Putting resource efficiency on the agenda at COP26

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK is partnering with Aldersgate Group, CIWM, Green Alliance and ReLondon to bring resource efficiency to the COP26 agenda through a series of four fringe events on 03 and 04 November at thestudio, in central Glasgow.

After finding that others in the sector shared its frustration at the omission of waste and resources from the COP26 agenda, SUEZ was inspired to collaborate with partners representing a broad cross-section of the resources and wider environmental sector to put on a series of fringe events during the conference in Glasgow.

With resource use driving half of the world’s climate emissions, the series highlights the critical role of the resources and waste sector in supporting decarbonisation across the value chain, and considers issues around resource efficiency and the role of a circular economy in reaching net zero and tackling the global climate crisis.

John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “The waste and resources sector is central to our net zero ambitions. Although frustrated by its omission from the COP26 agenda, we realised the best way to address this was to come together with partners to stimulate discussion around the core challenges facing not just our sector, but the entire value chain. With four topical sessions over two days and a cross-section of high-profile speakers, I’m looking forward to some lively and thought-provoking discussions on issues critical to governments across the world achieving their emissions reduction pledges.”

Susan Evans, Senior Policy Adviser at Green Alliance and chair of its ‘Resource Security in a Net Zero world’ session said: “One topic conspicuously missing from the COP26 agenda is our consumption of resources. We can’t continue to ignore the fact that mining, farming, processing and manufacturing cause half of global carbon emissions and most of the nature loss occurring around the world. As we successfully decarbonise our power systems, the relative importance of consumption and its impacts will go up. Being efficient with the resources we use and building a circular economy to eliminate unnecessary waste should be front and centre of every country’s climate policy.”

Sarah Poulter, Chief Executive Officer of CIWM said: “CIWM shares SUEZ’s disappointment that resource and waste management has not been afforded a greater profile on the main COP26 agenda. Our ability to better manage materials, change behaviour and develop the circular economy are vital elements in helping to mitigate climate change and move to a world beyond waste. We welcome and fully support SUEZ’s efforts to facilitate collaboration and put resource management front of mind in Glasgow through this important series of events.”

Signe Norberg, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at the Aldersgate Group, said: “COP26 is a crucial opportunity to accelerate global progress towards net zero emissions and build on the foundations laid by the Paris Agreement to keep 1.5 degrees alive. The waste and resources sector, and its role in transitioning to a more efficient circular economy, is critically important and must be considered alongside other measures to reduce emissions, in order to drive a comprehensive and joined up transition to net zero. Resource efficiency has significant potential to not only support reduction in its own sector, but is also a crucial component in cutting emissions in buildings, heavy industry, transport and many others. We are looking forward to taking part in this series of insightful events on the topic that will bring much-needed attention to an area of climate and environmental policy that should not be overlooked.”

Wayne Hubbard, Chief Executive Officer, for ReLondon said: “45% of damaging greenhouse gas emissions come from the global management of land and the production of goods and food. These are hard to tackle, and require a transformational change in the way we make, use and dispose of ‘stuff’ – all the products, materials and food that we consume. So it’s vital that the circular economy, a powerful systemic tool to help us all waste less and reuse, repair, share and recycle more, is moved up the agenda both at COP26 and beyond. We urgently have to address consumption and the economy if we’re to have any hope of addressing the climate crisis; so we’re pleased to be part of this programme of events to launch our new report, ‘London’s food footprint’, and discuss next steps for improving London’s food systems.”

Run as hybrid events, people not attending COP26 can join the sessions live and interact with speakers and panellists online.