CIWM President criticises absence of waste in COP26 agenda

Dr Adam Read, President of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), has criticised the ‘lack of resources and waste representation’ throughout the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Denouncing the absence of the waste industry across the programme as a ‘critical oversight’, Read has urged global leaders to recognise the part the recycling and resource management sector has to play in underpinning efforts towards decarbonisation.

COP26 GlasgowThe President of the CIWM went on to state that the industry has been ‘overlooked and left with no seat at the table’, in spite of his assertion that waste and resource management provide an integral force behind the achievement of global targets for delivering net zero and assuaging worldwide temperature increase.

Adam Read continued: “Whilst we welcome the recent publication of the UK government’s net zero strategy and recognise COP26 is a fantastic opportunity to get global, coordinated action on climate change, the fact resources and waste has to all intents and purposes been left off the agenda has me completely stumped.

“In 2018, sector activities resulted in almost 50 million tonnes of CO2e emissions being avoided across the economy – the equivalent to taking 10 million cars off British roads.

“Creating a circular economy and a world beyond waste – where resource efficiency is maximised, the waste hierarchy adhered to, and our materials put back to use – could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 39 per cent. The fact that the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 hasn’t fully recognised the integral part the resources and waste sector has to play in helping to reach net zero targets, not just in the UK, but globally, is a critical oversight on their part.”

In the wake of the criticism, several ‘fringe’ events have been organised to take place around the nation, devoted to providing the resource management sector with a platform to affirm its role within the achievement of global net zero targets. The events are to be reported by CIWM, both on its online publication and its social channels, and will cover an array of topics, including public engagement and the need to accelerate behavioural change.