Defra plans resource security

13th April 2012


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Greater recycling of products, particularly waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and more efficient use of materials during production and design will be crucial to ensuring the UK's future economic growth, warns Defra

In its first resource security action plan (RSAP), the environment department argues that a failure by markets to accurately reflect the environmental costs of sourcing materials such as timber, palm oil, rare earth metals and minerals, has resulted in unsustainable business practices, and that organisations must take action to improve resource use.

Alongside more resource-efficient designs, improved recycling rates and the creation of sustainable alternatives, the RSAP states that the adoption of new business models incorporating greater stewardship of products is needed and proposes extending the Producer Responsibility Regulations to include WEEE.

Other actions outlined by Defra to help firms better understand the risks associated with particular raw materials include the creation of an online information hub on “insecure” resources.

IEMA, which contributed to the development of the RSAP, welcomed in particular recognition of the role environment professionals will play in businesses becoming more resource efficient.

“The plan provides the basis for action to turn the risks posed by resource security into opportunities for innovation and competitive advantage,” said director of policy Martin Baxter. “It recognises that such gains will only be achieved through a partnership approach which should include government, business and the skills of the environment profession.”

With the RSAP focusing on English policy, the devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are responsible for developing their own plans.

Defra’s Dr Stephen Bass presented an IEMA webinar on the RSAP which can now be accessed from IEMA's website.

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