Britain needs resource efficiency strategy, environmental think tank says

29th September 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Products ,
  • Natural resources ,
  • Waste ,
  • Ecodesign

Author

David Eynon

Britain is more exposed than other countries to fluctuations in resource prices and needs to take resource efficiency more seriously, according to the Green Alliance.

In a report published today, the think tank points out that other countries including China, the US, Germany, Korea and France have all developed resource risk mitigation plans or have integrated resource risks into their industrial strategies.

The UK, meanwhile, has no nationwide vision or programme to drive resource efficiency and there is very limited understanding of the UK’s exposure to resource shocks, the report states.

This is the despite the significant impact that price rises have had on the UK’s economy and cost of living, the Green Alliance warns. It reports that between 2003 and 2013 world fuel prices increased four fold, metal prices trebled and food prices roughly doubled.

Half the letters written by the governor of the Bank of England since 2003 cited imported price shocks as the primary cause of UK inflation, the think tank points out.

The government must take resource efficiency more seriously and create a commission on resource responsibility to actively monitor resource risks, identify where the UK is vulnerable and outline the options available to address the risks, it recommends.

Other recommendations in the report include improving regulation, such as the EU directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to ensure reuse is promoted over recycling, and encouraging remanufacturing through public procurement decisions.

Conservative MP for Richmond, Zac Goldsmith, who is an adviser to the alliance’s green conservatism project, said: “With the cost of resources sky rocketing in recent years, and no sign that trends will or can be reversed, there is no responsible alternative to becoming more efficient with the resources we use.

“This will be a defining challenge, and those companies and nations that fail to meet it will be left at a huge disadvantage.”

The report mirrors those outlined in a report by manufacturers’ organisation EEF in July. Senior climate and environment advisor at EEF Susanne Baker said: "While there is some interesting research under way in the UK, on the whole the government's approach to resource efficiency is patchy and uncoordinated.

"In comparison, countries like China, Japan, Germany, the USA and South Korea have recognised that the use of resources is a competitive issue and a potential threat to manufacturing and energy production and are taking substantive steps to enhance resource productivity and diversify supply.

"Unless we take greater heed of our resource vulnerabilities we risk undermining UK competitiveness," she said.


Transform articles

National climate plans could see fossil fuel demand peak by 2025

Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all national net-zero pledges are implemented in full and on time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.

15th October 2021

Read more

The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

Half of the world's 40 largest listed oil and gas companies will have to slash their production by at least 50% by the 2030s to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, new analysis has found.

9th September 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert