Green growth is economic growth achieved through carbon reduction and sustainability. It pays. Just ask the likes of M&S boss Marc Bolland, Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire or PepsiCo's president, UK & Ireland, Richard Evans. They were among 32 corporate leaders to sign an open letter earlier this year stressing the strategic significance of green growth. Why? Because the low-carbon economy is one of the few sectors that is actually flourishing. The environmental sector is already worth a hefty £3.2trn a year globally, and is set to grow by 25% over the next four years. It currently brings in over £100bn a year to the UK, employing 900,000 people. Green products and services present some of the best new business opportunities around, and are set to play a central role in a healthy and sustainable economic recovery.
Such trends also suggest that anyone who still writes off environmental measures as irrelevant will soon get a wake-up call. Tesco has, for example, just opened zero-carbon stores in Thailand and the Czech Republic. Why? It turns out that taking a proactive approach to carbon reduction can increase profits, save cash, and create new business opportunities in one go. And it's not just for the big boys: SMEs can reap these benefits too. Major players such as IBM and BT increasingly ask that suppliers keep their green credentials up to scratch.
It's no surprise then that the Government has identified green growth as key to the country's economic future, not least for its contribution to exports - £10.8bn in 2008. The business community backs it too. According to a Carbon Trust survey, 75% of corporate leaders believe green growth will create jobs in the UK over the next five years, and the majority feel it will outperform conventional growth in the energy, utilities, transport and automotive sectors over the next 12 months.
'In my view, green growth is the only show in town,' says Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust. 'The consequences of British business failing to grasp this opportunity are almost too horrific to consider: anaemic growth, a jobless recovery and the risk of a return to boom and bust.'
But while 92% of business leaders believe green growth represents an opportunity, only a third are actively investing in low carbon and sustainable goods and services. It may just be time to put their money where their mouth is: tougher periods tend to provide the ideal chance to invest in future prospects. 'The most successful and sustainable firms will be those that embrace green growth wholeheartedly,' says Delay.
For more information about how your business can get on the path to green growth, visit www.carbontrust.co.uk/greengrowth or call 0800 988 3712
HOW GREEN GROWTH CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS
- Reduce your operating costs
- Cut your energy consumption and you'll save on overheads and boost profits. Low and no-cost measures can reduce your energy bills by 20%.
- Increase your sales and develop new income streamsGreen growth.
- Green growth means maximising profits and creating new opportunities, from engaging with new types of customer to diversifying your product range.
- Boost your competitiveness
- Whether B2B or B2C, green growth means fitter firms. In fact, 66% of consumers say it's important to buy from environmentally responsible companies. Think competitive advantage: green growth gets you more business.