IEMA is this afternoon publishing a paper setting out several recommendations for government in the development of a resource productivity target for England. In this short blog Adam Batchelor, IEMA’s policy lead on circular economy, looks at the key aspects of the paper.

The government published a series of environmental targets towards the back end of last week covering areas including air, water, biodiversity, and resource efficiency and waste reduction. This followed a consultation period that was held during the summer.

IEMA submitted a full response to the consultation.

Within the resource efficiency area, the government has separately committed to developing a specific target for resource productivity.

To support the development of this target in ways that contribute to a healthy economy, IEMA engaged its members through webinars and workshops to capture views and recommendations. From this process, IEMA has produced a policy recommendations paper.

For the government to create a robust resource productivity target, the paper recommends the following:

  • Instead of evaluating resource efficiency directly by calculation of the ratio of input to output, alternative methods focusing on entire and extended lifecycle of products, from resource extraction to end-of-life treatment, is essential.
  • The government should focus efforts on achieving decoupling of resource use from GDP and this should be consumption based, not solely production based, to keep us on track to meet the global climate and biodiversity challenges.
  • A resource productivity target should be underpinned with the principles of green growth to enable the transition to a low-carbon circular economy, the availability of sustainable materials and increasing resource efficiency and the well-being of the population.
  • The government explores alternative indicators that cover Pigouvian tax, Environmentally Adjusted Multifactor Productivity Coefficient and an Index of Product Resource Efficiency to improve resource security and reduce negative externalities for key materials or sectors.

IEMA expects that a way forward on a resource productivity target will be covered in the Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) that is scheduled to be published by the end of January 2023.

IEMA’s Circular Economy Steering Group and Network are well placed to support the government in developing an ambitious environmentally focused resource productivity target. We hope the above recommendations are considered and clear next steps are set out in the EIP.

The policy paper can be found here.

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Adam Batchelor

Policy and Engagement Lead

Adam is the Policy and Engagement lead for Circular Economy and Environmental Management at IEMA. Adam has 15 years of experience in the environment field, from local government waste and recycling, auditing contracts and implementing improvements into local services; to working for the Greater London Authority/Mayor of London for the last eight years. Adam has been responsible for co-developing and delivering the Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy (Waste and Circular Economy) and has led many circular programmes from plastic reduction in the capital to food waste reduction for small business. Adam joined IEMA in December 2021 and is responsible for leading the circular economy network and environmental management group.