South West businesses risk losing out on the green growth

Published on Friday, 25 February 2011 14:34
Posted by Scott Buckler

Companies in the South West need to develop greener products and services if they are to profit from the power of the green economy, says the Carbon Trust as it launches its ‘Green Growth’ campaign in Bristol

The Carbon Trust commissioned independent research which found that:

  •     while more businesses in the South West see green growth as an opportunity (67%) compared to the rest of the UK
  •     And over three quarters recognise the business benefits an enhanced ‘green’ reputation can bring to their organisation (76%)
  •     fewer than 1 in 3 are actively developing greener products and services (30%)
  •     and two thirds do not have an annual plan to reduce carbon emissions (65%)

Some local businesses however are already enjoying growth in the low carbon economy, including the Bristol-based tidal energy developer, Marine Current Turbines, and accountancy software specialists, Benchmark Software, in Somerset.

Marine Current Turbines is one of the UK’s leading firms in developing tidal stream energy. It installed and is operating the world’s first commercial scale, grid-connected tidal stream energy system in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough, in 2008. The turbine has already exceeded 1,000 hours of operation, a first for any marine energy device. With investment from public and private sources including from the Carbon Trust and Siemens Energy, Marine Current Turbines (MCT) is set to deploy the first commercial tidal energy farm in UK waters by 2013.

Benchmark Software is one of the first small businesses in the UK to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for successfully measuring its carbon footprint, using the Carbon Trust Standard’s online assessment service.  It is now using this experience to integrate carbon measurement into its customer offering.

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.

Martin Wright, Managing Director of MCT said:

“The wave and tidal energy sector has tremendous potential for creating skilled jobs and high-value exports for the South West and UK as a whole; based on the fact that we’re all moving into a low carbon economy. But these opportunities aren’t limited to alternative energy specialists. All businesses can benefit from the green economy if they take the initiative today, rather than regret what could have been, tomorrow.

Simon Harvey, Managing Director of Benchmark Software said:

“Even for small enterprises such as ours there are rewards to be had for those with the foresight to plan for green growth, by building greener products and services into their core service offering.  It’s not just about cost-cutting and reputation enhancement.  The green economy provides real opportunities for those prepared to innovate to increase their revenue and secure a sustainable, profitable future.”

A number of other business leaders from around the country 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.

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Research and Development Manager, 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 South West 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 South West are taking steps to cut energy costs (67%) and comply with low carbon regulations (59%). However these are tactical manoeuvres.  Just 1 in 3 of the business decision-makers polled reports having a business strategy in place for green growth (31%).

 

Source: ©Carbon Trust

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