Green growth holds the key to West Midlands’ recovery
But businesses must act to convert ‘potential’ into ‘profits’
Green economy is set to grow by 25% in next four years
Yet just 1 in 5 local businesses recognise opportunity to boost profits
And only 1 in 4 are investing in greener products and services
Companies in the West Midlands need to wake up to the power of the green economy to promote sustainable growth and economic recovery, says the Carbon Trust as it launches its ‘Green Growth’(1) campaign in Birmingham today.
The Carbon Trust commissioned independent research which found that:
- while most business decision-makers in the West Midlands recognise that they can save money by being more sustainable (54%)
- only around 1 in 4 (28%) are actively developing greener products and services
- while less than a third (30%) see it as an opportunity to increase revenue; and
- just over 1 in 5 (22%) see the potential for profit.
Some local businesses however are already enjoying growth in the low carbon economy, including Telford-based Schneider Electric and Kenilworth-based Aeristech.
Schneider Electric is a Carbon Trust Standard Bearer and global specialist in energy management. Aeristech is a world leader in breakthrough engine turbocharging technology to reduce emissions and increase power efficiency in the automotive and energy generating sectors.
These innovative companies are backing the new ‘Green Growth’ campaign by urging local businesses to place sustainability at the heart of their operations and capitalise on the £112 billion UK environmental market which is forecast to grow by 25% by 2015 (2).
Bryn Richards, CEO of clean technology pioneers, Aeristech said: “The West Midlands is well-placed to prosper within the low carbon economy because of the quality of its manufacturing businesses and its universities. Aeristech's growth within the area has been a direct result of the suppliers, consultants and academic experts in the region - who support the development of our low carbon automotive technology. We've seen businesses grow when they invest in the high-quality staff and design to support new products like ours.”
Mark Jones, Energy Manager from Schneider Electric said: “There are tremendous opportunities to be had. To benefit from green growth, however, businesses must take the initiative and be prepared to innovate. This means going beyond cost-cutting and compliance by investing in new greener products and services. The government can certainly help by incentivising low carbon investment but at the end of the day it’s up to individual businesses to be proactive.”
Similarly Mitchells & Butlers (based in Birmingham) and Tarmac (of Wolverhampton) have thrown their weight behind the Carbon Trust’s ‘Green Growth’ campaign by calling on the government to remove regulatory barriers and provide the right incentive to encourage green growth, while recognising that ultimately the responsibility lies with business to show leadership.
Harry Morrison, director, certification and accreditation, the Carbon Trust, said: “The recent quarterly GDP figures will spark new questions on where growth will come from. In my view, green growth is the only show in town. To ensure that the local economy fully benefits from this opportunity, business leaders need to place some smart early bets on the future. That’s why we’re launching a new Green Growth campaign, to help business leaders in the West Midlands to identify and develop appropriate business strategies to exploit the green economy going forward.”
The survey also found that most business decision makers in the West Midlands are taking steps to cut energy costs (74%), the vast majority (80%) recognise the reputational benefits of being green and more business decision makers in this region (38%), than anywhere else in England, would like ‘expert advice on developing green business strategies’.
Kate Bullock, Environmental Advisor for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, added: “Companies of all sizes need to look beyond simply complying with the low carbon regulations and cutting their energy consumption, which is why we are getting behind this Green Growth campaign. The progress of organisations, such as Aeristech and Schneider Electric, demonstrates the ability to succeed in these difficult economic times by investing in the low carbon economy.”
For more information on the Carbon Trust Green Growth Campaign, visithttp://www.carbontrust.co.uk/greengrowth
Other local business leaders championing green growth include:
Adam Fowle, Chief Executive, Mitchells & Butlers
"Our strategy for the next three years is to focus on ensuring that energy efficiency and carbon reduction is a part of our everyday business culture and we are continuing to invest in a number of energy saving projects across the business."
Terry Last, Chief Executive, Tarmac
“Focusing on green growth and developing a lower carbon economy is not only essential for delivering on the UK’s climate change commitments. It is also critical to unlocking important economic opportunities for us all. Certainly we recognise that Tarmac, along with the wider construction industry, has a pivotal role to play in achieving those goals, and, as such, sustainability and delivering a greener, more carbon-efficient future sits firmly at the core of our business strategy. For me these are not empty words. There is a real commitment to continually develop lower-carbon solutions by focusing on whole-life carbon efficiency and supporting our business and customers in working towards a lower carbon future.
Survey conducted on behalf of the Carbon Trust with 55 business people across the West Midlands of England. The Survey ran between 14 December 2010 – 4 January 2011 on the issue of growth in the green economy.
1 Green Growth describes the growth of the Green Economy. The Green Economy is based on the market for environmentally-friendly and low carbon goods and services. It crosses many sectors including energy production, transport, retail, finance, business services, manufacturing and primary industry.
2 Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies.
By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.
We help to cut carbon emissions now by:
Providing specialist advice and finance to help organisations cut carbon
Setting standards for carbon reduction
We reduce potential future carbon emissions by:
Opening markets for low carbon technologies
Leading industry collaborations to commercialise technologies
Investing in early stage low carbon companies