In a time of economic difficulty, resource efficiency by businesses is seen as an opportunity to achieve environmental benefits while also strengthening business resilience and decreasing costs. It also has the potential to contribute substantially towards government targets to reduce CO2 emissions.
The study estimated that the UK savings opportunities associated with resource efficiency interventions for materials, energy and water.
No cost / low cost savings opportunity has been estimated at a total of around £23billion in 2009. Savings opportunities with a payback greater than one year have been estimated at £33billion. The greatest savings opportunities exist within waste, particularly in waste prevention through lean manufacturing . Total savings opportunities for waste (no/low cost plus longer payback) in 2009 were around £40billion.
The carbon benefits achievable from implementing these resource efficiency measures are estimated at 90 MtCO2. This represents around 13% of the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
The most significant four sectors are chemicals/non-metallic minerals, metals manufacturing, power & utilities, and construction. Between them, they account for 78% of the no cost / low cost savings opportunity total of £18billion.