There is considerable capacity for sector growth, for increasing tonnages and improved accuracy for reporting. By developing data collection skills across the sector, CEW will be able to provide Welsh Government with a clearer picture of the contribution social reuse organisations make to Wales’ sustainability targets.
The reuse sector is made of ‘disparate stakeholders’ (see Beasley and Georgeson, Reuse in the UK and Ireland (2016)), and there is a “lack of any standardised data collection protocols and challenges around developing robust methodologies to measure wider social value of reuse activities”. There are numerous examples of good reuse practice in Wales but there is no current coordinated programme or strategy to increase reuse rates in a joined-up way and towards a common goal. Addressing this presents an opportunity to invest in the People Circular Economy.
The recently published Reuse Roadmap for Wales, produced by consultants Resource Futures, identifies that local authorities use their local social enterprises to advance reuse capture, we can see in the data collected that there is much work to do if we’re to see this recommendation adopted. CEW has found that less than half of the sector have contracts with their local authorities, with just 3 out of 24 respondents being in receipt of local government grants.
Wales’s Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, said at the Hay on Wye Festival (May 2019), that if the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act is to be fulfilled, Wales’s Public sector structures and ways of financing its aims require a radical structural overhaul if Wales’s Carbon Reduction and One Planet Living goals are to be progressed. If local authorities find that some of Wales’s Social PfR organisations are too small as delivery agents to help fulfil statutory requirements, then the time has come for specialist coordinated development, for consortia approaches, bulking hubs and/or storage sites being provided.
Collaboration is there to be brokered with industry specialists, local authorities leads, suppliers and supply chain specialists. According to the Reuse Roadmap for Wales, with coordinated planning and support the social PfR sector in Wales has the potential to deliver 1,190 jobs (FTEs) worth £23,700,000, with an additional 379 volunteers between 2019-2050.
This has the potential to further expand with the diversification of services and the development of a mutual credit system.