Author Archives: Hannah Hislop

Some companies are leading the way to a circular economy – government needs to ensure the rest follow

An earlier version of this article was published on Guardian Sustainable Business.

The world is facing a resource crunch and businesses need leadership from government to encourage innovation around sustainable methods of production.

This week business secretary Vince Cable made a keynote speech on the subject to Green Alliance‘s conference on resource security, hosted in association with the CBI. He argued that price plays a major role in affecting supply and demand, but markets alone cannot tackle our resource risks, particularly given the damaging environmental externalities we need to take into account, and so we need to shape markets better.

As an example, he talked about the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, and committed the government to “taking a hard look” at how a system of greater individual producer responsibility might be introduced to increase the incentives for business to design products for easy recovery of valuable metals. Read more

Safeguarding the resources that underpin daily life

Over in Green Alliance’s Designing Out Waste theme, we’ve recently launched a new report on the growing challenge of resource security. It focuses on certain raw materials – phosphorus, metals and water – that are inextricably linked to economic growth. These are the materials that help our food grow, enable our smart phones to work and keep our taps running.

We filled our report with pictures of open cast mines scarring the landscape; the intricate wizardry of circuit boards; and tractors spreading muck to fertilise fields. Other than the silhouette of a solitary tractor driver, people did not really feature at all. But we are, of course, both the cause of growing resource insecurity, and the solution. Read more