Waste to Wealth: Wales's plan to combat catastrophic climate change


Matt Appleby, BITC Cymru director, says that humanity has just 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe – and we have to work together to do so
A stark warning was issued in October 2018: we have just 12 years to mitigate the risk of catastrophic climate change.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which issued this warning, is unapologetic – the risks of inaction are enormous. Its recommendations are unambiguous. We must make the most out of our precious resources, waste as little as possible and find ways of turning the waste that we do produce into something useful – of turning it into ‘wealth’. 
Current levels of waste display figures so huge that they make for sobering reading. The UK produces a shocking 220m tonnes of total waste each year. 
Last November Business in the Community convened a summit of 200 leaders from business, government, academia and wider society under the banner of Waste to Wealth to get together to tackle the issue head on. The Waste to Wealth summit invited everybody to sign up to commit to this massive challenge, to unlock the opportunities in production cycles, and work smarter to reduce waste and develop innovative new products.
The five steps are as follows:
1. Set targets to improve the effectiveness of the resources that your company uses
2. Work collectively to double the UK’s resource productivity
3. Redesign how resources are used in products and services
4. Collaborate across all organisation and sectors
5. Reconvene and report on progress annually to share what has been learned and demonstrate results
Here in Wales, we already have reason to be proud of our progress in tackling environmental issues. We lead the UK in recycling municipal waste by a significant margin, are second in Europe and third in the world.
This is a strong starting position, but we as a nation need to further play our part. This week we are asking more Welsh businesses to sign the Waste to Wealth commitment as part of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) annual conference. The CIWM Resource Conference Cymru on 13 March at Wales Millennium Centre is an opportunity for environmentally responsible businesses to get together, hear from experts and plan collaboratively for a greener future. 
Working across all sectors here is key. If we are to commit to actions which will help us double resources and eliminate avoidable waste by 2030, we have to act together. And we have to set specific goals. We have to reconvene regularly and assess progress. This is a huge task that requires sign-up from everybody. 
Together, we need to take a structured, collaborative approach in Wales and we are urging all Welsh companies to join us and make a commitment to Waste to Wealth in Wales. 
Notes to editors: 
1. For further detail please speak to Lowri ap Robert at lowri.aprobert@bitc.org.uk or Annie Williams on 029 20 780 050
2. Further information on BITC’s Waste to Wealth initiative is available on its website - https://www.bitc.org.uk/campaigns-programmes/environment-sustainability/...
3. Further information on the CIWM Cymru Resource conference on 13 March may be found on its website - https://www.ciwm.co.uk/ciwm/events/cymru-2016/resource-conference-cymru....