A month ago, politicians, world leaders, delegates and climate experts descended on Glasgow from around the world to revisit the climate pledges that were made under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The 26th annual summit of the Conference of the Parties (COP) was dedicated to reaching international agreements with the aim of keeping global warming beneath 1.5C. Over the course of two weeks, agreements were reached to cut emissions, reduce coal usage, increase aid to developing nations and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
There was a widely publicised concern from many quarters, however, that a lack of ambition was demonstrated and not enough has been done to prevent global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels. Many also felt that the role of waste and recycling was notably underrepresented at the conference.
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has reflected on the recent events of COP26 by reiterating that it was “disappointing not to see waste and resources better represented on the main agenda”.
The President of the organisation, Dr Adam Read, has previously called for government officials and global leaders to recognise the integral role that recycling and resource management has to play in supporting the process of decarbonisation.
Despite the lack of representation at the conference, CIWM insists that “It is clear those working in the UK waste and resources industry are committed to moving to a world beyond waste and driving change.”
Whilst Dr Read claims the recycling industry has been “overlooked and left with no seat at the table” he maintains that it is “hugely encouraging to witness the sector proactively discussing practical action it can take to accelerate the development of the circular economy and battle climate change.”
UK businesses are looking for sustainable solutions
Robbie Staniforth, Director of innovation and policy at Ecosurety, in response to the COP outcomes, commented, “Those looking for international agreements and legislative change to provide a paradigm shift in the fundamentals of the global and UK economy will be disappointed by the outcomes of COP26."
"It is apparent that the world is not ready or able to implement the fundamental shift required. This leaves one wondering what can be achieved in lieu of firm commitments. Ecosurety has long championed the role of voluntary initiatives to instigate progressive incremental change and lay the foundations for future mandatory policy. Genuine progress will require businesses to come together to push the agenda forward in response to the citizen pressure they are under.”
“We have been inundated with interest in setting up tangible initiatives that make progress towards greater resource efficiency in the UK. What had been lip service in the past decade is starting to turn to action. While some of the motivation is borne out of frustration with the slow pace of international governance, most is driven by consumer demand. UK businesses are looking for sustainable solutions to protect their market position now more than ever.”