MAJOR brands have signed up to commitments to tackle waste by 2030 as part of a summit attended by the Prince of Wales.
The Co-operative Bank, Sky, Greggs, Heineken, Iceland and Toyota are among the founding signatories of the “waste to wealth” commitment to double the UK’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030.
It comes as 200 leaders from companies, government and other organisations attend a “waste to wealth” summit, with a keynote speech from the prince on the urgent need to tackle waste and resources in the UK and why business is best placed to take action.
Charles’ responsible business network Business in the Community, which is organising the summit being hosted by Veolia, is challenging companies to reduce waste or turn waste into wealth to prevent dangerous climate change.
Firms signing up to the waste-to-wealth commitment are pledging to set targets to improve productivity of resources, work to reduce avoidable waste, redesign the use of resources in products, services and operations, work collaboratively across organisations and report on progress.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove welcomed the initiative, saying: “We need to cut avoidable waste and start looking at the waste we do produce as a valuable resource.
“Today builds on the excellent work that HRH the Prince of Wales has done to raise environmental issues over many decades and help to drive real change.
“By working together we can all play a part in eliminating unnecessary waste to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”
Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, said the organisation was looking at how to make the most of resources and reduce waste, “ideally not producing it in the first place”.
She said research showed that customers welcome action from business which encourages them to do the right thing.
“Businesses can start by finding out what their resource footprint is.
“Let’s tackle this critical problem together and lead the world in doing so,” she said.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is attending the summit, said: “It’s becoming ever more visibly and painfully obvious that the world’s resources are finite.
“So we would mad to continue wasting them at the current rate.
“It’s increasingly clear that as consumers, an overwhelming majority of us actually want to do something about it. But there is only so far individuals can go.
“It is up to businesses and government to rise to the challenge of creating a circular economy that values our precious resources, and gives consumers help, incentives and direction to play their part in tackling waste.”