This is first special conference edition of ‘Talking Dirty’ live from the ‘Resourcing the Future 2015 Conference – Austerity or Ambition?’ in London. The 2015 Conference is being delivered as a partnership event by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Environmental Services Association and Resource Association and focuses on the general mood of the resource management industry.
Day One – all about Twitter!
The first day of the Conference started strong with a very passionate and enthusiastic speech from the new Minister for Water, Forestry, Rural Affairs and Resource Management: Rory Stewart MP. He emphasised his desire and willingness to learn from those with more experience than him in the resource management industry, something which was met with delight from the delegates in the room. He focused on the positive progress which has been made over the years and the challenges which remain for the sector and invited members of the industry to work with him in meeting those in the coming years. His main aim?...for the UK to be a world leading example in this sector within the next 5 years.
Inside Scoop: apparently the Minister veered ‘off script’ for a significant portion of his presentation which made him more relatable.
There was a healthy debate amongst presenters and delegates alike throughout the day. That was partly as a result of the interactive app which all delegates were given access to in advance of the Conference (NB: the whole Conference is paperless with all the information provided via the app) and which involved live polls and the opportunity to post online questions for the speakers. The very lively twitter feed (view mine here) also contributed to the ongoing discussions, both during the sessions and at the coffee breaks!
Inside Scoop: the Conference hastag #RtF15 was trending on Twitter for a good part of the day.
Following the Minister we heard from a number of experts in the sector in panel sessions and presentations over the day. Whilst everyone had something worthwhile to say, I have just mentioned a few below:
- Louise Lindenberg, Global Packaging Sustainability Director for Unilever;
- Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change;
- Lee Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of LARAC;
- Ian McAulay, Chief Executive of Viridor;
- Paul Vanston, KRP Manager at Kent Resource Partnership;
- Peter Jones OBE
- Dominic Hogg, Chairman of Eunomia Research & Consulting Ltd;
- Simon Weston, Director of Raw Materials for the Confederation of Paper Industries;
- Dr Nicki Souter, Director of Nicki Souter Associates.
What did they say or what were the main topical themes?
There were a number of key topics/themes running through the day:
- The importance of the Circular Economy which the Minister mentioned was high on the agenda of the EU Commission but must be introduced in the ‘right way’ for the UK. It was raised by several people throughout the day in relation to wastage, quality and value.
- Collaboration and Partnership are essential for the industry going forward, particularly in light of the austerity measures which have restricted local government’s service provision and the expectations of the private sector in respect of materials and quality levels.
- The answer to many questions posed during the day was “the polluter should pay” (i.e. the householder in many cases) but there was a lot of debate and divergence of views as to how that should be achieved/implemented/enforced. Many on Twitter were in favour of a separate discussion on the topic outside of the Conference.
- It is clear that there is a need for better, more cohesive Government policy for the sector but again there was a variety of views as to whether such policy should include specific targets or not.
Inside Scoop: the example of policy and practice in both Scotland and Wales was mentioned several times as being ‘the way to go’ in England.
I’m off for day two of the Conference now and will report back later!
If any of you have any views, comments or suggestions of specific 'dirt' that you would like to see discussed here then please get in touch - email, phone, twitter or linked-in. I’ll be back with another blog post again soon!
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