In a new report out today , the Aldersgate Group calls on the Government to accelerate progress on resource efficiency to secure major benefits in terms of emission savings, reduced environmental impacts, job creation and economic resilience. Although government strategies have built a positive overarching vision for resource efficiency, policy commitments in this area have lacked ambition, pace and detail, and appear to have received limited buy-in from other government departments beyond the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The Group argues that government must improve collaboration across departments to achieve further progress, accelerate the implementation of policies that improve how products, industrial materials and infrastructure are designed, and introduce measures to reduce consumption in the first place, such as through citizen engagement campaigns and incentivising service-based business models.
Driving greater resource efficiency across the economy would deliver significant economic and environmental benefits, with research suggesting that such action would deliver 80% of the additional emission savings required to deliver the UK’s Fifth Carbon Budget with a net gain in Gross Value Added of £9.1bn by 2030. 
However, the Aldersgate Group’s extensive engagement with businesses, professional institutes and civil society organisations shows that England’s policy on resources and waste has to date been too piecemeal and subject to repeated delays. Whilst the UK Government outlined a positive policy ambition in its 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy for England, insufficient progress has been delivered since, with the recent Waste Prevention Programme restating many pre-existing policy commitments.
In its new report out today, Closing the Loop: Time to crack on with resource efficiency, the Aldersgate Group calls for much greater urgency, stronger cross-government collaboration, and a more systemic approach to improve resource efficiency across the economy. The report sets out priority areas where the development and implementation of existing policy proposals needs to be accelerated, highlights policy gaps where new proposals are needed, and makes specific policy recommendations to improve resource efficiency across the construction and automotive industries, two resource intensive sectors.
Key recommendations for the future of England’s resources and waste policy include:
The report also calls for a range of measures to drive greater efficiency in the resource intensive sectors of construction and automotive. This includes the introduction of design regulations for buildings, streamlined lifecycle assessment methodologies for buildings and vehicles, and the introduction of mandatory product standards for construction materials and vehicle components.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Improving resource efficiency across the economy makes sense on all counts: it reduces demands on the environment, cuts emissions, makes our economy more resilient to supply shocks, and can grow supply chains and create jobs in areas such as recycling, repair, remanufacturing and reuse. The Government set some good ambitions in 2018 but the time has come to move to the delivery phase. What we need now need is an urgent, cross-government and systemic approach that improves product design, supports the development of new business models and engages citizens to help drive down resource consumption.”
Martin Casey, Director, Public Affairs, Europe at CEMEX said: “CEMEX welcomes this important report by the Aldersgate Group and the scope of its recommendations which can drive forward the goal of real resource efficiency across the whole economy. It’s vital that the policy framework, Government, and the regulatory bodies proactively take note and enable businesses to maximise their resource efficiency potential and deliver on the promise of a truly circular economy."
Dr Adam Read, External Affairs Director at SUEZ said: “If we can’t get BEIS, DEFRA, MHCLG and DfT to develop policies that complement one another and support societal change in a holistic way, then we may end up with any number of unintended consequences that undermine our drive towards greater resource efficiency and sustainability. This welcome report from the Aldersgate Group highlights another of SUEZ’s key concerns, namely a lack of real focus by Government on actually reducing consumption and incentivising reuse, refill and repair. The portfolio of recent policy reforms that have been consulted on all focus mainly on driving better recycling, with the DEFRA Waste Prevention Programme failing to deliver any real target for reducing consumption and highlighting the important role of the consumer in this process. The UK needs leadership around better citizen awareness campaigns, product eco-design, life-cycle thinking and closed loop materials management, and this must happen soon if we are to give ourselves a chance of decarbonising by 2050."
Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance said: “We know that the overconsumption of resources is driving both climate change and nature’s degradation and yet it is very rarely addressed by government policy. The good news, as this report outlines, is that there are many simple actions the government could – and should – be taking to improve the situation which would not only be good for the environment, but also the economy and the public. It really is time to get on with it.”
Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA UK and Ireland said: “Developing a circular economy is essential for building a low-carbon business and society. At IKEA, our aim is to transform into a fully circular business. To do this, we are committed to designing all of our products using only renewable or recycled materials, and to develop circular services. As such, we fully endorse the recommendations in this timely report, and the call for Government to accelerate its progress on resource efficiency, ahead of COP26, making the UK a leader in this field. We also welcome the call for more green jobs, firmly rooted in the skills we will need to make the circular economy a reality. At IKEA, our Recovery department employs over 350 people in the UK. Not only do they play a vital role in helping us strive for zero waste, but they are also a living example of how we are creating the retail workforce of the future; supporting a circular, green economy and our collective journey to climate positivity.”
Anna Turrell, Head of Environment at Tesco said: “If we are to meet our shared ambition to deliver a net zero economy, we must rethink how we manage the resources available to us more efficiently. We support the Aldersgate Group’s recommendations that the solution is to create a closed loop circular economy and that this is going to require substantive actions from business, industry and government to achieve. We are playing our part and working with partners to reach this ambition by, for example on packaging, removing and reducing single use packaging wherever possible, introducing reusable alternatives, and working to ensure everything that’s left is recyclable as a part of a closed loop.”
David Symons, UK Director of Sustainability at WSP said: “Using materials more efficiently is an easy way to grow Britain’s productivity, increase resilience and help deliver a net zero economy. Government has a great opportunity to up the pace on waste management - growing the economy and delivering on one of the public’s highest priority environmental issues.”
Julia Barrett, Chief Sustainability Officer at Willmott Dixon said: “The built environment consumes almost half of the materials extracted globally every year, so as this report sets out, we need a systematic rethink of how we design, construct and use buildings. At Willmott Dixon we have set a target of zero avoidable construction waste by 2030 and welcome the recommendations put forward today: for Government to urgently accelerate the transition to the circular economy by using fiscal mechanisms to change behaviour, for government procurement to demonstrate leadership, and for the creation of cross departmental policy and standards to drive resource efficiency.”
 The Aldersgate Group’s new report Closing the Loop: time to crack on with resource efficiency is available here.
 The report will be discussed at a public webinar from 9.30am to 11.00am on Thursday 15th July, with panellists from multiple business sectors and civil society. You can register here.
 Cabinet Office (2020) Transforming public procurement available here.
 In June 2020, the Aldersgate Group published a report setting out why the UK’s trade policy should be aligned with its climate and environmental goals. This report is available here.
Reacting to the publication today of the government’s Consultation on the Waste Prevention Programme for England, Kate Young, Senior Public Affairs Officer at the Aldersgate Group said: “The resource efficiency proposals announced today put significant weight behind the Government’s intention to move towards a circular economy. There is a much-needed focus on transforming production and consumption through re-use, repair and re-manufacture, and it will be pivotal to integrate these ambitions across the economy.
Kate Young added: The development of sector-specific measures also represents substantial progress, and will be vital to providing a clear framework for meeting our net zero emissions target, supporting business resilience, and creating jobs. Proposals to set product requirements for durability, repairability and recyclability, introduce extended producer responsibility for new sectors to stimulate reuse and prevention, use public procurement for remanufactured ICT devices, and introduce eco-design principles for the automotive sector are all highly encouraging and could have a sizeable impact on reducing the consumption of raw materials.”
Kate Young concluded: “Given the breadth of measures announced today are subject to consultation, the government must now ensure rapid progress over the next year to embed these ambitious proposals across the economy, particularly given the lack of policy progress in the area over the previous three years. In implementing these commitments, Government should aim high - voluntary reporting and schemes should be scaled up and translated into mandatory actions where possible to provide certainty to businesses and achieve truly transformative change. This will be essential to improve economic resilience during recovery from COVID-19, strengthen global competitiveness and meet our net zero and Environment Bill targets. ”
 The Aldersgate Group is currently producing a policy briefing to be published in the Spring, setting out how the UK Government can strengthen and accelerate its efforts to drive greater resource efficiency across the economy, which will include a comprehensive response to proposals in the Revised Waste Prevention Programme.
The Aldersgate Group has today released a new report Beyond the 2019 elections: maintaining momentum on resource efficiency. This is an updated version of the Group's previous report Beyond the Circular Economy Package: maintaining momentum on resource efficiency to take account of the upcoming European elections.
Building on an Aldersgate Group report published in January 2017, and updated since its first release in December 2017, this report sets out policy recommendations that EU institutions should pursue after the 2019 European elections to build on the Circular Economy Package and support increased business action on resource efficiency. These recommendations are based on business case studies, including some developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded REBus project, which began in 2013 and on which the Aldersgate Group was a partner.
See here for the original report's press release from December 2017.
Reacting to the publication today of the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy for England, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “With 80% of a product’s environmental impact determined at the design stage, this Strategy is a welcome step forward in that it moves the focus of England’s resources and waste policy beyond just recycling and towards the early stages of a product’s lifecycle. We welcome in particular the intention to consult on new rules for extended producer responsibility schemes, the plan to broaden their scope to include a wider range of products as well as the intention to introduce product standards setting minimum resource efficiency criteria, which together could have a significant impact in improving the quality of products put on the market.
The intention to take greater consideration of social and environmental impact in public procurement decisions and the potential introduction of clear eco-labels, product assurance schemes and warrantees could, subject to the final details, also play an important role in driving the demand for resource efficient products and secondary materials. We would urge the government however to also consider the role of fiscal incentives such as VAT rebates in driving consumer uptake and to exceed its goal of doubling resource productivity early as research suggests far greater improvements are possible.”
Nick Molho added: “Despite the positive sense of direction provided by this Strategy, a lot of the measures announced today are either subject to consultation or at an early exploratory stage. It will be essential for the consultations and actions referenced in the strategy to make rapid progress in 2019. Greater resource efficiency is critical to cutting waste, cutting emissions and improving the competitiveness of our economy and it is essential that the Brexit process doesn’t result in further delay to policy progress in this area .”
 The Aldersgate Group was a partner on the REBus project, an EU LIFE+ funded project that demonstrated how businesses can implement resource efficient business models and thus generate, financial, material and greenhouse gas savings. The REBus project ran 30 pilot schemes across a range of market sectors in the UK and the Netherlands, including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT. If the savings secured by these pilots were applied across the EU, resource efficient business models could secure an increase of up to £280bn GVA for the EU economy by 2030, a reduction in material demand of 184 million tonnes and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 154 million tonnes CO2eq. See Aldersgate Group (June 2018) No Time to Waste: An Effective Resources and Waste Strategy and (January 2017) Amplifying Action on resource efficiency: UK edition.
Today, the Aldersgate Group launches a briefing  setting out recommendations for the government’s forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS), which is expected in the autumn. No Time to Waste: An Effective Resources and Waste Strategy sets out key policy priorities to radically improve the UK’s resource efficiency and maximise the economic, societal and environmental gains that this transition will offer.
Significantly improving the efficiency with which the UK economy uses resources could deliver major benefits, in environment gains and competitiveness. Recent business trials that the Aldersgate Group has been involved in showed that greater resource efficiency could deliver a total net gain in Gross Value Added (GVA) of £76bn by 2030, whilst also improving resource security .
To turn this economic and environmental potential into reality, the Aldersgate Group’s briefing urges the government to:
The government has committed to establishing the UK as a world leader in resource efficiency and to doubling resource productivity by 2050. The economy-wide benefits of resource efficiency are well documented  and can save businesses money, reduce reliance upon finite materials, provide insulation from materials’ price volatility, protect the natural environment from harm by the processes of material extraction and waste disposal and reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.
To secure these benefits the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy must provide a coherent policy framework that moves beyond the take-make-dispose model of waste management and recognises the need for integrated regulations, product standards and technical and financial support to drive business innovation in developing new relationships, products and processes.
Victoria Fleming-Williams, lead policy paper author and Policy Manager, Aldersgate Group, said: “Resource efficient business models are proven to generate significant financial, material, natural resource and greenhouse gas savings, all of which are essential to deliver the government’s goals in the Industrial Strategy, 25 Year Environment Plan and Clean Growth Strategy. It’s high time for resource efficiency to cease to be an overlooked area of policy and for government to use the public procurement, regulatory and fiscal levers at its disposal to make the UK economy a world-leading resource efficient economy.”
Walter Scheel, Inbound Support Manager, Cement Operations, CEMEX, said: “Adopting resource efficiency practices in the manufacturing industries is a must to stay competitive in a world of finite resources and challenging economic conditions. CEMEX is a strong supporter of the Circular Economy, with its principles embedded in its day-to-day operations and sustainability targets, by co-processing un-recyclable waste streams as alternative fuels in the cement kiln and re-using waste streams as alternative raw materials for cement production. But, the path to travel in this CE journey is still long. Support from the government, through effective regulation and promotion of cross-sectoral collaboration between industries, is required to continue with the shift in mindset to see and treat waste as commodities.”
Caroline Laurie, Head of Sustainability, Kingfisher plc, said: “We warmly welcome the Aldersgate Group’s policy paper, because resource efficiency makes good economic sense for Kingfisher and resonates strongly with what our customers want: smarter use of their cash. But we could go further and faster if we had better policy direction from government; we recommend the Aldersgate Group’s priorities are given maximum consideration.”
John Kenny, Chief Officer for Circular Economy, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “The most successful countries in the 21st century will be resource efficient, circular economies, which function within our planet’s means to support us. Recognising the value of our waste materials and natural resources is the first crucial step in creating a truly circular economy, which keeps materials in use for as long as possible and extracts maximum value from our waste.
Environmental regulators are central to this process, which is why SEPA is actively engaging with businesses who seek innovative solutions to reuse valuable resources, in ways that ensure the environment is protected and waste criminality is prevented.”
Dr Adam Read, External Affairs Director, SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK, said: "There is so much work to be done to overhaul the UK’s approach to resource management, but the prize will be to spur new levels of productivity and economic competitiveness. SUEZ warmly welcomes the Aldersgate Group policy paper which sets out many of the priority areas that must be tackled. Our own recent report similarly emphasises the need to consider resource management at product design stage, whilst a number of policy interventions and measures are needed to more effectively tackle the complexity of our waste streams.
We firmly believe that a combination of Extended Producer Responsibility, better data, new non-weight metrics and better labelling will allow consumers and the value chain to identify, extract, harvest and reuse materials more easily. We look forward to working closely with the government and the Aldersgate Group on this vital agenda in the coming months.”
Julia Barrett, Director, Willmott Dixon Re-Thinking Limited, said: “The RWS provides an opportunity to move on from our historic preoccupation with municipal waste to target all waste streams prioritised based on economic and environmental benefit.
By using fiscal mechanisms to change behaviour, and government procurement to demonstrate leadership, underpinned by stronger penalties for those who breach the rules, we have a real opportunity to make the UK a world leader in resource efficiency."
 More details can be found here.
 See Aldersgate Group (January 2017) Amplifying Action on resource efficiency: UK edition. Aldersgate Group was a partner on the REBus project, an EU LIFE+ funded project that demonstrated how businesses can implement resource efficient business models and thus generate, financial, material and greenhouse gas savings. The REBus project ran 30 pilot schemes across a range of market sectors in the UK and the Netherlands, including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT. If the savings secured by these pilots were applied across the EU, resource efficient business models could secure an increase of up to £280bn GVA for the EU economy by 2030, a reduction in material demand of 184 million tonnes and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 154 million tonnes CO2eq.
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, 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."
The Aldersgate Group welcomed the EU Commission’s intent to drive much greater resource efficiency across European economies with the publication of its Circular Economy Package today. However, whilst the package touches on most of the right issues, it now needs to be much clearer in terms of how it will promote a significant increase in the reuse of secondary materials that is needed to deliver an EU economy that is competitive and fit for the 21st century.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The Commission should be given credit for having reintroduced a new circular economy package today, having made it a priority across departments and showing a desire to drive much greater investment in the EU’s circular economy. All the businesses we work with are already innovating to find new ways to be more resource efficient and competitive but a strong circular economy package could help them go much further by removing barriers and introducing smart incentives.
The EU Commission’s own research found that greater resource efficiency could save EU businesses around €630bn a year by 2030 and just yesterday, Green Alliance found that the move to a circular economy could also help deliver net employment benefits across the EU. The business case for a strong circular economy package is compelling and goes far beyond the important environmental benefits.”
The Aldersgate Group, which is working closely with other UK and EU organisations as part of the Alliance for Circular Economy Solutions, stressed however that much more needed to be done to make the package a success. Whilst today’s package touches on the right issues and rightly focuses on increasing resource efficiency across the whole product lifecycle, a lot more detail was needed in order to boost the use of secondary materials across the economy. In particular, using the Commission Ecodesign working plan to develop standards that would facilitate the disassembly and repairability of products beyond just electronics will be important as well as a clear timetable for introducing quality standards to address consumer confidence in secondary goods.
Nick Molho added: “The package today provides a decent starting point but it is not yet detailed enough to give the resource efficiency makeover the EU economy needs. The package needs a clear overall resource efficiency goal, clear standards to facilitate material reuse across all key products, quality standards to boost consumer confidence in secondary materials and a clear strategy to favour those businesses that are more resource efficient through public procurement policy.
The Aldersgate Group and its business members stand ready to work with the EU Commission and Parliament to build on today’s positive announcements and thrash out the important detail that will determine whether or not the package will be a success.”
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.
Ahead of the European Commission's announcement in the European Parliament on 17 December, the Aldersgate Group urged the European Commission to maintain the circular economy package in its work programme for 2015.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Moving towards a circular economy with much higher degrees of recycling and remanufacturing is an important part of making the European economy more efficient, competitive as well as environmentally sustainable. Ensuring that EU policy goals are delivered through "better regulation" is a good aspiration, but the Commission should go about this by developing smart regulations to meet these goals as opposed to simply abandoning crucially important areas of policy such as the circular economy package".
See our letter in the Telegraph.
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 European Commission is supporting a new Aldersgate Group (AG) project on the circular economy to demonstrate how businesses and their supply chains can implement Resource Efficient Business Models. This follows the publication of the AG's report, Resilience in the Round, that was published last year.
The co-funding increases the AG's capacity to drive change in four key markets: electrical and electronic products, clothing, furniture and construction products (that are collectively worth more than 350 billion Euros per year across the EU). The project will be in partnership with WRAP, ESKTN, The University of Northampton and Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) and has a time scale of 3.5 years.
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."