Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is about taking a whole life cycle approach to produce more with less. SCP is therefore one of the four priority areas for UK action set out in the UK’s Sustainable Development Strategy (Securing the Future), which the UK government published in March 2005. The Government has identified the following issues as being critical to moving to a green economy: sustainable public purchasing, sustainable business and resource efficiency, sustainable products and consumers, and waste and recycling. At the level of business, this translates into a huge opportunity to reduce overheads at a critical time when the need to balance costs is vital for business survival. TheUK’s total greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 19% since 1990 because of the products we import and consume. Every year theUK’s manufacturing sector loses £713 million pounds from not implementing low and no cost resource efficiency measures.
Much of the SCP activity in the Northwest was kick started with funding available under the National Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) Programme, lead by NWDA in the Northwest. This was initiated by DEFRA to support businesses in improving their resource efficiency and waste management in response to changes inUKlegislation. The Northwest BREW allocation from 2006 – 2009 was £3.55m which was, where possible, matched against regional funding.
The Northwest BREW programme was managed by a steering group of partners from regional and national organisations specialising in the delivery of resource efficiency support. The Northwest BREW programme supported a wide range of initiatives aimed at improving resource efficiency, reducing waste and providing leadership and guidance on corporate social responsibility.
In addition to funding specific business support projects the BREW programme supported a programme of business engagement events, workshops and seminars on a range of SCP issues, as well as supporting the coordination of activity between those agencies operating within the region.
More recently NWDA management of the ERDF Northwest Operational Programme led to the development of Action Area 1.3 Sustainable Consumption and Production. This action area was focused on the region’s market failures and opportunities for business growth targeted at SMEs to improve the region’s sustainable consumption and production. This has led to an investment of over £40 million in activity to:
- Improve resource efficiency
- Design out environmental impacts
- Build a low carbon economy through an improved construction sector
- Value waste as a resource