Good morning and thanks for joining us today.
Working to improve resource use in the interests of future generations is core to Julie’s values – as it is mine.


For me, these values are a direct result of my mother’s influence.
She’s always been quick to consider the needs of others and pass something positive on to future generations.
We both felt a need to bring these values directly to the work we do…
me as a scientist, her as a teacher.
We can all remember those teachers from our school days whose advice shaped us, and how we approach the world as adults today.
Inspiring teachers and a good education are what we all want for our own young relatives.
But what good is a flawless education in preparing today’s children for their world of tomorrow, if tomorrow’s world is flawed?
A tomorrow that is full of uncertainties due to the certainties of today.
Because today there are certainly more people on Earth than yesterday,
And today more goods are consumed than yesterday,
and there are fewer resources today to satisfy growing demand than we had yesterday…
and tomorrow this trend will continue and the day after, and so on.
So we have a supply and demand problem that’s only going to get worse.
As today’s sustainability leaders from business, government, and industry, we can rise to the resource challenge…
Today I ask that we work together to build on what we have done already, to find solutions to tackle these challenges head on.
It will mean sometimes changing from business as usual to doing business unusual, a rethink…
and WRAP has identified three areas where we will be working to do just that: food, clothing, electricals.
Together, we can help make more of our food; clothing and electrical items…
by rethinking how we design, produce and use products, with a view to making them go further and last longer.
I know we can do it, just look at what we’ve achieved together on recycling and food waste alone.
We’ve gone from a non-recycling nation to a nation at one with recycling, and we’ve reduced household food waste by 21 percent over a five year period.
Great achievements, but we still have more to do and more things to consider, because…
Technology has transformed the way we access goods and services,and with it the expectations of consumers.
10 years ago buying a suit meant hitting the high street come rain or shine, whereas now you go online and choose what suit, whenever suits!… and get it delivered to your door.
It’s a big change in a short time.
So what will the next 10 years hold?
These are my nieces and nephews – they are big part of the reason why I care about resource use. The one second from the right is my niece Ines.
She’s 10 years-old, and next year goes to secondary school, and hopefully will be taught by some of those great teachers out there.
My mother’s pupils would be amazed if they saw what Ines had access to today and the technology at her disposal. Children today have no knowledge of a world without the internet.
From blackboards to Blackberries, library books to Facebook, times change,
In 2025, One Direction will be long gone from Ines’ life, but as a 20 year-old she will be making her own decisions on the food, clothes and electrical goods she wants and needs.
She will be one of over 8.1 billion people on Earth, a billion more than today.
Many of these 1 billion people will join the rising global middle class, which is great because it means more people out of poverty.
But, the knock on effect is that more goods will be required from the ever dwindling supply of resources.
And you would be forgiven for thinking that as an aspirational, educated girl from the West, all this won’t affect Ines…
Sadly not, because it affects everyone.
We already know that rising populations’ means that it will take another 5 million tonnes of food on today’s levels to feed the UK in 10 years.
We could produce more food to feed them, but that might just exacerbate the problem of exhausting our dwindling resources.
We could import more food, but there may be increased competition for this food from other countries in the future which may push prices up, which causes more societal challenges.
So it’s a depressing outlook, especially for a developed nation like the UK.
We could, however, feed those extra people by reducing food waste…
Reducing avoidable food waste could really make a big impact in terms of feeding the growing population – it’s not just a side issue…
I believe we can halve avoidable food waste if we work together.
Collaborating as we have done through WRAP’s behaviour change campaign Love Food Hate Waste and our voluntary agreement the Courtauld Commitment.
Last week we announced further progress by signatories to the third phase of our agreement, and plans are underway for the next 10 years with Courtauld 2025.
But reducing food waste is just one part of the picture; we need to think about clothing and electricals too.
What part are we prepared to play in helping Ines and all our friends and family in 2025?
Food manufacturers and retailers I believe have a responsibility for the food Ines and others eat, how it’s sourced, and how much it costs.
Clothing makers and retailers have responsibility for the clothes they wear, how long they last, how they are produced and sourced.
Electrical retailers have a responsibility for giving them the choice to rent products, not just buy them, and to make them affordable, and to ensure that they are environmentally friendly.
As for WRAP – our role is to help businesses, governments and communities make the changes that need to happen to ensure our use of resources is more sustainable.
We all also have a role in helping people make the connection between some of the big global issues – climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, resources scarcity – and their own personal day to day lives.
It’s one of the things which worries me – people see the global issues but they can’t relate to them and so they feel powerless to do anything. It doesn’t have to be like that.
As sustainability leaders we know there’s a link between the food we all waste and greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and food security.
We know there’s a link between the mobile phone we’ve decided we don’t need anymore and scarce materials
We know there’s a link between the item of clothing that’s lurking in our cupboards and water scarcity issues.
So, we all know that actually, every single one of us as individuals can do things to help address our resource issues, water scarcity issues and greenhouse gas emissions.
Our role is to help make it easy for everyone, ourselves included, to do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do.
Today, I want to update you on progress in our work to help address the needs of tomorrow – on food, clothing and electricals.
Let’s start with a farm-to-fork analysis of the future UK food system.
WRAP’s Food Futures work outlines the risks to the UK food system over the next ten years; and the benefits of moving from business as usual to ‘business unusual’ approaches to the way we grow, manufacture, sell and consume food.
The report highlights three significant trends:• Increasing challenges to food system resilience;• The emerging role of data enabled technology• and the links between public health and environmental sustainability agendas.
Of the risks identified in the report that affect the whole industry, some are external such as ‘climate risks to food resilience’.
Others relate to how effectively the food chain can respond to other emerging issues like building ‘skills for future food challenges’.
In response to this the report proposes the creation of a 21st century supply chain that is ‘FIT’ for the future: flexible, intelligent and transparent.
Flexible means building in resilience and diversity into the supply chain to respond to climate change and changing demand…
Intelligent means a system that’s more capable of understanding and managing risk…
and Transparent to help deal with increasing complexity and to identify new opportunities for efficiency and functional improvements such as more automation, precision agriculture and waste reduction.
What about health? If obesity rates and diet-related ill-health rise as predicted, this will have a cost to society and the health system.
The creation of more concrete links between food system sustainability and public health will therefore be of increasing interest to policymakers, businesses and civil society.
The food chain’s ability to realise future opportunities will depend on how quickly the new digital technology opportunities can be embraced to respond to an era of ‘conscious food choices’ and to better connect value chains from farm to fork.
And by that I mean you may well see consumers desire to have a more sustainable and healthy diet driving the activity of industry…
Right down to determining the size, nutritional, and taste requirements of their own meals.
The balance here is ensuring we can achieve this without causing adverse impacts on the environment, which is the role WRAP will explore in Courtauld 2025.
Whatever the consensus, the future food system will need to play an active role in helping consumers make healthier and more sustainable food choices…
and to deliver this in new more resilient ways, making more innovative use of data enabled technology.
So if these are the futures challenges, pressures, opportunities for the food industry, what about electricals and clothing sectors?
At last year’s conference I spoke of our sustainable action plan – esap, which aims to improve the business efficiency and sustainability of electrical and electronic products throughout their lifecycle.
Part of this is to support businesses to create business models that give customers opportunities to recycle their electrical goods.
70 major brands and retailers are now signed up to the agreement…
The likes of many of you here today from Beko, Dell, Tesco and Samsung, and you will hear from Kevin Considine from Samsung today.
And Argos too, and this work has led to the launch of its very own gadget trade-in scheme, a real first for a major retailer.
It means anyone can now visit an Argos store in the UK and trade in unused mobile phones and tablets over the counter in exchange for gift vouchers.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a 6 month old iPad, or 10 year old Nokia you left lurking in your bedside drawer…
They all have a second hand value, which means customers get money back for old products, and the old products parts can be re-used or recycled. A win-win.
We are doing much more on initiatives like this, so watch this space!
We have made great strides in the clothing sector too, again through galvanising collective action in our SCAP 2020 plan.
You will hear from Judith Batchelor from Sainsbury’s this morning…Sainsbury’s like 81 others have signed up to SCAP 2020 to reduce carbon, water and waste, and today I can report on its progress.
Two challenging targets to reduce carbon and water per tonne of clothing by 15 percent by 2020 are on the road to being met,
with a 3.5 percent reduction in carbon, and an incredible 12.5 percent reduction so far in water.
There is less progress to report so far on waste reductions but I know efforts will be made to reduce waste arising by 3.5 percent by 2020.
I can also announce today that George at Asda has signed up to SCAP 2020, which means signatories now make up over 50 percent of the UK retail market by sales, volume and value.
So SCAP is building momentum and its achievements can now also be replicated across Europe as WRAP leads a new initiative, ECAP – a new €3.6 million funded project from the EU.
WRAP is also to lead a €2.1 million project to recover valuable materials such as gold from the 40 percent of electrical products that go to landfill every year.
These projects confirm both the commitment to make better use of the resources in clothing and electrical items, and our work to diversify funding streams.
As a new charity we will continue to diversify our relationships, and expand our work internationally…
But not at the expense of the important work we do for our government funders in the UK.
We have an ambitious and determined Minister in Rory Stewart, who has been effusive in his praise for WRAP’s work, so we look forward to working with him.
We know money will be very tight – so we will need to be creative in how we use what funding is available.
From Westminster to Cardiff where last month I spoke of the Welsh Government’s commitment to delivering a resource efficient circular economy in Wales.
On behalf of the Welsh Government, WRAP will deliver three programmes around food, clothing, electricals to give Wales the best possible opportunities to meet future resource challenges.
Where there are differences in funders, and areas of work, one thing stays the same…
And that’s WRAP’s ability to collaborate to provide action that delivers change.
So let’s keep working together on what we are doing, but challenge ourselves to go even further.
I have shared a picture of life for Ines at the age of 20.
Unless we make a step change in resource use, life will be even more challenging in her thirties.
She may by then be a mother, so what world will her children face?
A world of 9 billion people; and this may now increase further as China ends its one child policy.
A world where food demand is set to increase by 60 percent, which will increase competition for what is available, and how much it costs.
Meeting food demand using today’s methods could increase global temperatures by 2 degrees, the threshold for dangerous climate change.
A volatile, daunting and uncertain future.
Not the future I want for Ines and not one you want for your families either I’m sure?
As sustainability leaders we can make a real difference to the fortunes of all 10 year olds of today.
And they will thank us if we get it right.
Or they will turn round and say why didn’t you do something about it? – That’s not a question I want to be asked…
Do you?
Thank you.
Source: Recycling BG

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