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Posts tagged 'resource efficiency'

Is a National Resource Council the solution for the UK’s resource efficiency problem?

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The Government needs a National Resources Council to co-ordinate cross-governmental action on resources and channel political interest into policy development. An early act of this council should be to commission an independent review of resource risk to develop a strategy and framework for assessing where government intervention on resources is required.

“Profit warnings, excessive inflation and falling real wages have all been connected with the fluctuating cost of resources in the 21st century. These threats are motivating businesses and countries to reduce the quantity of resources they use and increase their productivity, to stay competitive in the global market.”

UK resource governance for the 21st century:

UK resource governance for the 21st century

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A Resource efficient Europe is possible

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In March an EU platform with several commissioners and stakeholders proposed the following manifesto. (Click on the image to download the PDF). 

In a world with growing pressures on resources and the environment, the EU has no choice but to transition to a resource-efficient and ultimately regenerative circular economy. Our future jobs and competitiveness, as a major importer of resources, are dependent on our ability to get more added value, and achieve overall decoupling, through a systemic change in the use and recovery of resources in the economy.

Have a read of the manifesto and see what you think.

A Resource efficient Europe is possible

My key takeaways:

* I couldn’t agree more with this document but its potential is even greater – We could easily achieve 50% resource efficiency, compared to the proposed 30%.

* We need to move to a system where products with lower environmental life cycle footprints are incentivised. Not just incentivising efficient energy-using products, but more embodied carbon efficient products as well.

* Today we live in a product economy. Services are expensive because they rely on people. But the service economy is the local economy (as opposed to growing bananas in Devon). We need more history teachers, more hairdressers, more live music and less products.

* In the building sector the opportunities as huge. Buildings could be designed to use 80% less energy and 60% less embodied energy.

* We need to ban landfill across Europe and have strong taxes on waste for energy plants. That will give stronger signals than wasting public money on betting that some technology will soon arrive, and giving grants here and there while the system does not reward recyclability.

* Let’s not forget the link between carbon, resources and recyclability. Taxing carbon at a product tax level would encourage recycling, since products with recycled materials have significantly less impact than virgin raw materials.

* Shifting taxes away from jobs to resources is another shift we have to make. What a shame that the EU Commission can not be more forceful on this. National governments are unlikely to become the revolutionaries.

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My Talk From ‘Resource 2014’

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Back in March I was privileged to talk at, and be part of a panel discussion at Resource 2014 – The first major event for the Circular Economy.

A bit more about Resource – ‘A resource constrained world demands new thinking and new business models. Representatives from extraction, design, recycling, manufacturing, retail and resource recovery must come together to capitalise on the commercial opportunities of a circular economy.

Resource is the first major conference and exhibition for organisations looking to develop strong resource strategy and resilient resource security, providing opportunities to collaborate, partner, network and learn.’

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How to achieve revenue growth from resource efficiency

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This webinar all about resource efficiency was posted last week. Thanks to Tracey, Greg and the teams at 2degrees and Next Manufacturing Revolution.

Resource efficiency is traditionally associated with cost reduction. But leading companies have also used non-labour resource efficiency to drive sales. Watch this webinar recording to hear how Kyocera successfully do this and how your company can too.

The Next Manufacturing Revolution conservatively estimated additional profits worth £325M p.a. from revenue growth from resource efficiency through:

* Improved product performance
* More efficient delivery models such as ‘servicising’
* Collaborative consumption business models
* Quantifying these additional revenues can boost the economics of resource efficiency and should be included in sustainability-related business cases.

In this webinar, Dr Greg Lavery from Lavery Pennell, lead author of the Next Manufacturing Revolution, presents the revenue growth opportunities available from resource efficiency and how to succeed followed by Tracey Rawling-Church, Head of CSR at Kyocera Document Solutions UK, presenting Kyocera’s experience.

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The Great Resource Price Shock

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Here is a fascinating infographic based research piece from Green Alliance titled ‘The Great Resource Price Shock’. The text below sets the scene:

Over the past decade, world prices of key resources have risen sharply. This has meant that the cost of food and energy to UK households has gone up much more quickly than other household costs. If resource prices had just kept pace with other consumer prices, the average household could have saved over £1,000 on its food and household energy bills in 2012.

As the UK becomes more and more dependent on imports, rising resource prices will hurt the economy more and the poorest will continue to be the hardest hit. If this trend continues, by 2020 household food and energy bills could have risen by another £1,675 over and above general inflation.

The only reliable way to protect the UK economy against these resource price shocks in future is to improve radically the efficiency of our resource use and reuse, reducing dependency on foreign imports. And if more countries did the same, increases in global demand would be reduced, helping to keep a lid on world resource prices.

Click on the image below to open the full article and infographic:


Green Alliance Infographic


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PEF Policy Conference – 29-30 April – Berlin

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Join us at the PEF Policy Conference where they will release details on the upcoming pilot phase on the development and testing of Product and Organisational Environmental Footprinting Category Rules, benchmarks and communication vehicles.

Rana Pant from the European Commission Joint Research Center will be available to assist Michele Galatola from DG Environment on the technical aspects of the pilot phase. An updated programme for the event will be posted tomorrow here.

The PEF Policy Conference will be held on 29-30 April 2013 in Berlin. Objectives include; developing an early understanding of open questions, next steps and perspectives from different stakeholders on the future use of the detailed product environmental footprinting methodology and respective policy options. All participants are invited to actively contribute to the open dialogue to sharpen the common understanding of the road ahead.

Please click on the image below to find out all about the PCF World Forum including the program of events for this coming week.

Product Environmental  Footprinting (PEF)

Registration is still available via online or Fax Form

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An Interview with Michele Galatola – ‘EU Environmental Footprinting’

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Michele Galatola from DG Environment at the European Commission provides an overview on the rationale of the EU environmental footprinting methodology.

In this short video he describes the addressed audience and possible fields of application of the methodology.

Furthermore Michele Galatola shares insights on the role of environmental footprinting in future EU policy.

From the PCF World Forum, Sep 2012 (Published Nov 2012) –

Renewable Resources in the Value Chain. A Viable Option for Reducing Environmental Footprints?”

About the PCF World Forum

Consumption of goods and services indirectly contributes to a large share of worldwide GHG emissions. Efforts are underway to better understand, manage and reduce these emissions. Standards and tools for carbon footprinting as well as more comprehensive environmental and sustainability metrics are developed, refined and practically tested.

The Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) World Forum is a neutral platform to share practical experiences and knowledge towards climate-conscious consumption and production. The international platform provides orientation in current standardisation processes and creates opportunities for discussing international corporate best practices and emerging tools to support low carbon and climate-conscious consumption models.

The PCF World Forum was created out of the ambition to talk with each other and not just about each other given the ever increasing number of initiatives around the world and often little real understanding of respective approaches and activities.

PCF World Forum is an initiative by Berlin based think-do-tank THEMA1.

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TacTiles – Glue free carpet tile installation

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Why would you install a ‘sustainable’ carpet tile sticking it to the floor with glue? Get rid of VOCs and ease the recycling process.

Tac Tiles - Innovative, Sustainable, Flexible

TacTiles™ present a whole new way of installing Interface carpet tiles without the need for glue. If you’ve ever wished for a more innovative, sustainable, flexible and cleaner way of fitting flooring, TacTiles™ is what you’ve been waiting for.

A little more about TacTiles™

Clear 75mm x 75mm polyester adhesive squares with coloured print
Made from PET Polyester (the same material as plastic bottles)
Developed for carpet tiles with GlasBac® and Graphlex® backings
Available in sheets of 6 or rolls of 500 connectors
Versatile and effective, with only 4-5 TacTiles™ required per m2
The perfect solution for the installation of flooring across all sectors
Suitable for all Interface carpet tiles and installation methods

TacTiles™ can contribute to Green Building certification schemes such as LEED, BREEAM, HQE and DGNB.

TacTiles™ – innovative, sustainable, flexible, clean.

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Crowdfunding Campaign Raises Funds To Protect Fragile Coral Reef

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Interface’s Net-Works initiative is establishing a community-based supply chain for discarded fishing nets that will improve the livelihood of local fishers in Danajon Bank, Philippines while providing an innovative source of recycled materials for our products.

Danajon Bank’s unique ecosystem is at risk due to years of destructive fishing practices. This fragile, double barrier coral reef is home to hundreds of threatened species.

If you haven’t come across this campaign to protect the reef please take a few moments to watch this video:

This campaign to protect the reef is looking to raise $30k by 2nd April.

At time of press having raised $3k with 12 days left!

Please do what you can support by spreading the word and contributing here. Every penny helps.

Global TV’s News Hour in Canada broadcasted this 3-minute segment on the six o’clock news the day of the campaign launch:

Here is National Geographic’s (ILCP) post, a first in a series of blogs about the expedition.

PLEASE promote this crowdfunding campaign through your networks to help raise funds to protect Danajon Bank.

Project Seahorse (marine conservation research organization at UBC) and the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) are driving this initiative.

And special thanks to Nadine from Interface Canada.


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1 – The Case for Refocusing on Product (Rather than Corporate) Sustainability

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Full Product Transparency bookExcerpt from the book ‘Full Product Transparency

1. The corporate responsibility beauty contest hasn’t taken us that far

WE ARE AT LEAST TEN YEARS ALONG the corporate sustainability journey now, so what really significant changes have we achieved?

Perhaps the business world has focused on the wrong tasks? Could it be that, despite all the carbon neutrality claims, hundreds of Global Reporting Initiative A+ reports and sustainability teams of ten or more people, companies have still not radically redesigned their core products and business models? The answer is that there has been far too much focus on companies wanting to look good, and not nearly enough attention paid to actually performing well. The beauty contest It’s in the blood of companies to compete, to strive to be better than their peers.

That has been the reason for the success of corporate sustainability, because businesses like to vie with each other to be the best in this area. But the end result of all the competition has been to encourage companies to give the impression of looking good while barely changing their ‘business as usual’ model. It’s hard to change the direction of a business, especially in the short term, but the corporate sustainability beauty contest has nonetheless been characterised by a disappointingly low level of achievement.

An entire industry has been created around this beauty contest, including thousands of labels, corporate responsibility (CR) report design agencies, boutique assurance providers, hundreds of awards with infinite categories, materiality matrix mavericks, investor questionnaires consultants, professional stakeholders looking to ‘engage’ with companies and all manner of membership organisations offering support networks for a hefty fee. Service-provider directories in the field typically feature more than 500 such organisations offering to help businesses look more virtuous than their peers – what the marketing guys call ‘differentiation’.

The problem with all this activity is that looking more virtuous doesn’t have anything to do with being more sustainable.

We in the sustainability movement need to ask ourselves honestly whether we are pushing for actual change or whether we are merely helping companies to gloss over big issues by making them compete in irrelevant contests? We offer companies the prospect of being able to make ‘100% natural’ products or to be the first company in their sector to become ‘carbon neutral’. In short, we have been tremendously innovative in coming up with fairly meaningless stuff that is easy and quick to implement, or that can deliver nice stories and marketing claims, but frighteningly ineffective at producing anything that will affect actual performance.

And astonishingly, CEOs are quite happy about their performance.

A 2010 Accenture survey of global CEOs put the last nail in the coffin of CR as it stands. It found that 81% thought sustainability issues were fully embedded into the strategy and operations of their company. Yes, FULLY EMBEDDED! It’s not a joke. It’s actually quite sad that the most senior people don’t get it.

Please someone explain to them that having a CR team reporting to public affairs with a nicely designed 150k report with some cherry-picked case studies and a set of qualitative targets plus a few quantitative targets on quick wins is not ‘fully embedded’! Fully embedded means sustainability is fully taken account of in all the products of the company. You are redesigning your products, your business models, your entire value chain. Yet there is no company in the world that has achieved this. The sustainability movement should brutally tell CEOs that making wishy- washy claims such as ‘Sustainability is part of our DNA’ is just wrong.

Seventy-two percent of CEOs in the same survey felt the strongest motivator for taking action on sustainability issues was ‘strengthening brand, trust and reputation’. Well, here we have the reason we are trapped in this rather useless beauty contest.

Prepare yourself for the next sustainability phase: Full product transparency.

Somebody needs to speak out if we are to move towards something more meaningful. We need a proper comparative benchmark, so that companies can compete on what really matters – and so that the sustainability consultancy industry can sell properly useful transformative services to these companies. This book is aimed at providing this benchmark: products instead of companies.

So the next phase in sustainability has to be truly embedded by being focused on the product. We need to understand clearly the total footprint of a product throughout its lifecycle – that must be the starting point.

There has been some focus at product level but wrongly headed: Green labels.

You may well be asking, ‘Why does it have to be this complicated to choose the most sustainable product? Can’t I just look for a product with a green label?’

It’s not surprising people look for shortcuts to help them decide. After all, few of us have the time to study every purchase we make. That’s why there have been so many people, from gurus, to NGOs, to certification sharks, to industry associations inventing so many lucrative labels that offer ‘quick assurance’ about product sustainability credentials.

But when you look carefully at how some labels are administered, you realise how flawed they are. Most are too easy to obtain, which is obvious because the easier your label is to get, the bigger your market becomes. Most labels are very narrow in scope, measuring the easiest things to measure rather than the big issues. Many lack independent certification or may even be administered by the manufacturers themselves. Many labels duplicate each other, confusing clients and obliging manufacturers to certify the same product several times. Unfortunately, some of the best marketed labels are the least robust.

Today nobody certifies whether a yoghurt or a burger is good for your health. You just get the calories and the nutrition facts and you judge.

This is what this book is arguing for: the environmental impacts of products – Full Product Transparency.

… please revisit for more excerpts from the book ‘Full Product Transparency‘ – or rent/buy by clicking here

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