The government must take resource risk seriously in order to create a sustainable manufacturing economy that is focused on the long-term, according to a new report by environmental thinktank the Green Alliance.
The report, titled Resource resilient UK, sets out what the government and businesses must do in order to effectively manage resource risk. It analyses the ways in which a circular economy can minimise risk, reduce waste and benefit consumers, the environment and businesses.
The Green Alliance says, “The UK needs to act now or risks falling behind.” It states that other countries have already begun implementing measures to secure resources to support their economic activities.
Dustin Benton, author of the report, said, “Our analysis shows that companies in the UK want and need to avoid resource security risks. There’s a lot that businesses can do on their own, but the government needs to help.”
He stressed the importance of reuse, recycling and remanufacturing within business.
“Manufacturers could recover components rather than just raw materials: the recovered components in an iPhone are worth over 200 times the value of the raw materials used to make them. These new supplies would also be less exposed to energy, water, and other material security risks.”
Responding to the report, Gareth Stace, head of climate and environment policy at EEF, a manufacturer’s organisation, said, “We now need a clear delivery plan on how we move this forward. This has to be kickstarted with a full debate with manufacturers, designers, local authorities and the waste management industry to establish the feasibility of these suggestions and identify any unforeseen impacts.”
Stace added that incentives for companies that embed values which support circular economy should be in place in order to encourage the kickstart.
The criticism over a lack of government intervention follows calls from the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and others for policymakers to rethink the decision to drop an environmental review, which was blocked by the Treasury in 2012.