Major companies to sign Waste to Wealth Commitment to help prevent climate change 

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Veolia
The WTW Summit will be held at Veolia's Southwark facility
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Business in the Community – The Prince’s Responsible Business Network will urge major companies to reduce waste or turn waste into wealth to prevent climate change at the Waste to Wealth (WTW) Summit today.  

HRH The Prince of Wales will deliver a keynote address at the Summit which will detail the need to tackle the resource issue in the UK and explain why business is best placed to meet this challenge. 

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Environment Secretary Michael Gove will also deliver a speech outlining how the Government will support businesses which are stepping up to this challenge.  

200 leaders from business, Government, academia and civil society will come together at the event, hosted by event partner Veolia, at Veolia’s Southwark integrated waste management facility in London to tackle this challenge head-on. 

Leaders will commit to actions in the Waste to Wealth Commitment that will help collectively to double the national’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030.  

Founding signatories of the WTW Commitment include Bupa, The Co-operative Bank, Deloitte, Greggs, Heineken, Iceland, Lloyds Banking Group, Marks & Spencer, PWC, Sky, Thames Waste, Toyota, Unilever and Veolia.  

By signing the WTW Commitment, businesses will recognise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conclusion that we only have 12 years to change the way we use resources to avoid climate change and restore a healthy environment.  

The WTW Commitment signatories are committing to: 

  • Set targets to improve the productivity of resources that are key for business 
  • Work collectively towards doubling the national’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030 
  • Redesign how resources are used in products, services and operations 
  • Collaborate across organisations, value chains and sectors 
  • Reconvene and report on progress made annually to share learning. 

Seven WTW Champions representing key areas identified by Defra will also be announced at the Summit and have also signed the Commitment. The champions are: JLL and Interface representing construction, Burger King, Nestle, Sainsbury’s and Sodexo representing food and European Metal Recycling representing metals.  

The Champions will develop and provide innovation hubs to create roadmaps and start developing innovative solutions, reporting every year to The Prince’s Responsible Business Network. 

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “I commend Business in the Community, and the companies committing to work towards a more circular economy. 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.” 

A survey of over 2,000 UK adults published in partnership with Ipsos MORI found that consumers want to do their bit to reduce waste. Key findings of the report include:  

  • Moneyback incentives to encourage return of used packaging has the strongest support among UK adults (82%), followed by dedicated places to return used packaging (80%) and store loyalty points (79%) 
  • Price increases to re-invest in more environmentally friendly and/or recyclable packaging has the lowest level of support (39%), although there was more support among 16-24-year olds with 45% of the age group supporting price increases 
  • Nearly four in ten people (38%) said they would hire home improvement equipment/tools rather than purchase as a way to reduce waste in future. 

Business in the Community chief executive Amanda Mackenzie said: “HRH The Prince of Wales and Business in the Community’s Royal Founding Patron has been shining a light on plastic pollution and our throwaway culture since the 1970s.  And now we, as The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, are looking at how we make the most of critical resources and reduce all waste, ideally not producing it in the first place. The old adage ‘waste not want not’ has never been more relevant. 

“The research shows that customers welcome action from business which encourages them to do the right thing.  While the UK Industrial Strategy deadline of doubling our nation’s resource productivity and eliminating avoidable waste by 2050 is ambitious, our responsible business network can help accelerate progress and aim to achieve this by 2030. 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.” 

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