HC Deb 21 January 2003 vol 398 cc219-20W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with industries dependent on unsustainable activities to encourage a transition to more sustainable ways of earning their living. [90622]

Mr. Meacher

Promoting sustainable business is a key objective of the UK Government's Sustainable Development Strategy 'A Better Quality of Life'. It has been highlighted as a priority in recent reports from the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit covering Resource Productivity, Energy and Waste. Encouraging sustainable consumption and production was also one of the key concerns at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Engaging with UK business forms an integral part of all of this work. Ministers and officials have frequent contact with business leaders through advisory bodies such as the Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment (ACBE), the Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment (ACCPE), the Trades Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee (TUSDAC), and the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC).

We have been working closely with business in the development and introduction of a range of initiatives, including the Climate Change Levy and its associated negotiated agreements, the Emissions Trading Scheme, and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

We also engage with business in the course of work on Government sponsored support programmes such as Envirowise (which offers advice on waste minimisation), ActionEnergy (which offers advice on energy efficiency) and the Pioneers Group' (which provides practical advice to sectoral bodies in drawing up sector-wide strategies on sustainable development).

This engagement will continue and expand as we take forward new initiatives, such as the implementation of the Government's Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food, in revising the UK Sustainable Development Strategy, and in responding to the recommendations of the Strategy Unit's report on waste.

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