Goodwin, who was speaking at LRS Consultancy’s network meeting in London last week (September 29), said that agreements such as responsibility deals, outlined under the Government’s recent Waste Review, could “bring about change in a faster way” as they encouraged innovation and collaborative working.

“Companies like this approach … it allows them to come up with their own solutions, and this drives innovation. It also offers a commercially-safe environment in which companies can share information and ideas,” she told delegates.

WRAP co-ordinates a number of voluntary agreements such as as the Courtauld, Home Improvement Sector and Halving Waste to Landfill Commitments. Within each, targets are set for signatories to work towards, but Goodwin said that participating companies tend to set their own internal targets as well, which are often more ambitious.

She highlighted the construction Halving Waste to Landfill Commitment as almost being a victim of its own success – with some 700 signatories, WRAP has been overwhelmed with demand and has stopped taking new applications to join. “To date, £43bn worth of projects have been influenced by this commitment,” she added.

Goodwin said that while the Government views voluntary deals as “delivering government policy at low cost”, she warned that they would only work if there was a good business case for them, and cautioned against seeing them as a ‘magic bullet’.

She said: “You need board-level commitment, else it won’t happen. There is a risk of devaluing voluntary agreements by setting them up for everything. You do need legislation sometimes.”

Maxine Perella

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