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Small Business News - 5th July 2012

CBI Backs Green Business Growth

The colour of growth: maximising the potential of green businessCBI Chief, John Cridland, has today said that the Government needs to realise that it does not have to make a choice between either "going green" or "going for growth".

Launching the CBI's latest report at a speech in the City of London, the Director-General said that the two issues of green and growth are not seperate but go hand-in-hand, saying that:

“Good green policy has to be good industrial policy too.”

The CBI report, The colour of growth: maximising the potential of green business calls for Downing Street to adopt a policy toward energy and climate change that is both smarter and more consistent - A simple strategic policy framework that builds confidence and boosts competitiveness.

Research in the report indicates that the UK has the ability to become a global leader in the environmental business, particularly in low-carbon products and services. Green businesss in this country could be worth an additional estimated £20 billion toward GDP within the next three years, the report adds.

“The so-called “choice” between going green or going for growth is a false one. We are increasingly hearing that politicians are for one or the other, when in reality, with the right policies in place, green business will be a major pillar of our future growth.”

“With something like a third of all our growth accounted for by green business last year, the UK could be a global front-runner in the shift to low-carbon. In the search for growth, we’re digging for goldmines – and one of them is green.”

“Get our energy and climate change policies right, and we can add £20bn extra to our economy and knock £0.8bn off the trade gap, all within the lifetime of this Parliament.”

The value of green growth

Whilst the rest of the UK economy struggles with growth the country's share in the the £3.3 trillion global green market grew at a rate of 2.3% - That's currently worth £122 billion to the UK economy.

Green business activity accounts for the employment of nearly 1 million people across the UK with two thirds of that work coming in to London and the South East of England.

Goods and services produced by the green sector are apparently "strong contributors" to UK trade figures and the most promising moves have been with China which buys 7% of the UK's green exports. According to the CBI's figures this continued green business could quite possibly cut the country's trade deficit in half within the next two years.

By continuing to pursue investment in a low-carbon energy future the report also believes that it will reduce the UK's reliance on fossil fuels from abroad thereby redcuing its exposure to global energy price changes.

Mr Cridland said:

“The UK has made a great start tapping into green economic opportunities but mixed signals from the Government are setting the UK back. If we can’t be sure that the policies of today will still be the policies of tomorrow, we simply won’t build business and consumer confidence or secure the investment we need.

“We must cut green tape and pay attention to competitiveness. There is no need to create losers in the low-carbon transition, but at the moment we are endangering our energy-intensive businesses. If we don’t take a smarter policy approach, not only will we miss out on growth opportunities, we could also undermine the very industries that should be at the heart of our low-carbon economy.”

The CBI is warning that the Government's current attitude is putting the UK's green business sector at risk, and threatens to cost the country up to £400 million in exports.

Mr Cridland added:

“Good green policy has to be good industrial policy too. We should work out where we can be world leaders, and focus on building our competitiveness and getting into those supply chains.”

“There is a role for the Government to directly leverage investment in priority areas. The Green Investment Bank is a great idea, and we should get it borrowing as soon as public finances allow. But it’s not the only show in town, and green investments should also be good candidates for Treasury tools, such as credit enhancement.”

To conclude, John Cridland gave the Government ten recommendations on green business:

  1. Maintain the UK's green ambition
  2. Play a strong green role in Europe and across the globe
  3. Establish a clear & stable market framework
  4. Work to stimulate new green consumer markets
  5. Cut "green tape"
  6. Roll out a decarbonisation policy across all industry sectors
  7. Build upon the UK's current strengths
  8. Leverage green investments
  9. Empower the Green Investment Bank
  10. Develop an "intellectual infrastructure"

For the full report see The colour of growth: maximising the potential of green business.

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