A version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The 21st century has been widely heralded as the century of the city. 2008 was the tipping point when half of all people lived in urban areas for the first time. This gives cities power, and city governments are asserting their role as international leaders: just compare the ambition and commitments to combating climate change of global city networks like the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group with the lacklustre efforts of their host nations (fingers crossed for Paris 2015 though). Read more
This post is by Dan Byles MP, it was first published on ConservativeHome.
The UK has a long history as a global trading nation. For centuries we have viewed free trade and an open economy as the route to prosperity, and history has proved us right: Britain is the second largest exporter of services after the United States, and according to government analysis every ten per cent increase in trade openness raises national income by four per cent. Read more
This post originally appeared on The Guardian.
Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass contains a famous passage describing Alice’s attempts to run alongside the Red Queen in a topsy-turvy nonsense world, where cause and effect are reversed: Read more
Dustin Benton is a senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, leading the Resource Stewardship theme.
Last week, Chatham House added to the drumbeat of concern about resources, declaring that ‘the spectre of resource insecurity has come back with a vengeance.’ In its dense, persuasive report, Resource futures, Chatham House’s researchers diagnose the problems posed by increasing resource insecurity in detail, systematically identifying the causes of insecurity. This is an expansive analysis, and a major achievement, but the recommendations made in the report have the air of the outcomes of international climate talks: frameworks and processes to find solutions rather than actual solutions. Read more
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
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