Businesses could save billions
Recent research by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) suggests resource efficiency savings could be achieved through “little or no investment” and could improve competitiveness and employment opportunities for UK business.
The biggest savings identified in the report amounted to £18 billion a year through using raw materials more efficiently and generating less waste. A further £4 billion of savings were estimated through energy efficiency and £1 billion by reducing water usage.
It estimated 29 million tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved a year by taking such action. The sectors showing the best potential for resource efficiency savings were chemicals, metal manufacturing, power and utilities, construction and road freight.
Marks & Spencer, which has taken action on resource efficiency through its Plan A programme, claims to have made a profit of £50 million last year through using less energy, less packaging and recycling more and by opening up new revenue streams.
“From our own experience, going green is good for business as well as being good for the environment,” said Richard Gillies, director of Plan A at Marks & Spencer.