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205,000 new UK jobs needed for circular economy

January 30, 2015

manufacturing-370x229Study finds “continued development of resource efficient activity” may require 205,000 more jobs to be created in Britain by 2030, including in remanufacturing.

Wrap Cymru reported that a study conducted by WRAP and Green Alliance has found that 205,000 new jobs in recycling, reuse and remanufacturing could be needed in the UK between now and 2030 as the circular economy grows and resource efficiency increases.

Titled Employment and the circular economy: job creation in a more resource efficient Britain, the study found that “development of resource efficiency, unlike other industrial transitions, requires more labour”, noting that by 2030 the sector could create 205,000 new jobs, “reduce unemployment by around 54,000”, and “offset 11 percent of future job losses in skilled employment”.

The greatest impact in job creation is expected to be seen in the north-east and west midlands, particularly in terms of “mid-skilled occupations where job losses are projected for the future”.

Professor Stephen Machin of UCL (University College London), said: “Creating jobs with decent pay as innovative technologies evolve is a challenge given the UK’s traditional difficulties in generating good jobs for workers with low and intermediate skills.  This report emphasises the need for this kind of job creation especially given the decline in jobs in the middle tier of the labour market.”

Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP, commented: “We’ve long been talking about the benefits of the resource efficiency agenda, working with businesses and turning ideas into action. But this report is the first of its kind that pinpoints exactly who, what and where could benefit from the implementation of the circular economy. This signals a major new opportunity for Britain’s economy, and could deliver jobs where they’re needed the most.”

Finally, Matthew Spencer, Director of Green Alliance, said: “At a time when many are worried about where jobs will come from in future, it is a tantalising prospect to have a sector which offers a wide range of new jobs right across the country, especially in regions with high unemployment.

“To be able to stimulate these new jobs in remanufacturing and reuse we will need government to play its part in setting higher standards for product and resource recovery. The biggest opportunity to do that is in the EU circular economy package which is being renegotiated this year, but the UK will have to become an active champion of higher ambition or we could end up with no new policy drivers for investment.”

The Recycler has reported recently on the European Commission’s decision to axe its original circular economy package, despite receiving objections from EU Parliament and environment ministers. The EC asserted that the package will be replaced by a “more ambitious” by the end of this year.

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