RSA’s Great Recovery project will be engaged in collaboration at the design end.

Such developments should bode well for business leaders like Marks & Spencer’s head of Plan A delivery Adam Elman who told edie he’d like to see the waste industry “working more closely with business to identify and deliver on opportunities for closed loop models”.

Likewise, Ben Peace, knowledge transfer manager for the UK Technology Strategy Board’s knowledge transfer network on environmental sustainability told edie that designing out waste should be key in 2013 through “more collaboration with designers and manufacturers of products”.

Also keep a close eye on the newly-established Circular Economy Taskforce, led by the Green Alliance. All these organisations will be feeding into our Resource Revolution campaign during the next 12 months.

On the energy front, the sector was plagued with dispute and uncertainty this year as the Government continued to delay regulatory announcements and squabbled over the direction of the UK’s energy output.

The renewables sector fought hard to ensure it was taken seriously as a future energy provider and with DECC this week releasing figures showing that power from renewables has risen from last year, the sector looks on course to make an even bigger impact in 2013.

What many observers want next year is more clarity and certainty from the Government around how the UK will generate and provide energy over the next 20, 30, or 50 years – no mean feat, but a necessity.

The Government’s dash-for-gas announcements have caused concern amongst those in the renewable sector as investors are still unable to look far in to the future when it comes to investing in technologies such as wind and solar.

On the bright side, it is the corporate sector that continues to drive sustainability as businesses of all sizes continue to get on board and set ambitious targets to reduce energy and resource consumption next year and many years ahead.

With clarity and a longer-term vision of how all of these environmental issues will be tackled, the UK could make a serious global impact, win the race to a sustainable future and potentially become a world leader.

And if that happens, we hope to be there with you all to pop some champers and celebrate. Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year.

The edie team

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