Leading UK-based carbon reduction consultancy the Carbon Trust today launched the world’s first international certification scheme to recognise firms that are effectively reducing their waste year on year.
The Carbon Trust Waste Standard
is aimed at large organisations and requires them to measure, manage and reduce their solid and hazardous waste
. It is the second certification scheme to be launched by the Carbon Trust this year, following the Carbon Trust Water Standard
in January. It follows mounting evidence that corporations around the world are still failing to tackle waste effectively or embed wider sustainability action within their organisations.
According to the Carbon Trust own research almost 70 per cent of leading corporations in the UK, USA, China, South Korea and Brazil do not see waste as a priority environmental area to focus on and only 21 per cent have waste targets in place.
In the UK, despite Government figures suggesting British businesses have a £50 billion opportunity for making savings through resource efficiency in waste, around one-third of the 600 million tonnes of materials consumed by UK businesses each year ends up as waste.
The United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest sustainability membership organisation, warned of a "ticking time bomb" in September
as it published a report that showed that less than a third of its 1712 members carry out water footprinting or lifecycle assessment and only 38 per cent report their emissions.
"We are living beyond our means, drawing on natural resources at a rate that cannot continue without leading to an ecological and economic crunch. Organisations that fail to bring sustainability inside their operations will face the consequences of increasingly scarce or expensive commodities, water and energy," Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said as he launched the new waste standard.
Five UK organisations have been awarded the Carbon Trust Waste Standard after being part of a pilot programme. The companies include the Football Association, which owns Wembley Stadium; the hospitality group Whitbread, which owns brands such as Costa Coffee and Premier Inn; chemicals giant AkzoNobel’s Decorative Paints UK division; accountancy firm PwC; and manufacturing and healthcare company Renishaw. Three of the firms – Whitbread, PwC and AkzoNobel – are the first companies to be awarded three Carbon Trust standards – one for waste, one for water and one for effectively reducing their carbon emissions.
"We are challenging the preconception that big businesses have a big impact on the environment," Ben Brakes, Environmental manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said. " Reducing waste is something we take extremely seriously at Whitbread. Over the past two years alone, we have increased the amount of site waste we divert from landfill from 80 per cent to over 93 per cent. We are not stopping there however. Our target is to send no waste from direct operations to landfill by 2017, which we are working hard to deliver."
The Carbon Trust said that to be awarded the Carbon Trust Waste Standard organisations had to demonstrate that waste streams are being reduced every year, or used more effectively through processes such as reuse, recycling and recovery.
The standard also includes a qualitative assessment to show that waste is being managed responsibly both upstream and downstream.
Like this story? Please subscribe to our free weekly e-newsletter at the top of the page for more content like this.