Environment Agency will require Resource Efficiency data from IPPC sites
The ENDS Report is, well, reporting that the Environment Agency in England and Wales is planning to make the reporting of Resource Efficiency data mandatory as part of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) reporting. Only a lack of funds is stopping them doing it sooner.
Resource efficiency* is about getting the most out of every unit of physical input (eg materials, energy, water) into a system. Car fuel consumption in miles per gallon is an everyday example of a resource efficiency measure – miles travelled (output) for every unit of input (gallon of fuel).
The UK Government is extremely keen on resource efficiency as it is very business friendly – increased efficiency will lead to a reduction in operating costs. They have created the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) fund which recycles money from landfill tax into schemes that improve the resource efficiency of, well you guessed it, UK business. The schemes include Envirowise (waste minimisation), the Carbon Trust (energy efficiency), WRAP (recycling) and the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme – NISP (industrial symbiosis). The model is quite neat – industry pays for its sins (landfill) and gets ‘free’ advice on how to stop sinning as a result.
However, there are concerns about how far Resource Efficiency can take us towards sustainability. The high targets required (a Factor 10 improvement over 1990 is the best guess) are extremely challenging on technical grounds, and then there’s the dreaded ‘rebound effect’ which I will discuss at a later date. In the meantime, with it being flavour of the month, British business had better get its head around resource efficiency PDQ and the organisations above are a pretty good place to start.
* Resource efficiency is also known as eco-efficiency