A report launched this week by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) highlights ways in which leadership on resource efficiency can reduce local authorities' operating costs and stimulate local economies.
'With local authorities spending £42bn a year on contracts, councils have enormous scope to consider resource efficiencies in procurement as well as their day-to-day operations. They also have a much wider leadership role in promoting responsible management of resources in local communities and economies. The global green business market is worth £3.3trillion and the Confederation of British Industry found the UK’s share increased by 2.3% in 2010/11. Council innovation in resource efficiency can boost competitiveness in that market by enhancing productive capacity and creating investment and export demand,' said APSE's chief executive, Paul O'Brien.
‘Stronger resource efficiency for desirable communities: How local innovation in asset stewardship ensures a green and prosperous economy’ provides a practical guide on stronger resource efficiency across council functions – from spatial planning, regeneration, transport and logistics, asset management and environmental services through to education. The report shows how councils can contribute to ensuring greater resource efficiency, which can be described as: 'Using limited resources - financial, human, physical or ecological - in a sustainable manner to deliver greater value with less input and minimal impact on the environment.*
The report was produced for APSE by strategy consultancy and think-tank Infrangilis and follows on from APSE's examination of the role of the ensuring council in the national transition to a green economy**. It includes a toolkit showing innovative ways to regenerate economies by stimulating local investment and jobs in low carbon industries and create desirable, sustainable communities. Some 60 case studies describe local authorities' work to promote resource efficiency.***
'It is great to see so many inspiring examples of councils leading on this agenda. Taking a stewardship role in resource efficiency is a perfect example of APSE's 'ensuring council' model in action, with councils linking a strategic vision for local communities with provision of services,' Mr O'Brien added.
APSE welcomes the publication of the Government’s Resource Security Action Plan to advance thinking in this field, but points out that this does not attach any great significance to the role of local government. APSE is calling upon the Government to recognise the vital ensuring role local government has to play in leading resource efficiency. Its recommendations for the Government include: establishing a fund to kick-start the municipal bond market in water conservation and flood prevention; giving councils longer lead times for grant applications; and working with skills bodies and industry to improve carbon accounting and resource efficiency competencies.
Notes for editors
The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) is a not-for-profit local government body working with over 300 local authorities providing front-line services throughout the UK.
* The European Commission defines resource efficiency as: "Using the Earth's
limited resources in a sustainable manner while minimising impacts on the
environment. It allows us to create more with less and to deliver greater
value with less input." Source: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/resource_efficiency/
** This study builds upon APSE's 2012 report, The Transition to a Green Economy: The Vital Role of the Ensuring Council, which looked to deliver a set of techniques to proactively assist strategy and practice. For further information on APSE's ensuring council model see http://www.apse.org.uk/research.html
To order copies of Stronger Resource Efficiency for desirable communities: How local innovation in asset stewardship ensures a green and prosperous economy, contact: Wai Lee on firstname.lastname@example.org The report is priced at £20 for APSE members and £40 for non-members. Press copies available.
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