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Review of the Future Resource Risks Faced by Business and an Assessment of Future Viability - EV0458

This project is a component of Defra’s Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Evidence Programme. SCP relates to an economy in which the life cycles of products and services are designed to have reduced environmental impacts whilst benefiting the economy and social prosperity.

Evidence suggests that certain materials and resources are under threat and that their availability and market price in the medium to longer term is uncertain. Such resources include timber, water and fish and also resources necessary to build high technology products that many see as essential to both business viability and also delivery of policy goals including the fight against climate change.

The extent to which business is aware of the threats is variable. Awareness is pivotal to action being taken by business to conserve the resources and to find alternatives. Work recently developed for Defra identified that UK business could save over £6 billion by adopting resource efficiency measures that cost nothing or would pay back within a year.

Defra is already committed to raising business awareness of resource efficiency via the ‘Saving Money, It’s Your Business’ campaign and the booklet ‘Can You Afford Not to?’ Defra's Sustainable Business Resource Efficiency (SBRE) team is keen to build on the good work that has been conducted to date. This project will therefore identify the resources posing the greatest risk to specific business sectors because of anticipated threats to their availability. The results will enable Defra to engage efficiently with individual sectors.
This project has 2 high-level aims:
1. To identify those resource issues which represent the greatest threats and opportunities for UK businesses; in the short, medium and long-term (20 plus years); and
2. To assemble data on the nature and scale of those threats and opportunities in order to provide a stronger evidence base for the business case for resource efficiency, as outlined in the project background.

Project Objectives
In order to tackle Aim 1, the following work areas should be covered:

1. Identification of those resources currently used by UK businesses (either within the UK or overseas in their supply chains), which may directly or indirectly pose a future threat to business through:
o scarcity;
o insecurity of supply (e.g. resulting from geo-political instability); and
o variability of price.

2. Analysis of the scenarios and trends in sector size, business resource use and consumer demand that may affect the availability of resources in the future (e.g. changes in technology and innovation, or expected growth of the fuel cell industry);

3. Identification of any resources which are likely to become more or less available over a 20+ year timescale;

4. Identification and analysis of UK business’ current perspective of the present and future demands on the resources they use and their understanding of the risks, opportunities and threats (including a sectoral breakdown); and

5. Based on Objectives 1-4 above, identification of the sectors most at risk, i.e. which sectors use the identified resources in quantity, or perceive themselves to be at risk? This should include resources used both directly within the manufacturing or service-provision process, and those used indirectly within the wider supply chain.

In order to tackle Aim 2, the results from Objectives 1-5 should be used to undertake the following work areas:

6. Analysis of the potential impact of these resource threats on the future viability of the identified ‘at risk’ sectors;
o What are the timescales associated with these threats? 5 years? 10 years? More than 20?
o What area(s) of the supply chain are these threats most likely to impact on?
o Are there viable alternative (current or future) resources that could be used as substitutes? What are the implications of this?

7. Analysis of the potential economic and competitiveness impacts of these resource risks and opportunities on a UK economy level;

8. Analysis of the opportunities to business from more sustainable use of resources in the short, medium and long term, along with the key sectors and potential impact of these opportunities;

9. Analysis of the direct effects of climate and population changes on the results from above; and

10. Analysis of the potential advantages of early action by businesses.
Project Documents
• Final Report : FULL REPORT - A Review of Resource Risks to Business and an Assessment of Future Viability   (1480k)
• Executive Summary : SUMMARY FOR BUSINESS - Review of Resource Risks to Business and an Assessment of Future Viability   (252k)
• Final Report - Annex : ANNEX A - Scoring Methodology   (220k)
• Final Report - Annex : ANNEX B - Prioritisation Matrix   (185k)
• Final Report - Annex : ANNEX C - Literature Review Resource Information   (579k)
• Final Report - Annex : ANNEX D - Interview Transcripts   (679k)
• Final Report - Annex : ANNEX E - Workshop Summaries   (214k)
• Other : CASE STUDIES - Source Information   (72k)
• Other : CASE STUDY 1 - Tarmac   (353k)
• Other : CASE STUDY 2 - Toyota   (236k)
• Other : CASE STUDY 3 - Palm Oil   (330k)
• Other : CASE STUDY 4 - Umicore   (302k)
• Other : CASE STUDY 5 - Lucite   (257k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2010

Cost: £105,578
Contractor / Funded Organisations
AEA Technology
Fields of Study
Sustainable Consumption and Production