The Environment Act 2021 requires the government to set at least one long-term target in four areas: air quality, biodiversity, water quality and waste.
These are to support delivery of other government priorities, including the Resources and Waste Strategy. IEMA submitted a response to the government’s consultation on the targets, which can be downloaded at bit.ly/DefraTargets
A resource productivity target will be set, and the government has proposed measuring this based on GDP-to-raw material consumption. This is an opportunity to support the circular economy.The government has recognised the challenges and has decided to set this target later to give it time to seek views through a focused consultation.
IEMA produced an engagement programme for exploring different mechanisms. Webinars were held with member speakers, who explored subjects from environmental economics to redefining productivity. We heard about the limitations of the GDP-based approach, the fact that considered decisions are needed for financial and non-financial benefits, and how economic and impact frameworks can reduce business risk and resource dependency. A workshop was held with case study presentations from more members and experts. This focused on examples and recommendations for policy levers required to deliver an alternative resource productivity target.
The outcome will be a policy recommendations paper to support the government’s development of the target, published this autumn.