Resource efficiency can play a pivotal role in economy
- Published on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 11:37
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Resource efficiency can play a pivotal role in delivering economic growth and environmental benefits to the UK , said WRAP chief executive Dr Liz Goodwin in a keynote speech today
Speaking at the WRAP conference in London, she told leaders from business, local authorities and policy makers that resource efficiency and security were critical to the UK's future economic competitiveness and resilience.
Opening a debate on the economic benefits of what is becoming known as the 'circular economy' she said : "Realising the full value of materials through resource management could drive sustainable growth, with a recent McKinsey report showing 30% of global demand for resources in 2030 could be met through improved management. Resulting global economic benefits could be as high as $3.7 trillion a year.
"In a recent survey 80% of CEOs of manufacturing companies said raw material shortage was a risk to their business. A 147% surge in real commodity prices since 2000, and the uncertainty being caused by historically high levels of price volatility are hampering investment and economic growth," she added.
"All the UK governments are clearly ambitious to see economic growth and regard resource efficiency as an important ingredient in delivering this. All this is at the very heart of WRAP thinking, as is the concept of the closed loop, or circular economy which, I firmly believe can contribute to stimulating economic growth. We're involved in discussions with all our government funders about these issues, and how we can support them in delivering their ambitious agendas.
"At WRAP, we have a unique role to play in delivering the resource efficiency agenda – our experience, skill and cross-sector perspective, along with our ability to act as a bridge between the public and private sectors all mean we can act as a catalyst and driver of change."
WRAP's work, said Dr Goodwin, had resulted in savings of £18 for every £1 spent, a substantial increase in the UK's reprocessing capacity of almost 50 million tonnes, and a reduction in material sent to landfill. It had also, she said, helped deliver £1b billion landfill tax savings for councils and businesses.
The conference and debate also featured keynote speeches from Defra Resource Management Minister, Lord de Mauley; Marks and Spencer; Head of Sustainable Business Mike Barry, and Green Alliance Director Matthew Spencer.
Lord de Mauley said: "I am delighted to be at the WRAP Annual Conference which is focusing on supporting growth, the economy and regeneration. Growth is this government's number one priority and the waste and recycling industry can play a major role in achieving that. By all working together, businesses, Local Authorities, Civil Society organisations, Government, and WRAP can help grow the economy and improve the environment at the same time."