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Building Back Better: Principles for sustainable resource use in a wellbeing economy

A new independent expert group commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland has concluded that we can meet Scotland’s economic, environmental and social needs to overcome Covid-19 and the climate crisis by reducing the nation’s consumption of goods and materials absolutely, rapidly, permanently and fairly. 

July 2020

Governments face a tough balancing act to meet our economic, environmental and social needs in order to overcome Covid-19 and the climate crisis so we can build a stronger, fairer, more sustainable world.

The Green Recovery offers a way to achieve that balance and meet all three interlinked needs simultaneously.

Zero Waste Scotland’s newly established independent expert forum – the Decoupling Advisory Group – has produced a report setting out how the Scottish Government can use resources sustainably within a wellbeing economy.

The Group’s report, in response to the public health crisis, states that to Build Back Better, Scotland must look beyond green growth, because remaining within the limits of Earth’s natural resources is essential to delivering wellbeing for all. 

The Group concluded that this can only be achieved by reducing Scotland’s consumption of goods and materials absolutely, rapidly, permanently and fairly. Switching to the circular economy – Making Things Last by minimising waste and maximising value – is key to making that happen.

Key actions recommended by the Decoupling Advisory Group include:

  • Setting new or expanded targets to reduce consumption-based emissions 
  • Putting the circular economy at the heart of the public sector and the national curriculum
  • Establishing new taxation policies, basic income, universal basic services and job guarantees to strengthen equal access to, and redistribution of, resources
  • Developing national strategies to secure high-risk and critical materials
  • Banning ecologically destructive products or industrial practices
  • Supporting innovative business models encouraging a ‘sharing and giving’ wellbeing economy based on local cooperation and communities instead of competition

Decoupling Advisory Group Summary.

Decoupling Advisory Group Full Report.

The Decoupling Advisory Group is facilitated by Dr Jack Barrie, Circular Economy Policy Analyst, Zero Waste Scotland. Please contact Jack at jack.barrie@zerowastescotland.org.uk if you require any further information about the Decoupling Advisory Group.


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