Resource security concerns have increased significantly over the past five years, reflecting risks affecting the availability and the price of materials essential to industry.
The root causes of resource insecurity lie substantially in environmental problems. Water scarcity, rising extraction costs for fossil fuels and limitations on land availability increasingly constrain supply at a time when demand is growing. Greater visibility of globalised supply chains, alongside rising public concern about environmental damage, is compounding these pressures.
To mitigate resource constraints on business, the Circular Economy Task Force has identified how reuse, remanufacturing and secondary material supplies can address the root causes of resource insecurity. Secondary supplies have much lower exposure to environmental risks, but these resources are currently lost because products aren’t designed for recovery and business sectors aren’t incentivised to share common approaches. To address this problem, the Task Force proposes a new focus for the government’s industrial strategy: it needs to de-risk collaboration, set agreed sector-wide goals for recovery and stimulate businesses to adopt new, resource efficient business models. In addition, government should consider intervening directly in design to make products and materials easier to recover.