Author Archives: Jonny Hazell

Getting novel materials right from the start should be an industrial strategy priority

This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.Three dimensional plastic 3d printer

As Theresa May’s foreword to the industrial strategy shows, the government has a lot riding on this policy. The prime minister variously talks it up as the answer to the UK’s productivity problem, the means of rebalancing the economy away from financial services, and a source of employment in those parts of the country that have lost successful industries. Delivering all these objectives will require multiple approaches, as no single intervention can achieve everything.

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What the government can learn from Jaguar Land Rover about staying competitive

Thijaguar-xe-3_paul-gravestock_flickrs post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

The government’s hasty commitment to shield the automotive industry from the worst effects of Brexit demonstrates two things: the political importance of the car industry and the challenge that the industry faces in a post-Brexit UK. Tariff-free access to the single market is important for complex manufacturing, but it won’t make British industry any more competitive on its own. So what else can the government do? One thing would be to scale up a proven strategy and work with businesses to increase resource productivity.

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How to get the public excited about recycling

Fotolia_60981742_M.jpgThis post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

The inconsistency of recycling systems is back on top of the resource policy agenda. Two years after the Circular Economy Task Force highlighted the extent of the opportunity for increased efficiencies and revenues in improving England’s disjointed approach to household recycling, WRAP has launched its Framework for greater consistency. Read more

If we like recycling, why are we so bad at it?

recyclingThis post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

March was an odd month for anyone working on waste and resources. Thanks to Hugh’s War on Waste revealing that only 1 in 400 coffee cups is recycled, the recyclability of composite materials was suddenly headline news. This triggered a media furore over whether we were being misled by coffee shop claims about recycling their cups. To my slight surprise, the issue even united the Daily Mail and The Telegraph with The Guardian in their indignation. But even more striking was the disappointment and frustration expressed when people learnt that most coffee cups went to waste, despite them putting them in recycling bins. People really cared about whether their cups were recycled or not.
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Why more businesses haven’t caught onto ‘industrial symbiosis’

ImpressionThis post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

There’s an old joke about generating electricity from nuclear fusion: that it’s always just 50 years away, no matter when you’re starting from. Perhaps unfairly, I have the same feeling about industrial symbiosis, the idea that the unwanted by-products of one manufacturing process become the valued inputs for another. Despite the concept being decades old, it’s still much more likely to feature in academic reports than on boardroom agendas or factory floors. Hopefully that’s about to change, as promoting industrial symbiosis is a priority for Germany’s leadership of the G7 this year. But, if the G7 initiative is to prove more successful at embedding the theory in business thinking, it’s worth considering where industrial symbiosis has and hasn’t worked before.

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Get new materials right from the start and everyone benefits

head of 3d printer in action, macro viewA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Environmentalists and techno-optimists aren’t always the most comfortable bedfellows. The relationship has been strained by an approach to climate policy, popular amongst Bush-era Republicans, that suggests there is no need to do anything today as innovation will solve all our problems tomorrow.

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The EU has the power to switch on innovation

This post first appeared on Business Green.

Think of innovation and what comes to mind? Blue skies, blank sheets of paper, keeping your thoughts showering and definitely outside of any boxes? These might be helpful for great leaps forward, but most technological development occurs through a series of small shuffles: a one per cent efficiency gain here, a five per cent weight reduction there. This is the kind of optimisation that delivers a competitive advantage rather than creates a whole new market, and a long term study by McKinsey has shown that focusing on a few key objectives is a vital part of successfully innovating to deliver incremental improvements. Read more

Will the EU’s new circular economy plans live up to expectation?

illustration europeA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

After months of speculation, we will soon have clarity on a debate that’s been rumbling on for months. No, I’m not talking about who’s going to run the country, but what the European Commission means by a “more ambitious” circular economy package.  This is the set of policy and regulatory measures proposed by the Commission to minimise waste and make the most of the economic opportunities from repair and recycling across Europe. Read more

Low resource prices are no reason to go slow on better productivity

Abfüllung von GetränkedosenA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Resource prices have been in the news again of late, although this time for the refreshing reason  that they’ve been tumbling instead of skyrocketing. Falls in food and transport prices have led to the lowest inflation rate since records began and underpinned the first steady rise in real wages in five years. Read more

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