SoNaRR2020: A regenerative economy with sustainable levels of production and consumption

Our assessment of SMNR aim 4

Wales was a leading part in the first industrial revolution and still bears the scars, including old mine workings, polluted watercourses, intensive agricultural methods and the loss of biodiversity.

Heading into the fourth industrial revolution Wales needs an economy that regenerates ecosystems and replenishes natural resources.

Such an economy would ensure Wales only uses its fair share of the Earth’s resources and meets the well-being goal of A Globally Responsible Wales.

If everyone on Earth used natural resources at the same rate as Wales, 2.5 planets would be needed. This over-consumption of natural resources is putting a strain on ecosystems in Wales and world-wide. Our assessment concludes that Wales is someway from achieving a regenerative economy.

Opportunities for action

To achieve the sustainable management of natural resources (SMNR) aim of 'a regenerative economy' Wales needs more sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

The DISRUPT framework (below) can be used to set out the opportunities for action.

Design for the future

A whole systems approach to product life-cycle design, ensures products can be repaired and re-made to extend the use of natural resources.

Incorporate digital technology

Develop the 'internet of things' (digital technology) to support decarbonisation. Replace the use of physical goods with digital services, such as streaming music.

Sustain and preserve what is already there

Expand and effectively manage the current network of protected areas, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine areas.

Rethink the business model

Encourage sharing, re-use and resale; for example through community fridges and repair cafes. Extend producer responsibility from packaging and electrical goods to other products. Ensure producers fund the full net costs of end of life management and encourage eco-design.

Use waste as a resource

Prioritise regenerative resources

Substitute renewable for non-renewable resources (for example timber for steel, and concrete or bioplastics for petroleum-based plastics).

Team up to create joint value

Work across the public, private and voluntary sectors to reduce material consumption and waste production aligning with Wales’s industrial and innovation policies.

Download the full chapter of SoNaRR the sustainable management of natural resources - aim 4, a regenerative economy