Environmental Economy Northwest
There is a continued need to minimise the adverse impact of economic growth on the environment. Increased economic growth leads to increased movement of goods and people, resulting in higher vehicle emissions, and greater consumption of natural resources. The Northwest’s eco footprint is three times bigger than our fair earth share, i.e. 300% larger than it should be if everyone on earth consumed their fair share of resources. The largest contributors to this footprint are the production of food, energy use per se, and energy use at home. A key objective of the Regional Partners, therefore, was to help the business base anticipate and benefit from necessary changes to resource consumption, and produce goods and services with a lower ecological footprint.
- Sustainable consumption & production. Sustainable consumption and production includes individual choice, technology developments, infrastructure design, and business models and strategies. The Northwest has a higher eco footprint than theUK average, with an economy worth £119 billion, 250,000 registered businesses, 6.9 million people and one of theEurope’s largest university concentrations. With the largest manufacturing base in the UK, heavily dependent on access to raw material and energy, a strategic approach to enhance resource efficiency, recycling, reuse, substitution and reduce waste has been essential
- Sustainable construction. This sector employs over 134,000 people and contributes 9% of Northwest GVA, with an environmental footprint only second to food. Nearly half of theUK’s carbon dioxide emissions are building related. Activity has focused on minimising adverse impacts arising from the construction process to ensure that high environmental standards (design, materials, and energy efficiency) are promoted in building design. Through delivery partners, the NWDA worked to a target of 20% annual growth in Very Good and Excellent (BREEAM) rated buildings across the region
- Waste Management. The region produces seven million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste and 10.1 million tonnes of construction, demolition and excavation waste annually. Between 2003 and 2009, industrial waste fell by 29% whereas commercial waste increased by 1.5% (77% of this from Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs)). The Northwest public sector recycling rate is 3.6%