Building new models of prosperity to turn the tide on environmental destruction

Gudrun Cartwright, Business in the Community's Environment Director, on why we need to work together to turn the tide on environmental destruction and build new models of prosperity. 

The UK currently faces an unprecedented moment of risk and opportunity. As we step out into a post Brexit future, how can we maximise the potential for our businesses and communities to thrive?  At Business in the Community, addressing questions like these is at the heart of our mission. We know that achieving these outcomes will be dependent on maximizing our productivity, building resilience into supply chains, ensuring we have access to critical resources and developing innovative products and services that the world will want to buy.

Today, we are bringing together more than 200 leaders from business, Government, academia and civil society to do just that at our Waste to Wealth Summit.

Whilst this may seem a little disconnected from ongoing Brexit negotiations, the aims of the summit align entirely with delivering a prosperous future for the UK.  After all, every £1 wasted in terms of unproductive use of water, energy or materials is £1 of profit that could be invested elsewhere.  

How much better would it be if we could keep those resources circulating in the system to get the maximum value from them?  Reducing our reliance on imported materials and the need for energy to manufacture and transport them. Creating jobs and enterprise opportunities. Inspiring young people to enter careers that are turning the tide on environmental destruction and building new models of prosperity.

At the Waste to Wealth Summit we will explore some of these challenges and showcase exciting examples of innovation. We will start to identify how maximising the productivity of resources and reducing waste can become a strong platform from which to build on our track record of innovation, determination and an entrepreneurial spirit to underpin an economy for the 21st Century.  

Our goal is to mobilse the Prince’s Responsible Business Network to lead the charge. More than 50 companies have already signed the Waste to Wealth commitment, and seven Champions will work with us and 12 key partners on critical resource challenges across chemicals, construction, food, metals and textiles. Over the next year we will hone the key challenges, develop roadmaps to address them and equip businesses with the tools and resources they need to maximise the potential for themselves and the communities they serve.

It is time to seize the opportunities that tackling our biggest environmental challenges head on present. To focus on the wealth we can create by transforming how we design, build, use and dispose of products and services to enable the regeneration of communities and the environment.To focus on what we can do, rather than on what others aren’t doing. To be the solution to our shared challenges. The rewards will be great if we get it right. I look forward to what we might achieve together.