Category Archives: Resources

As demand for critical raw materials rises we need a better plan to manage them

This post is by Dr Jack Barrie, research fellow, and Dr Patrick Schröder, senior research fellow, in the Environment and Society Programme at Chatham House.

Plans for a net zero transition rely on deploying a range of technologies. Many of these, such as wind turbines, digital devices, battery storage systems and electric vehicles, depend on critical minerals like lithium, cobalt, gold and rare earth metals. The steel and aluminium sectors also drive demand for critical minerals through their use in alloys.

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The government shouldn’t be scared to give consumers the right to repair, people really want it

This post is by Janet Gunter, communications lead and co-founder of The Restart Project.

We’re hearing a lot about reducing meat eating, flying and other high-carbon behaviours as COP26 gets going in the UK. But there’s one topic which is still getting very little attention from policy makers or the media, and that is: our voracious consumption of consumer goods.

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Consumers need and want more help to go green 

This post is by Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which?.

Climate change targets are necessarily ambitious. Weather patterns that were once considered freakish are now occurring regularly across the world, with wildfires and flooding happening at a frightening rate. Watching these scenes unfold, it can often feel like the task of turning the tide is insurmountable. A more ambitious approach is needed from the government and businesses. But what the rest of us do will also be crucial in driving this transition, and that requires more meaningful consumer engagement, with more reliable information and support provided for the choices we make. 

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The UK’s new ‘right to repair’ is not a right to repair

This post is by Libby Peake, head of resource policy at Green Alliance, and Ugo Vallauri of The Restart Project.

We’ve all experienced the frustration of a gadget or appliance failing before it should and finding it too hard, too expensive or just too much hassle to get it fixed. In fact, it seems to be happening more and more often, and the government has noticed, saying it wants to address wasteful and aggravating premature obsolescence.

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What’s in store for the next phase of the Circular Economy Task Force

This post is by Libby Peake, head of resources and Tom Booker, policy assistant at Green Alliance.

In 2012, the year we launched our Circular Economy Task Force (CETF), our annual review noted: “Circular economy thinking has begun to influence economic policy in Germany, China and Japan. It is beginning to gain traction in the UK, but we still have a long way to go.”

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It’s about time people were rewarded for recycling properly

When asked what is the one thing people should do to save the planet, natural historian and national treasure Sir David Attenborough has a simple answer that he often repeats: end waste. Speaking to BBC Breakfast last year, for instance, he elaborated: “Don’t waste. Don’t waste anything. Don’t waste electricity. Don’t waste food… treat the natural world as though it is precious, which it is, and don’t squander those bits of it that we have control of.”

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It’s time we recognised that overconsuming resources causes climate change and nature’s decline

In just a few short months this year, world leaders will assemble at two landmark conferences to hammer out solutions to the two biggest environmental challenges facing the planet. The COP15 Biodiversity Summit in Kunming in October will be the first since the 2010 Aichi summit which agreed 20 biodiversity targets (none of which have been delivered). Hot on its heels, the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November will be the first major coming together of nations since the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

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Why the government must stop the UK finance industry bankrolling Amazon deforestation

This post is by Jo Blackman, head of forest advocacy and policy at Global Witness

Since 2017, major UK banks and finance institutions have either provided or facilitated more than £500 million to the Brazilian arms of three of the world’s largest beef companies, all linked to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, as our new Global Witness investigation reveals, and hundreds of millions more have flowed into their subsidiary companies. Drawing largely on publicly available data, our exposé found that a chain of actors from cattle ranchers through to multinational beef traders, their US and European auditors, international financiers and the governments that regulate them, are complicit in deforestation. It also uncovered devastating cases of human rights abuses against indigenous and landless peoples. Unless these issues are confronted, the world’s biggest rainforest could face an irreversible tipping point that might destroy its ecology and the communities that live in and rely on it. 

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The single misuse problem: it’s not just about plastic

This post is by Colin Church, chief executive of IOM3 and chair of Green Alliance’s Circular Economy Task Force.

Single use plastic is evil, or so we are repeatedly told in the media. From ‘Blue planet’ to ‘The war on plastic’, much recent discussion has focused on moving away from plastic. I’m not going to argue that plastic stirrers are a good thing, but ‘plastic bad – all other materials good’ is just too simplistic; I want to make the case for a different approach.

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