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Fine Gael wants to hear your views on how we can remove environmental damage from supply chains

4th January 2022 - Richard Bruton TD

Fine Gael’s Policy Lab wants to hear from you to better understand how we can make changes to help take the environmental damage out of the supply chain of our lives.

Deputy Richard Bruton said, “We have unconsciously developed many poor habits embedded in the buildings we live in, the food we eat, the clothes we dress in, and the equipment we surround ourselves with. These industries have unwittingly baked in very bad patterns which nature can no longer absorb.

“The Fine Gael Policy Lab is asking you to complete a survey which will help benchmark where we stand and identify the barriers to change.

“Internationally, Ireland is way out of line in terms of the waste we produce. Compared to the EU average, we:

  • Use 60% more materials,
  • Generate 60% more Greenhouse gases,
  • Create 22% more municipal waste.

“We also reuse only 1.6% of materials after their original use, and export 75% of material collected for recycling.

“This level of material usage and waste is far more than nature can replenish. Building on the baseline of information from the survey, the plan of the Policy Lab is to conduct detailed workshops on the key sectors such as food, construction, fast fashion, and vehicles and appliances. We want to bring together consumers, enterprises and experts so we can redesign the unintended consequences of a Take, Make, Discard supply chain.

“Ireland’s food sector is a key arena for improvement, especially since we export 90% of our production and want to be paid a premium by demonstrating sustainable supply chains. While the Irish food sector is quite carbon efficient, by international standards, it could do a lot better.

“The sector wastes 1.1 million tonnes of food, about a quarter of all consumption, and the carbon equivalent of a million extra diesel cars on the road. It uses 66% of the plastic packaging. Half the compostable waste that it generates is not composted. It is only if everyone works together across the sector, from farm to fork, will this be reversed.

“Construction is set to enter a big growth phase in Ireland, and we now have the chance ‘to build back better’. The sector already uses two thirds of non-renewable materials absorbed by the economy, and only recycles 9% of its waste. The industry also makes very little use of natively grown timber which could act as a store of carbon, but instead relies on cement with its enormous emissions.

“Policies don’t make enough effort to promote high utilisation, flexible use, repurposing of buildings, restoration of vacant or derelict buildings, nor quality design for compact living. The supply chain is complex, involving designers, founders, planners, auctioneers and residents whose interests are often poorly aligned.

“This issue runs deeper than shaking the addiction to fossil fuels or watching the carbon inventory of our producers. The Circular Economy embraces consumers and producers as partners in rethinking how we live,” concluded Deputy Bruton.

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