Making East Dunbartonshire’s economy fairer, greener and more resilient
There has been a lot of discussion lately on how we can ‘build back better’ from the effects of the pandemic and fix the inherited flaws in our economic model, which has been critiqued as being socially and environmentally unsustainable and too focused on growth as the main measure of success. One of the ideas for making this change, which is emphasised in the Scottish Government’s current policies on economic recovery, is the concept of a Wellbeing Economy. In a Wellbeing Economy, the objective is to balance the interests of businesses with the wellbeing of people and the environment in a mutually supportive way.
East Dunbartonshire has adopted this ideology into its own Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) by setting out actions which not only support a return to economic activity, but also address inequality and support the transition to net zero. One of the key actions in the ERP is to create a Circular Economy Strategy for East Dunbartonshire. The Circular Economy Strategy will set out actions for moving from an unsustainable linear economy (where things are produced, used, and then disposed of) to one where materials are kept in use for longer to reduce waste and extract maximum value.
How does a Circular Economy work?
Making the economy more circular is a vital step in the journey towards a system in which sustainability and fairness are prioritised alongside traditional measures of economic success. Reducing resource extraction, pollution and waste will lessen the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, but can also be good for businesses by reducing costs, driving innovation and opening up new markets. It also encourages local businesses, anchor organisations and communities to support each other by sourcing goods and materials locally.
Introducing circular practices does not have to mean making radical changes to every aspect of how a business functions. There are many examples where businesses have made small but impactful changes, such as: switching to reusable or recyclable product packaging; collecting containers or obsolete products from customers at the end of their lifecycle so materials can be reused; switching to local suppliers to reduce emissions; and partnering with other businesses to find uses for waste materials.
East Dunbartonshire Circular Economy Strategy
The Circular Economy Strategy (CES) will set out how the Council as an organisation will make its own processes more circular and meet its net zero targets and also how the Council and its community partners will support businesses to become more circular. Additionally, it is an opportunity to highlight what local businesses and organisations are already doing to reduce their environmental impact and work towards net zero.
Although the Circular Economy Strategy will be an independent project, it is closely related to the ongoing work on the Council’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). The initial public consultation for the CAP took place in Spring 2021, and the business survey is still available online for you to share what your business is doing to become more sustainable and also highlight any barriers or challenges that you may have come up against with regards to making your business greener.
Further engagement activities for the Circular Economy Strategy will be kicking off later this year, and will include online events to gather input from local businesses and community stakeholders.