Saturday, 14 March 2015
Creating jobs through resource conservation: the circular economy
Half a million jobs would be created by transforming our economy from a take, make and throwaway one to a genuinely green one which optimises efficiency, renewability and working with environmental respect. This is the conclusion of a recent report by the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP) and the GreenAlliance. Bristol’s green ambitions are thus good economically and socially as well as environmentally – but radical change is best. The more ambitious the plans the more jobs are created.
The report found that whilst significant further recycling and remanufacturing would generate more jobs it’s even better to make substantial progress with these and add in major development of the re-use and bio-refining sectors as well as shifting from product manufacturing to product-service systems. Politicians and other decision makers would need to be much more active and ambitious and set the frameworks needed for this, including setting higher standards for product and resource recovery. They need to fight for instance at EU level for mass job creation through resource conservation.
The key green idea is to create a circular economy based on making, reusing and remaking: fewer resources are taken from the environment; management is sensitive and centres on renewable resources; production is efficient, clean and for long life; product and system use is efficient, with high emphasis on repairing and maintaining; products and resources are re-used (or recycled or used as an energy source if re-use is not possible).
All these green ideas and more were key topics explored and discussed between 3-5 March at Resource 2015 the yearly congress and exhibition bringing together 11,000 attendees: individuals, organisations and businesses large and small.
The circular economy concept and the Resource event itself should be more widely reported, especially in aspiring green cities like Bristol. Independent environmental consultancy ResourceFutures is one of the sponsors and participants. Bristol University's BruceHood , Professor of Developmental Psychology in Society, was a speaker this year, covering issues like: what makes us want to own things; what we think of second-hand items and sharing.