UK industrial strategy has to be low carbon and resource efficient, say leading business voices

Wednesday 5 April 2017
UK industrial strategy has to be low carbon and resource efficient, say leading business voices

In a new collection of essays, published by Green Alliance today [1], seven leading business and policy voices, including the director general of the CBI and the deputy general secretary of the TUC, say the government must embed low carbon development and resource efficiency in a truly modern industrial strategy; and that failure to do so risks wasting the opportunities the UK has to capitalise on the green economy.

The strong message from the publication’s contributors is that the government’s plan to boost business productivity, particularly in former industrial communities, must be aligned with UK low carbon energy and resource policies.

There is concern that the government’s initial plans for its industrial strategy, set out in a recent green paper, do not fully recognise the way technology and growing low carbon markets, at home and abroad, are changing.  The government’s consultation on its green paper ends on 17 April.

The director general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, says in her essay that decarbonising the economy and finding opportunities for growth are “two sides of the same coin”.

As Baroness Brown highlights, the UK’s low carbon goods and services sector is already comparable to energy intensive manufacturing and is growing at four to six per cent a year.

Paul Nowak of the TUC says development of new low carbon industry and expertise should be directed at creating new opportunities to replace losses in heavy industry and help to rebalance the UK economy. And the chief executive of Siemens, Juergen Maier, and the chief executive of Transport for the North, David Brown, both emphasise how the north stands to benefit significantly from low carbon, resource efficient growth.

Angela Francis, senior economist at Green Alliance, said:
“We’re delighted to bring together leading voices from business, politics and academia to highlight the strong consensus that exists around putting low carbon development and resource efficiency right at the heart of the vision for a modern productive UK economy.

“The government will need to focus ruthlessly on what will give us competitive advantage in the world post-Brexit and this agenda clearly offers us huge economic opportunities, as well as providing real options for reinventing industry in the North.” [2]


Angela Francis, senior economist, Green Alliance (available for interview) 020 7630 4520

[1] Industrial strategy fit for the future: Perspectives on building a competitive UK economy is published today by Green Alliance
The contributing authors are:
Sir Vince Cable, former secretary of state for business, innovation and skills
Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI
David Brown, chief executive of Transport for the North
Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Committee on Climate Change
Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK and Northern Island and chair of the North West Business Leaders Team
Professor Paul Ekins, director of the Institute of Sustainable Resources at UCL
Paul Nowak, deputy general secretary of the TUC 
[2] Green Alliance launched its industrial strategy report in January 2017. It showcases UK businesses boosting productivity by raising the baseline performance on energy and resource efficiency, future-proofing their businesses by adapting to a low carbon future, and doubling down on the opportunities created by domestic climate policy to build new supply chains in the UK.