Policymakers and business leaders need to recognise that resource efficiency makes both business and environmental sense, and will be key to the UK's future economy, says a new report from the CBI.
Launching the report, Made to last – creating a resource efficient economy, at a joint CBI and Green Alliance conference on resource security, Neil Bentley, deputy director-general of the employers’ organisation, said: “There’s a business case for acting, and a threat to our growth prospects if we don’t.”
Bentley criticised the existing response of UK policymakers, saying that too many different government departments at too many different levels are coming up with their own ways of dealing with the problem of resource efficiency.
Speaking at the same event, business secretary Vince Cable called on industry to take the lead by closing the loop, so that resources are used again and again. Cable’s call was echoed by EU environment commissioner, Janez Potočnik, who said that design and finance will be key to creating a “circular” economy in Europe.
“If every company could afford to carry out a proper life-cycle costing of its operations and products, and consumers were properly informed, then waste could be prevented, products recycled and reused,” he said.
“Some seem to find it fashionable to claim that protecting nature goes against growth, and that it is too expensive in an economic crisis. My response is this – tell that to people and businesses who have been ruined by floods because of planning decisions taken without assessing environmental impacts!”