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Work In Progress: Top UK Sustainability Issues

Work In Progress: Top UK Sustainability Issues

The Top Sustainability Issues Confronting The UK Are Not Confined To The UK

Sustainability challenges are universal and affect the way we live, the way we choose to drive, the way we shop, the way things are made and the way our goods are safely packaged. Virtually every industry and every consumer has a role to play in improving sustainability.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the international accounting firm, compiles an annual list of challenges facing the globe and the UK. This year’s list shows slight shifts in focus. For example, Climate Change was number eight on the list last year in 2013 and slipped a notch to number nine this year.

Top Sustainability Concern: Scarcity of Resources

While various industries have different sustainability concerns, they share many in common. Around the globe and in the UK, all industries share the top sustainability challenge: scarcity of natural resources is.

If you talk with any manufacturer or producer of goods or distributor of services, the shrinking amount of natural resources must and always will be the biggest concern. And, this is well founded. Demand for products is rising as new economies have currency to acquire more goods. The global population is on the rise. People are living longer. Many factors play a hand in this valid concern.

Climate Change

Climate change seems to be of greater concern to consumers than it is to industry. In 2012, The Global Risk Report identified “failure of climate change adaptation” to be one of the top environmental risks. Little progress was made on this front in 2012 and a bit more in 2013, but there is a long way to go. One of the biggest detriments to climate change is the fear that a competitor who is not as committed will enjoy a cost advantage over the more responsible enterprise.

Increasing Regulations

Almost uniformly participants at the 2013 and 2014 Global Agenda Council recognise that more sustainable practices will only occur if regulations are not implemented levelling the playing field between competitors. If all businesses and all industries had to comply with sustainable practices, costs would ether rise or industries would fund ways to practice sustainability more efficiently.

9 Sustainable Practices Questions Businesses and Consumers Should ask each Other

What are your consumers buying now, and what will they want from you in future? – The answer has a direct bearing on resource planning.

How will we manage the consequences of climate change for agricultural suppliers? – If sustainable practices are not adopted, how will we feed ourselves?

As resources become scarcer how will you secure a reliable supply? – Businesses must develop alternative strategies to replace dwindling resources and rising demand.

How well will you cope with an increasing regulatory burden? – There is no doubt that further restrictions are coming.

Is there competitive advantage for you in the green or ethical consumer market? – Businesses must learn to apply sustainable practices to their brand to their advantage.

Will your ‘green’ product claims stack up to external scrutiny? – The business must not simply go through the motions but should strive to excel at their green commitment.

How well are you measuring your performance and is your reporting best in class? – Businesses must track and post their progress reports. The more transparency a business offers, the better for all.

What are the costs of inaction in a world of rising energy and raw material prices? – Every business must ask their role in increasing sustainable practices.

How do I develop more sustainable packaging? – If the enterprise is not fully aware of how to improve their sustainable practices, they must consult with experts.

For information on our companies green policies visit our Sustainability page or call us on 0845 643 1601*.