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
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781782566298

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

Contents
Safeguarding Scotland's Resources - A Programme for the Efficient Use of Our Materials: Analysis of Consultation Responses
Annex 5: Report Of Stakeholder Event Held In Edinburgh On 4 September 2012

76 page PDF

755.3 kB

Annex 5: Report Of Stakeholder Event Held In Edinburgh On 4 September 2012

Safeguarding Scotland's Resources
Consultation Event - Resource Security
4 September 2012, 1400 - 1630
Victoria Quay, Edinburgh

Report of Meeting

1. Introduction - Lorna Walker, SEPA

The issue of resource security is one which is receiving much attention internationally, with high profile coverage of disputes over Rare Earth Elements, shootings at Platinum mines in South Africa etc. Today's event is part of the Scottish Government consultation on Safeguarding Scotland's Resources, and we want to probe current level of awareness of the issue, and hear your suggestions of what actions need to be taken forward in Scotland.

2. Presentations

2.1 Peter Stapleton, Scottish Government

Peter spoke about the underlying drivers behind pressures on our resources - a growing global population, increasing urbanisation and a burgeoning middle class. Coupled with increasing costs of extraction and geopolitical supply risks, the resulting impact is volatile prices in many key materials. At the same time recycling rates of critical materials are low - there is a challenge to develop recycling systems so that they can capture these critical materials. Action is being taken by many governments, and at international level, by the EU and UN. The UK has its own Resource Security Action Plan.

2.2 Ian Holmes, Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network

Ian Holmes outlined the key elements of the UK Resource Security Action Plan - a resources dashboard to provide information to business on critical materials; a Circular Economy Task Force to inform government policy; and several innovation funds for businesses. He then gave examples of companies that are addressing the issue of resource security, by for example biomimicry.

2.3 Kennedy Miller, Brand-Rex

Kennedy Miller described Brand-Rex's activities as a leading supplier of data cabling, with a turnover of £90 million. Brand-Rex is carbon neutral and this has helped to differentiate them in the marketplace - including supplying cabling for the Olympics. They produce 1.4bn metres of cabling every year - both copper and fibre optic. Copper is critical to the functionality of their product, and price has risen four-fold since 2003. Other materials and energy are facing similar pressures. They have responded by improving their efficiency, designing a product which uses less material (but still meets high quality standards), and by greening their supply chain. They rely on product life cycle analysis and carbon measurement to drive improvements.

3. Workshop 1 - Awareness and preparedness

Aim: To ascertain how important the issue of resource security is to the Scottish business community; how aware participants are of the issue; actions that are already underway to address the issue.

Report from Red Group

  • Delegates were asked to score how important they think this issue is, from 0 (not important) to 10 (very important)
  • Scores given = 5,6,7,8,8,8

Awareness

  • Delegates were asked to score how aware they, their organisation, and the Scottish economy generally are about the issue of resource security.
  • Awareness of participants = 5,8,8,9,9,10
  • Awareness of their organisations = 7,8,8,9,9
  • Perceived awareness in the Scottish Economy = 4,5,5,5,6,6,

Comment

There was a general feeling that this issue is important, and that generally the workshop participants were aware of the issue, but that awareness in the economy more generally was quite low. Suggested reasons for this included:

  • Companies are fighting for survival so other issues are 'front of mind'
  • People are used to having resources at their fingertips, so they will only engage with this issue if they are actually experiencing a problem.
  • In the construction sector, prices of raw materials are actually low - at 1990 levels
  • There is a feeling that individual companies cannot do anything at the geopolitical level, and so just absorb price increases.
  • Similarly the government of a small country like Scotland will find it difficult to intervene in geopolitics, and can't take unilateral action as may drive business away.

Preparedness

The group discussed actions that could be taken at a company level:

  • Talking to supply chains
  • Many companies have carbon tools, we should attempt to integrate resource issues into these
  • Companies need a strategic understanding of the issues
  • Waste exchange is one way forward. There was criticism of the decision to shut the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme in Scotland.
  • Need a Scottish focus to actions
  • Take forward last year's SEPA report

Report from Green Group

Importance

  • Delegates were asked to score how important they think this issue is, from 0 (not important) to 10 (very important)
  • Scores given = agreement of a 10

Awareness

  • Delegates were asked to score how aware they, their organisation, and the Scottish economy generally are about the issue of resource security.
  • Awareness of participants = agreement of a 10
  • Awareness of their organisations = mid range, between 5 and 8.
  • Perceived awareness in the Scottish Economy = low around 2 - 4 with the caveat that you cannot place the business community in a single box and others will be much higher.

Comments

  • No long term planning for these issues, in terms of increased cost businesses will take the hit or pass the cost on to the consumer.
  • In terms of awareness and approach - it does depend on the company and what they are providing
  • Need to recognise that there have always been resource fluctuations that companies have to deal with a resource security is very different

Preparedness

  • Not all companies have the capacity to deal with resource security
  • Resource central hub proposed
  • Substitution question - when does it become a resource security issue?
  • In terms of substitution and addressing this, it is very much a pyramid structure with a few businesses at the top that are totally aware, in the middle a few more that are aware with a bit of planning and substitution and then at the bottom most businesses that absorb cost.
  • Companies with a research and development team or access to research and development will have a competitive advantage.

Report from Yellow Group

  • Delegates were asked to score how important they think this issue is, from 0 (not important) to 10 (very important)
  • Scores given = averaged 8.5

Awareness

  • Delegates were asked to score how aware they, their organisation, and the Scottish economy generally are about the issue of resource security.
  • Awareness of participants = was high, with scores of 9 and 10
  • Scores were not given for 'awareness of their organisations' and 'Perceived awareness in the Scottish Economy', but see comments below:

Comments

Although the awareness of participants was high, the group generally felt that it was low across SMEs in Scotland and the wider economy. Other observations included:

  • Large construction companies were generally aware, but didn't pass down the supply chain to smaller operators
  • General feeling that business will resolve many of their supply issues through design or changing business models
  • The agricultural sector was generally aware, given rising costs of fertilisers and feeds, but it was felt they could do more to invest in animal and plant sciences to help mitigate these issues.

Preparedness

Actions that could be taken at a company level were discussed:

  • Dissemination through the supply chain
  • Consideration of different business models
  • More examples of good practice
  • Better design

4. Workshop 2 - Actions

Aim: To discuss how Scotland could engage with the UK Resource Security Action Plan (RSAP), and to identify additional actions that could be taken forward in Scotland.

Report from Red Group

Engagement with UK RSAP

  • Innovation challenge - this is for individual companies to decide how to engage with. Needs more marketing - not heard of.
  • Resource dashboard - agreement that this is useful in Scotland and should be promoted. Trade bodies need to take ownership of this to ensure real business data, and updating. Must give added value - one way of doing this would be to link to suppliers of critical materials. Tailor this product for the SME market.
  • Industry Consortium (now called Circular Economy Task force). It is difficult for Scottish Companies to engage with this unless they have a headquarters south of the border. Could try instigating a Scottish Forum, recognising that this will be difficult.

Actions to take forward in Scotland

  • Regulation focuses minds - Carbon Reduction Commitment, landfill tax, and packaging regulations have been great drivers of resource efficiency
  • There are many organisations already working on this issue - it is important to tie these strings together.
  • Need to make more links to work going on in Scottish Universities - they have much to add, and many of the solutions. Can government assist making direct university / business links - e.g. sponsoring graduate placements?
  • Business support on this issue must be faster - it is difficult to go through all the hoops, by which time opportunities have passed.
  • Better connection to planning policy - e.g. there is a current sand and gravel shortage
  • Better connection to SEPA policy

Organisations to work with

  • Climate 2020 Group might be interested. One delegate sits on this group and offered to take a proposal to the table.
  • Business Council for Sustainable Development is also interested in this space - also offered to collaborate.
  • Trade bodies of key sectors which will be affected.

Report from Green Group

Engagement with UK RSAP

  • Agreement to engage where appropriate.
  • Recognise that some areas useful to approach UK wide but others to develop Scottish specific e.g. industry led consortium.

Actions to take forward in Scotland

  • Further research specific to Scottish economy looking at what we need to be doing in the short, medium and long term
  • Address the capacity of the manufacturers to look at scarcity e.g. use existing Knowledge Transfer Networks in an advisory capacity, Resource Efficient Scotland service could include a focus on resource security. We need to make seamless links to support SMEs.
  • Case studies to demonstrate best practice - how to consider and when to consider resource security
  • Long term - academia, requires support, explore urban mining, aquatic mining
  • Medium and short - material exchange, case studies
  • Plug into UK industry led consortium proposed under UK RSAP but set up consortium specific to Scotland
  • Recognise it is a global issue but need to take forward actions relevant to range of businesses and/or type of business

Organisations to work with

  • Knowledge Transfer Networks
  • Resource Efficient Scotland
  • Academia

Report from Yellow Group

Engagement with UK RSAP

  • Satisfied that these actions could be taken at a UK level and no need to set up something separately for Scotland
  • Industry consortium - suggestion that Scotland could take the lead in specific industry areas of strength (such as renewables, oil & gas, aquaculture) and advise on best practice etc.

Actions to take forward in Scotland

  • It was considered difficult to see how activities at a Scotland-level could make a difference in a global market. However a couple of actions were suggested.
  • Increased engagement with small businesses and individuals on this issue, and in particular with the younger people through schools / universities etc.
  • Increased engagement on a 'sector-based' approach
  • Manufactured products should all have a list of materials used, to aid recycling and reuse (it was understood that an EU funded project was progressing on bar-coding of electrical products)

Organisations to work with

  • Interface - links between business and universities
  • Key trade organisations for sector-based approach

Contact

Email: Tim Chant