In the wake of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, a new UK task force has been launched to help tackle the global resource challenge.
Involving a diverse mix of large businesses and organisations, the Circular Economy Task Force will find practical solutions to mitigate the rising cost of raw materials through reuse and recovery.
Julie Hill, chair of the Circular Economy Task Force and Green Alliance associate, said:
'80% of our economy isn't circular - it relies on a supply of cheap commodities and loses
valuable materials in landfill. But cheap commodities are a thing of the past.'
Ms Hill noted that Nike has just reported that its profits have been hit by rising resource costs and Credit Suisse suggested in April that commodity prices could rise by 20% in the second half of 2012.
'The risk is that without change, resource costs will constrain economic activity. We're missing out on the economic opportunity that better material recovery offers,' she said.
Lord Taylor, parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is supporting the task force said: 'Rising material prices are a real risk to the economy, but also an opportunity for innovation.'
'Forward thinking businesses are responding with innovative, circular business models,' he noted, adding that the Circular Economy Task Force 'will show how these business models can be taken up more widely, foster greater resilience to external shocks, and deliver green economic growth'
The task force aims to build knowledge about how a circular economy, which captures
materials so that today's goods become tomorrow's resources rather than landfill, can reduce exposure to resource constraints and underpin the shift to a green economy.
In addition to finding practical solutions for companies to adopt, it will identify the barriers to more sustainable business models, and test how policy changes may speed up the transition.
The task force was announced in the government's Resource Security Action Plan which has committed to understanding leading businesses' concerns about resource constraints.