A new report from the Aldersgate Group out today, Beyond the Circular Economy Package, argues that EU institutions should continue to support the shift towards greater resource efficiency beyond the completion of the Circular Economy Package.
By introducing a range of new business case studies drawn from several sectors of the EU economy, the report shows that businesses and public organisations are investing significantly in resource efficiency but that the transition to a more circular and competitive economy will take time and requires long-term policy support.
This report will be launched at an event in Brussels on 14th December with keynote speaker Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness .
The new research  published by the Aldersgate Group includes a range of business trials and case studies across several sectors of the economy. Some of these include pilot projects carried out under the REBus project , which at the end of 2016 saw 28 resource efficiency business pilot projects deliver €5.62m in financial savings and a reduction of materials consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 62,619 tonnes and 1,953 tonnes, respectively.
These pilot projects have been carried out across a range of key market sectors (including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT) that are worth an estimated €350bn to the EU economy. Research carried out as part of the project found that adopting the resource efficiency business models tested by these business pilots across their respective economic sectors could increase the EU economy’s gross value added by up to €324bn by 2030 .
Whilst the resource productivity of the EU economy is improving overall , the report shows that businesses often face a number of barriers to taking greater action, ranging from regulatory obstacles and a lack of effective market signals to difficulties in obtaining finance or technical advice to drive innovation.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The Circular Economy Package is delivering welcomed progress on some of the barriers that are slowing down business action on resource efficiency. However, an economy-wide shift to much greater resource efficiency will take time. To invest in new business models, more resource efficient processes and new supply chains, businesses need the assurance that the resource efficiency agenda will remain a priority for the EU in the long term.”
Building on the progress that has been made to date by the Circular Economy Package, the report identifies six key areas of long-term policy action for the Commission and its co-legislators, including:
Pursuing work to include resource efficiency design criteria in product standards by delivering on the commitment to publish an updated Ecodesign Working Plan once a year and rapidly broadening the range of products subject to resource efficiency design criteria;
Promote business innovation on resource efficiency, through continued financial support for business trials and broadening the sectors that receive technical support through the Commission’s Innovation Deals;
Expand the use of circular economy criteria in the public procurement of a broadening range of products and encourage their application across EU Member States and EU institutions;
Encourage Member States to develop pricing mechanisms that support material re-use where it is environmentally effective to do so;
Ensure a consistent implementation of the Circular Economy Package in different Member States. This is especially important in terms of the improved definitions of “waste” currently being negotiated by all three EU institutions, which must ensure that materials are no longer classified as “waste” when they can be re-used safely.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The transformation towards more resource efficient business models is not a matter of choice but a necessity for retaining competitiveness. With the comprehensive Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Commission intended to address the key regulatory and financial challenges to facilitating this transition. But this is just the beginning. The move to a more resource efficient economy calls for an ambitious policy framework beyond the Circular Economy Package, which will require the active engagement of all stakeholders, from policymakers and businesses to consumers.”
Nicolas Beaumont, Senior VP Sustainable development and mobility, Michelin, said: “Resource efficiency is not a nice to have but a necessity. At Michelin, we design tyres with an aim to use resources sparingly. Ensuring they are not replaced before it is necessary, and maximizing their lifespan, in particular through retreading, makes economic, environmental and social sense. This is why we believe resource efficiency needs to remain at the top of the policy agenda and should be systematically taken into account when drafting regulation.”
Caroline Laurie, Head of Sustainability, Kingfisher Plc, said: “We know our customers want to get more from less, re-using and using longer, so the circular economy remains a key priority for Kingfisher but to accelerate activity, businesses require a more enabling policy environment that starts with the EU.”
Martin Casey, Director of Public Affairs and Communication, UK and EU Public Affairs, CEMEX said: “For CEMEX, using key circular economy principles is core to our business, ensuring that we are materially and energy efficient, whilst ensuring that we serve our customers and protect the environment for this and future generations. Having the right regulatory framework to maximise these opportunities is therefore vital.”
David Symons, UK Director of Sustainability, WSP said: “Europe uses resources at three times the sustainable rate today, so designing more efficient products, infrastructure and business models is critical for long term prosperity and productivity. Moving to a more circular economy needs to remain a priority for EU and national policy makers.”
 Beyond the Circular Economy Package: priorities for the EU. This event will be held from 8.30am-10.00am on 14th December, 2017 at Hogan Lovells International, 23 Rue de la Science, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. The event will feature keynote speaker Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. Chaired by Aldersgate Group Executive Director Nick Molho, panellists include Martin Casey, Director Public Affairs & Communications UK & Public Affairs EU, CEMEX, Caroline Laurie, Head of Sustainability, Kingfisher, Audrey Douspis, EU Affairs Manager, Michelin and Joan Prummel, Strategic Advisor, Circular Procurement, Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Ministry of Environment).
 The Aldersgate Group published today a new report, Beyond the Circular Economy Package: Maintaining momentum on resource efficiency.
 The Aldersgate Group is a partner on the REBus project, an EU LIFE+ funded project that aims to demonstrate how businesses and their supply chains can implement resource efficient business models. The project is led by WRAP and also includes Rijkswaterstaat, the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network, and The University of Northampton. Business trials are taking place in a range of key market sectors (including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT) that are worth an estimated €350bn to the EU economy.
 Under a transformational scenario with substantial progress in recycling and remanufacturing as well as major development of the reuse, servitisation and biorefining sectors, project partner WRAP estimates that replicating the resource efficiency business models tested by these pilot projects throughout their respective economic sectors would deliver an increase in gross value added to the EU economy of up to €324bn by 2030.
 Between 2000 and 2016, the EU-28’s resource productivity went from €1.47/kg to €2.07/kg, an increase of 41%: http://bit.ly/2hOBTHG
A new report from the Aldersgate Group out today, Amplifying action on resource efficiency, brings forward new business trials showing that greater resource efficiency could deliver significant economic benefits to the UK. To reap these rewards, the UK must outline the future of its resource efficiency policy, much of which currently comes from EU legislation.
The new research published by the Aldersgate Group on behalf of the REBus project is based on the successful delivery of 26 business pilots that have delivered £4.89m in financial savings and reduced materials consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 62,619 tonnes and 1,953 tonnes, respectively. The work has been conducted across the UK and the Netherlands in a range of key market sectors (including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT) that are worth an estimated €350bn to the EU economy.
Based on the results from the pilot projects, the research also finds that adopting resource efficient business models across these key sectors of the EU economy could deliver an increase of up to €324bn of gross value added (GVA) by 2030 to the EU economy. Of this, the UK alone could see up to €88.4bn (approx. £76.9bn) in GVA gains.
The report features learnings from these business pilots as well as several case studies from Aldersgate Group members, including IKEA UK, Sky and Thames Water. The pilots taking part range from small SMEs such as iPower (whose installation of small scale fuel cells in social housing is estimated to save consumers up to 36% on their energy bills, whilst mitigating 3-4 tonnes of CO2 annually) to the Dutch Ministry of Defence (whose textile recovery programme for its military personnel has delivered additional revenue of approximately €750,000 and a savings of over 14,500 tonnes of CO2 annually).
As the UK prepares to leave the EU, the report sets out a range of key policy recommendations for the UK government based on the learnings from these business pilots:
1. Improving the resource efficiency of the UK economy requires the development of government policy that is backed by all key departments across Whitehall and should feature in the upcoming industrial strategy.
2. The government should develop standards that require products sold in the UK to be designed in a way that is resource efficient in order to minimise waste and ensure consumers benefit from better quality products that last as long they expect them to. These standards should be as good as or better than what will be put in place under the EU Circular Economy Package to avoid putting British businesses and consumers at a disadvantage.
3. Government policy should help drive innovation on resource efficiency by helping businesses, especially SMEs, have better access to finance and technical advice.
4. The UK should build on the success of its landfill tax and promote other fiscal incentives to encourage the re-use of materials, such as through variable VAT rates that favour resource efficient goods and services over their counterparts.
5. Waste regulations need to be improved to ensure that secondary materials are not classified as ‘waste’, as long as a safe, alternative use can be found for them.
Other recommendations in the report include leading by example through public procurement practices that favour resource saving goods and services and improving the availability of data on how businesses are becoming more resource efficient.
Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The businesses involved in Rebus have demonstrated that resource efficiency can lead to commercial success. Theirs is an example that others can follow. The pilots demonstrate that resource efficiency makes business sense and that there’s a double-win given the environmental benefits that coincide with the financial gains. The report that we are launching today sets out the critical actions required to encourage and support more businesses to follow this path, leading to a more resource efficient and therefore more prosperous UK economy.”
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “As it prepares to leave the EU, the government should urgently develop a resource efficiency policy that will help replicate the benefits of these pilot projects across the UK economy. This policy should be supported by all key government departments and should include fiscal incentives, product standards on resource efficiency that are as good as or better than what is in place in the EU and working with businesses to remove the financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of innovation."
A new report from the Aldersgate Group out today, Amplifying action on resource efficiency, brings forward new business trials showing that greater resource efficiency could deliver significant economic benefits to EU businesses. By encouraging resource efficient design and tackling key barriers such as access to finance, the Circular Economy Package could significantly improve the resilience and competitiveness of the EU economy.
The new research published by the Aldersgate Group on behalf of the REBus project is based on the successful delivery of 26 business pilots that have delivered €5.62m in financial savings and reduced materials consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 62,619 tonnes and 1,953 tonnes, respectively. The work has been conducted across the UK and the Netherlands in a range of key market sectors (including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT) that are worth an estimated €350bn to the EU economy.
Based on the results from the pilot projects, the research also finds that adopting resource efficient business models across these key sectors of the EU economy could deliver:
The report features learnings from these business pilots as well as several case studies from Aldersgate Group corporate members, including IKEA UK and Sky. The pilots taking part range from small SMEs such as iPower (whose installation of small scale fuel cells in social housing is estimated to save consumers up to 36% on their energy bills, whilst mitigating 3-4 tonnes of CO2 annually) to the Dutch Ministry of Defence (whose textile recovery programme for its military personnel has delivered additional revenue of approximately €750,000 and a savings of over 14,500 tonnes of CO2 annually).
The report also sets out a range of policy recommendations for the EU Circular Economy Package based on the learnings from these business pilots:
Other recommendations in the report include EU public institutions leading by example through public procurement practices that favour resource saving goods and services, finalising the changes to the definition of ‘waste’ to incentivise the re-use of materials and improving the availability of data on how businesses are becoming more resource efficient.
Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The businesses involved in Rebus have demonstrated that resource efficiency can lead to commercial success. Theirs is an example that others can follow. The pilots demonstrate that resource efficiency makes business sense and that there’s a double-win given the environmental benefits that coincide with the financial gains. The report that we are launching today sets out the critical actions required to encourage and support more businesses to follow this path, leading to a more resource efficient and therefore more prosperous European economy.”
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The Circular Economy Package is a great opportunity to scale up the benefits of these pilot projects across the EU. By requiring more resource efficient product design, working with businesses to remove the financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of innovation and encouraging the use of fiscal incentives, the Circular Economy Package could significantly improve the resource efficiency, competitiveness and resilience of the EU economy.”
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "The Circular Economy is an important element to modernise the European economy. If we want to transform the market economy in a more sustainable direction, we must show there is a business case behind the circular way of thinking. To make it happen the Commission's and co-legislators' task is to set the appropriate framework. However, it is eventually companies that bring a more circular and sustainable economy into reality. The REBus project presents valuable evidence that being circular is profitable. At the same time it provides ideas on how to change the regulatory environment to help business get engaged in this transition."
In a new report published today, the Aldersgate Group called on the next Government to make significant fiscal and regulatory reforms to help UK businesses be more resource efficient and boost the UK’s economic competitiveness.
UK-based businesses are facing competitive threats posed by overseas competitors and increasing volatility in the prices of raw materials. To survive and thrive, some businesses are now moving away from the traditional economic model of ‘take-make-use-dispose’ and moving towards more “circular” processes that allow them to re-use materials. But as the Aldersgate Group points out today, this is happening despite several regulatory and tax barriers that are hampering businesses’ ability to be more resource efficient.
A new report by the Aldersgate Group, Resource Efficient Business Models: the roadmap to resilience and prosperity, published today, sets out the initial findings of an EU LIFE+ funded project, REBus. This three-year project, of which the Aldersgate Group is a key a partner, will support 30 pilot schemes to test how businesses can achieve a 30% reduction in resource consumption by 2020. Pilots are being run by large organisations and SMEs, all receiving technical expertise and support.
Steve Wallace, an Aldersgate Group Director who leads their REBus project work said: "To secure long term prosperity our nation must be resource efficient. A growing number of forward thinking companies are adopting resource efficient business models and, through our involvement in the EU LIFE+ funded project REBus, we are supporting more to do the same."
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, added: “To make a real difference, a more coordinated approach supported by a better regulation agenda is needed to make resource efficiency the easiest and most financially rewarding choice for businesses. The report that we are launching today sets out the critical actions required to accelerate the transition to a more resource efficient and therefore more prosperous economy."
See the full report here.
The Aldersgate Group has welcomed the latest report by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) demanding more government support in the transition towards the circular economy which to date "lacks ambition and leadership". The report makes a series of policy and fiscal recommendations including the establishment of an Office for Resource Management, ban on food waste going to landfill, and the removal of trade barriers for remanufactured goods.
Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The EAC's call to end the 'throwaway society' rightly recognises the finite nature of resources. Progressive businesses have identified this challenge and are responding to it, but much more can and should be done at a national level to facilitate the transition. Countries that proactively manage the change will have the economic advantage in the future. Those that follow a business as usual strategy will fall behind".
The AG is a partner, with WRAP, in project REBus. The project delivers the technical support business requires to implement the models needed for such a transition and illustrates the financial benefits of doing so.
The Aldersgate Group have welcomed an announcement by Shadow Environment Minister Barry Gardiner that, if elected, Labour would undertake a ‘Stern Review' of resource security in a bid to better identify the escalating resource supply risks the country faces. Last year, the AG published a Business Statement strongly supporting Government Chief Economists' proposal to commission a robust and independent review into the impacts of resource security and climate change on UK growth.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Resource insecurity is already having a tangible impact on growth and the Government must play its part to understand and safeguard future prosperity. Labour's commitment to a resource security review will be widely supported by the business community but cross-party consensus is essential to take this forward effectively."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, has urged the political parties to make an enhanced industrial strategy a priority in the election manifestos. This forms part of a new series by Green Alliance of leading thinkers, from politics, business and green groups, to set out their one big manifesto idea for the next parliament.
Mr Raingold writes: "The government have made huge strides forward with the current industrial strategy, working in partnership with industry to deliver long term economic goals... This must be built on by the next government by addressing major, long term challenges and setting greater overall strategic direction."
Speaking at Resource Event, the first major conference for circular economy, Aldersgate Group Director Steve Wallace asserted that it’s time to act to move businesses towards circularity.
Wallace, addressing the drivers for such a shift, said: “The linear economy was designed for a world with much less people and much less demand for resources. It is clear that this isn’t the case now. We need to change to a circular economy and one of the barriers to change is pure inertia built into current systems. The REBus project is a collaboration with WRAP as our lead partner. It is an opportunity to get out of the theory and into the practice and find what really works.
“There’s been much effort in the recent decades building deliberate obsolescence into our systems. We need to move away from that."
Speaking at the joint Government-CBI Industrial Strategy Conference at Warwick University, Aldersgate Group Chairman, Peter Young, set out how the Industrial Strategy must strengthen and develop UK-based supply chains so that more value is captured domestically.
On a panel with BIS Minister Michael Fallon, he said: "We must take the opportunity to re-invent the supply chains of both traditional and new sectors to drive growth which is decoupled from the negative externalities of past industrial revolutions. Businesses which are energy efficient and operate with low virgin resource intensity will thrive in a resource-constrained world and have a competitive edge on those that do not."
"Government must maintain a commitment long term to the various industrial strategies underpinned by clear and smooth delivery; as for example in energy policy to give business the clarity and timing to invest in future low carbon markets. The sector approach can allow both government and business to develop solutions in emerging markets with a mix of policy, investment and co-ordinated procurement to create UK supply chains which can boost jobs, productivity and exports."
The Aldersgate Group is collaborating with Anglia Ruskin University in a new project to map the world’s resources. This will investigate the effect of resource constraints on short-term GDP and seek to provide clear information to policymakers on a range of scenarios in order to close the time-lag between the short-term agenda of governments and the long-term vision of current resource models.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The Aldersgate Group are delighted to partner with Anglia Ruskin University to gain a greater insight into the current interaction between resources and the economy. The scarcity and security of key resources are a material risk for many of our business members and country specific analysis will be vital for prudent policy making in a rapidly changing world."
The Aldersgate Group has published a Business Statement strongly supporting Government Chief Economists' proposal to commission a robust and independent review into the impacts of resource security and climate change on UK growth.
The statement recognises that resource insecurity, in many cases exacerbated by climate change, is already having a tangible impact on growth. These challenges cannot be tackled by business alone. It is essential that Government plays its part to understand and safeguard future prosperity.
The Aldersgate Group has written to the DECC Chief Economist, Steven Fries, enclosing the Business Statement and expressing signatories' support for the review. The Group has also co-signed a letter to the Treasury Select Committee, calling for an inquiry into the delay of the proposed review.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group said: "It is vital that the UK responds to global recognition of the direct impact on growth and economic activity of resource constraints, greenhouse gas emissions and water insecurity. This is timely, urgent and essential to steer a future growth path which avoids loss of jobs, assets and competitiveness through neglect of future resource constraints and foreseeable price shocks."
The Aldersgate Group (AG) have welcomed a new report by the RSA on the first six months of the Great Recovery project which investigates the role of design in the circular economy. As part of the project, the AG hosted a tear down workshop at the RSA with leading businesses to observe, debate, tear apart, re-build and co-create a wide variety of products.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the AG, said: "we welcome this report's emphasis on developing skills, facilitating collaboration and pushing policy. The businesses who joined us to tear down consumer products into their individual components were clear that design lies at the heart of new business models that eliminate waste. We look forward to continuing to work with leading businesses to explore innovative briefs that incorporate resource efficiency and closed loop principles at the outset."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that businesses increasingly recognise that they have to act decisively to prevent an impending resource crunch.
Chairing the Resource Scarcity and The Circular Economy Conference for Sustainable Business Magazine, he said "We have heard from our speakers today that the resource crunch is not just a major risk for businesses, but also can be a net creator of jobs and growth. The fact that 43% of businesses recognise that they have to revise their product and service offerings, as demonstrated by the presentation by Tom Delay from the Carbon Trust, shows that corporate leaders are slowly waking up to this issue."
"The speakers today have also emphasised the need for collaboration and partnerships. The resource revolution challenge requires system level change and can rarely by addressed effectively by actors in isolation. That includes a strong and proactive role for Government."
The Aldersgate Group has written to the Financial Times following revelations that the Treasury has blocked a review on resource depletion, climate change and growth that had the support across Whitehall departments.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "By blocking this review, the Treasury is damaging future growth prospects. Rising and volatile commodity prices are having a material impact on business. An independent analysis on how these major trends effect UK competitiveness is widely supported by business leaders and across Government departments. The Chancellor must address resource risks urgently to build a more resilient economy that exports the solutions to global challenges."
In an article published by CIWM Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that the circular economy provides a number of economic benefits as global resources become more scarce. He says that "a small number of companies at the vanguard of applying circular economy thinking are already demonstrating that it is a real value proposition" and that the Aldersgate Group were seeking to ensure this is scaled up.
The transition to a circular economy presents opportunities for growth and competitive advantage in a resource constrained world. In a new report, Resilience in the Round, the Aldersgate Group (AG) sets out challenges, opportunities, enablers, barriers and timescales, as well as outlining next steps that the AG will develop with stakeholders.
The AG has collaborated with the Big Picture on a multimedia platform to introduce the circular economy.
The Government's Resource Security Action Plan, published today, cites the Aldersgate Group's Beyond Carbon report as evidence for the need for a targeted resource strategy, and answers our call to develop a dashboard to raise awareness and help companies understand the risk and issues associated with the security of materials.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The era of plentiful and cheaper resources is over. Our business members are facing rising costs for essential raw materials and minerals, while constraints on their availability and price volatility are having a damaging effect on the economy.
That is why the Aldersgate Group has been calling for a strategy which goes beyond carbon to address critical resource efficiency challenges in all areas of the economy, to remain competitive in global markets, both now and in the future. The Government's action plan is a welcome first step to ensure that growth isn't damaged by potential supply uncertainty and the UK gains competitive advantage from increased resilience."
For Guardian coverage, click here.
A new Aldersgate Group report, Building Britain, suggests that progress has been made by Government in shaping the regulatory and fiscal framework for sustainable buildings in the UK. However, the industry's prospects of delivering on carbon reduction targets whilst remaining competitive is still somewhat hampered by a lack of clarity, consistency and effective enforcement.
Jon Lovell, Director of Sustainability at Drivers Jonas Deloitte, who authored the report, said: "With the rising cost of energy having such a clear impact on the bottom line of business, and on the health and well being of a growing proportion of society, the government must re-double its efforts in pushing forward with a joined-up programme of effective and proportionate regulation, particularly on the efficiency agenda."
See coverage in the Guardian here.
The Aldersgate Group and UK Green Building council have urged the Education Secretary not to scrap BREEAM requirement for new schools. In a joint letter to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, they argue that the cost of a school achieving an "excellent" BREEAM standard would be far outweighed by the resulting saving on energy bills.
For more information, see the Guardian coverage here.
A technical paper on the economic benefits of resource efficiency by Aldersgate Group (AG) Directors Andrew Raingold, Sir John Harman and Ian Dickie has been published in the international journal "Proceedings of ICE - Waste and Resource Management". Permission has been kindly granted to print one copy of the article for personal use by AG stakeholders. Any other use of the PDF file is subject to reprint fees.