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The business and economic benefits of resource efficiency 

The business and economic benefits of resource efficiency 

The business and economic benefits of resource efficiency

An alliance of influential figures from business, politics and civil society has released a report highlighting some of the major commercial and economic benefits that can be gained from better resource efficiency.

The Aldersgate Group, which counts the likes of BT, Ikea, Sky and Marks & Spencer among its members, published research based on the delivery of 26 business pilots. The study was conducted on behalf of the REBus (resource efficient business) group.

These 26 schemes achieved £4.89 million in financial savings, while reducing materials consumption by 62,619 tonnes and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 1,953 tonnes. The research encompassed a number of key sectors - including electronics, textiles, construction and ICT - across the UK and the Netherlands.

According to the findings, making more efficient use of resources across key industries could deliver up to €324 billion (£276.9 billion) of gross value added (GVA) for the EU economy by 2030. The UK alone could see up to €88.4 billion in GVA gains.

The range of organisations taking part in the pilots included smaller businesses like iPower, which saved customers an estimated 36 percent on their energy bills by installing small-scale fuel cells in social housing.

Another participant was the Dutch Ministry of Defence, which boosted revenue by some €750,000 and reduced carbon emissions by 14,500 tonnes annually through a textile recovery programme.

Looking forward, the Aldersgate Group noted that, in order to take full advantage of the benefits that can be gained from resource efficiency, the UK will have to make decisions about what direction its policies will take after Brexit. Much of the current strategy comes from EU legislation.

The organisation said UK government policy could help to foster innovation in resource efficiency by giving businesses - particularly smaller firms - better access to finance and technical advice.

It also called for standards to ensure that products sold in the UK are designed in a resource-efficient way, minimising waste and ensuring that consumers receive high-quality products.

Steve Wallace, director of the Aldersgate Group, stressed that the research showed how resource efficiency can help the environment while delivering genuine benefits for companies.

"The businesses involved in REBus have demonstrated that resource efficiency can lead to commercial success," he said. "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."

Making more efficient use of resources and minimising waste are two of the many things businesses of all sizes can do to improve their environmental performance while cutting costs.

Firms should make sure they are using the most efficient appliances and working with partners and suppliers with proven green credentials.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/ms_seal