BY CALUM FRASER
You could never accuse Prince Charles of stealing all the plum jobs. Our future king visited Southwark’s Integrated Waste Management Facility last week.
Prince Andrew is unlikely to have shoulder-barged his older brother aside for that honour.
After all, it doesn’t really compare to an delicate diplomatic delegation to Nassau in the Bahamas and its miles of rolling beaches.
But there was an important reason why HRH was there – private contractors Veolia’s base in Devon Street, off the Old Kent Road, hosted the Waste to Wealth Summit, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network organised it to challenge businesses to reduce waste or turn waste into wealth to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The rubbish summit brought 200 leaders from business, government, academia and civic society to the Southwark Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF), just off the Old Kent Road. Another guest was environment secretary Michael Gove.
TV chef and anti-food waste campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and artist and green campaigner Emily Penn also took part in the event.
They were offered a tour of the site, during which they could learn what happens to recyclables after collection and how Veolia uses technology to separate materials before processing.
The prince delivered a keynote address to outline the urgent need to tackle the resource issue in the UK and explain why business is best placed to meet this challenge.
Mr Gove, who did not publicly discuss how he will vote on Brexit next month, said how the government will support businesses which are stepping up to the recycling challenge.
Gavin Graveson, Executive Vice-President OR Veolia UK & Ireland, said: “As the impact on our natural world is spiraling out of control, it has never been more pressing to assemble leaders of industry to agree a way forward.
We still have the chance to balance the scales – but this depends on a colossal effort of business. The next generation could look back at the magnitude of mistreatment our environment has received or how we were its saviours.
“The value from and importance of waste needs to be realised if the UK is to become a beacon of green light and resource powerhouse.
Cllr Richard Livingstone, Cabinet Member for environment, transport management and air quality, said: “Southwark council is proud to have the best recycling rates in Inner London.
This is because we are constantly working to drive up recycling and our long-standing partnership with Veolia has enabled long-term investment; this means we can recycle and recover as much as possible, while keeping costs down.
“However, this achievement would not be possible without the people who live in Southwark and their efforts to clean and separate recyclables from general waste.”
At the event leaders committed doubling the nation’s resource productivity and reducing avoidable waste by 2030.