Publication - Research and analysis

Safeguarding Scotland's Resources - A Programme for the Efficient Use of Our Materials: Analysis of Consultation Responses

Published: 28 Jun 2013

In June 2012 the Scottish Government launched a consultation on Safeguarding Scotland's Resources - A Programme for the Efficient Use of Our Materials. This research findings report summarises the written responses to the consultation.

76 page PDF

755.3 kB

76 page PDF

755.3 kB

Safeguarding Scotland's Resources - A Programme for the Efficient Use of Our Materials: Analysis of Consultation Responses
Annex 4: Report Of Stakeholder Event Held In Glasgow On 27 August 2012

76 page PDF

755.3 kB

Annex 4: Report Of Stakeholder Event Held In Glasgow On 27 August 2012

Safeguarding Scotland's Resources Business Consultation Event

27th August 2012, Radisson Blu, Glasgow

Workshop Feedback - Group 1

Business Resource Efficiency Support

Experience to date:

  • Too many hurdles to access support
  • Sector based support is too restrictive
  • Support is 'same old' - consultants haven't updated their skills
  • Report and feedback from consultants takes too long
  • Type of support is now very limited. Example was given of Northern Ireland that has a new resource efficiency grant - really helpful as banks are not lending at the moment.

Ideas for delivery of new services:

  • Joining up the services will help
  • Needs to be more handholding to implement the identified actions
  • Bring in SEPA to provide support on regulatory aspects of identified actions
  • Generalist needs to hand over to specialists once issues identified
  • Businesses will do this if they can see the financial return, but at the moment the payback on capital expenditure for environmental improvements is too long.
  • Perhaps income from the carrier bag charge could be used by a company to fund their own environmental improvements programmes?
  • Type of support (online / helpline / 1:1) will depend on where the company is at - need a clever checklist to direct to the right level of support
  • In the past the 1:1 model has delivered £10 savings for every £1 of government spending. The 1:many model won't do this.

Voluntary Agreements

  • Must have a benefit for the company - otherwise won't do it.
  • Benefits can be financial, or lighter touch regulation, or reduced tax rate, or improved public relations
  • Could link participation in voluntary agreement with triggering 1:1 support
  • Sometimes difficult because if European competitors don't have to achieve targets then UK company is at a disadvantage e.g. reduction in peat use.

Zero Waste Pledge

  • Must be clear about what you are signing up to - what does 'zero waste' mean?
  • Could widen out from 'zero waste' to 'resource efficiency'
  • Must link to existing agreements, such as Green Tourism Business Scheme
  • Struggling to see what the benefit is to individual companies. Could link sign up to accessing 1:1 support.
  • Could be a procurement criterion, but businesses will not use this if it means greater cost. Could possibly be included in public sector procurement.
  • A pledge would be useless if not verified, but there would be cost in setting up a verification system.


  • Site Waste Management Plans are useless - they just tick a planning box. No one checks, and they don't change on-site behaviour. To work they would need to be policed.
  • Extension of 'Halving Waste To Landfill' commitment to design phase - architects are already doing this. Off-site fabrication of building panels reduces waste on site, but there are no Scottish suppliers.

Data, benchmarking, tools

  • Data tools should be developed in line with the new Resource Efficient Scotland service
  • There should be a common template for consistency
  • Transparency is required when quoting figures otherwise they don't have credibility
  • Perhaps there should be a requirement for resource efficiency / waste reporting in company reports. This could be linked to tax breaks for environmental spend.

Waste Industry Voluntary Agreement

  • Yes it is appropriate for them to take on this role and 'yes' the skills are there
  • Example was given of a company in the home improvement sector challenging their waste management contractor to find 10% waste reduction. Any savings were shared 50:50 between the company and the contractor. Contractor came up with two proposals which are now being implemented - closed loop plant pots (customers return plant pots and they are remade into other products which are then sold in-store) and green waste from store being composted and the compost sold in store.
  • There may be a competitiveness issue, as maybe only the biggest have the capacity to do this
  • We are doing this anyway - didn't need a voluntary agreement
  • There must be financial benefits - improving public relations is good but not enough
  • Could link a voluntary agreement to improving data and measurement
  • There may be conflicts - eroding the traditional waste treatment business - however recognise that the sector needs to evolve

Producer responsibility

  • Two companies are currently obligated under producer responsibility and operate across the UK. They expressed concern about the additional data capture that would be required to calculate their 'Scottish obligation' and 'rest of UK' obligation.
  • One company reported that they had been chosen for a Producer Responsibility audit, because they had decided not to join a compliance scheme, and to go it alone. They felt that this was unfairly penalising them for taking more responsibility for their packaging waste.

Carrier bag charge

  • This needs to be a UK wide charge - there is no point having different regimes in the 4 UK nations.
  • Companies operating cross border may opt to introduce a charge across the whole of the UK, for simplicity sake.
  • Suggestion that carrier bag charges could be used to fund environmental works within a company, so long as it was transparently reported as such.

Workshop Feedback - Group 2

Business Resource Efficiency Support

  • One helpline/website would be useful.
  • Website should be easy to navigate and have good resources
  • Considered beneficial to have advice in one place to prevent overlap
  • One point was made that advice should be in line with regulation - i.e. that any advice should not conflict with legislative requirements imposed by SEPA.
  • Implementation is often limited by services - location can limit access to waste management services , and these can often be far more expensive in rural areas.
  • Support should include logistical support - i.e. support to find the right people/equipment etc. to help with implementing the recommendations contained within the report
  • Support should take the form of an action plan, as a full report with lots of information is useful but doesn't tell the business what they need to do.
  • Having account managers with experience/understanding of the sector was cited as being important.

Zero Waste Pledges

  • Pledges could be a good idea if they inspire employees, and externally provide an opportunity to highlight good practice to customers
  • Need to have credibility - can't just be a statement - there needs to be clarity on claims made.
  • It was suggested that there could be a national benchmark/target for everyone to achieve as part of the pledge.
  • It was also suggested that maybe an incentive should be offered to encourage join up, e.g. a reduction in business rates, or access to specific services/support.
  • Halving Waste To Landfill was pointed out as a good model - 5 steps which can easily be achieved in a year, and assistance is provided by WRAP/ZWS to help with moving through the steps
  • General discussion around the fact there are multiple schemes and many overlap, with some costing large amounts of money for certification. In construction alone there are 5 different certification schemes.
  • Currently there is lack of consistence in public procurement policy - procurement should be driving which schemes are recognised for environmental performance. Maybe there should there be one government backed scheme which is recognised by public sector procurement

Construction Voluntary Agreement

There was only one construction company present. Their comments were as follows:

  • Would want to see a final report on what the outcomes of Halving Waste To Landfill are before a new scheme is launched
  • Interested to know how a wider voluntary agreement on resource efficiency would be practically implemented - i.e. how it would be measured.
  • Needs to be incentives for designers and architects to consider sustainability/resource efficiency at the design stage.
  • Issue is that the priority of the client may not be focused on resource efficiency!
  • Question of where it sits with BREEAM (BRE environmental assessment method) as this already covers aspects of resource efficiency

Resource Utilisation Assessments

  • One company was PPC (Pollution Prevention and Control) authorised but had not heard of RUAs
  • Comment was made that the Site Waste Management Plan Tool developed by WRAP was very complicated
  • There is already a range of software monitoring tools on the market, and some companies have their own internal systems in place
  • Monitoring over transient sites is difficult
  • However some kind of central database of benchmark data would be useful, but would need to be done carefully as everyone has a different way of reporting
  • Would be good to learn from what other people are doing, and be able to see what solutions have been applied (probably ties more into Resource Efficient Scotland service - highlights strength of case studies and B2B [business-to-business] networking)

Waste Management Voluntary Agreement

There were two waste management companies on the table.

  • Question over how it would be audited
  • Question over how advice would be consistently delivered to customers, i.e. one company could provide conflicting advice to another to suit their own needs
  • Wasn't felt that waste management companies should provide advice on resource efficiency. It was felt that the waste producers should be provided assistance in order to know what to ask of their contractors. Producers need to know how to choose a contractor who will deliver a good service
  • There was some discussion on waste data and the difficulty of providing individuals with weight data when a route collected from multiple producers
  • If Resource Efficient Scotland is effective then the waste management industry shouldn't be offering similar advice
  • A waste management company should simply be providing advice on good waste management practice and could not be expected to tailor this to the individual sectors and their specific issues relating to resource efficiency

Workshop Feedback - Group 3

Business Resource Efficiency

  • There was a noted risk of the potential loss of skills through transition of the various organisations to Resource Efficient Scotland.
  • Lack of clarity over how it will operate. Will organisations have multiple contacts with the service or will there be one contact that is multi-skilled?
  • One-to-many / remote assistance in terms of online training and tools etc. is never the thing you actually need or never goes far enough or into enough detail
  • Support is not followed up by anyone once it has been completed - need for follow up to support tools
  • Carbon Management programme by the Carbon Trust was highlighted. It should be expanded and continued as it was found to be very useful
  • SMEs who are required to do a feasibility study and pay for it, only to be told that nothing is feasible, can be a costly barrier

Voluntary agreements

  • Voluntary agreements (VAs) work because they are cross-UK which provides consistency for businesses who operate north and south of the border
  • Peer pressure was a major driver
  • The cost of implementing the internal systems necessary to comply with the various VAs can be considerable however there is a payback from taking action and this has to be communicated very clearly in order to gain buy in
  • Providing as much off-the-shelf systems that an SME can just run can help reduce costs/burdens
  • VAs should be used to create demand for recycled products
  • Problems with including carbon as part of VA - companies do not have expertise in house
  • Need to consider how messages are cascaded down to SMEs
  • Sector bodies have a large role to play in terms of promotion and this should be driven by direct encouragement from Government
  • VAs need to have more teeth as a means of driving performance and gaining credibility - such as a scorecard system - Olympic example
  • Some sectors were highlighted as being more scrutinised than others and therefore this may affect the uptake of VAs
  • The requirements need to be client-led through procurement as this is the primary route to ensure change by making it contractual
  • Is there any consistency as to when all the various VAs finish?

Zero Waste Pledges

  • Measurement of this was noted to be unclear and therefore difficult to support
  • There is still confusion over the definition of Zero Waste and how this is understood
  • It was highlighted that the name Zero Waste Pledges goes against what we are shaping ourselves as an organisation to be i.e. more than just waste
  • Are pledges for SME companies?
  • What do they really want to achieve?
  • Must be embedded in procurement process (Local Government)
  • Definitions key to the success and understanding and messaging around energy for waste important
  • How hard will the pledges be to get? Is there a danger of market clutter? Too many badges?
  • Sample templates will need to be provided.


  • Quality of Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) currently being produced is not clear due to lack of regulation
  • Possibility of embedding the requirement for SWMPs in Planning regulations and even Environmental Impact Assessments /Strategic Environmental Assessments is something that should be explored
  • SWMPs do not cover all of the new areas of Resource Efficiency so these need to evolve to capture more

Resource Utilisation Assessments

  • Benchmarks from SEPA data would be useful to circulate
  • Show value of doing it before being asked to do it as a means of convincing people

Waste Management Voluntary Agreement

  • VA would be needing careful policing to protect against false claims
  • Who will monitor performance?
  • Local authorities are lowest performers, private sector more commercial and therefore the VA could only be for this area
  • Levels of performance should be considered
  • Tools for smaller companies should be developed to assist
  • Resourcing for smaller organisations is a major burden
  • If embedded in public procurement then this would help drive things
  • Specialised WM companies who only deal with one waste stream cannot be expected to provide info on material streams they nothing about
  • Also the risk of losing business will prevent waste management companies from advising companies of other services from competitors
  • There are doubts around the willingness to accept information provided from the waste management contractors and actually act on that information.


Email: Tim Chant