The president of technology company Bosch has told UK business leaders that the environment is an innovation challenge, not a threat.
Delivering the the opening address of the Bosch Forum at the House of Lords in London today, Peter Fouquet said that the company regarded the environment as a key driver of future profitability.
“We see significant economic opportunities in ecological challenges for the future because they require not less, but more sophisticated and advanced technology.”
Mr Fouquet said Bosch was making considerable investment in environmental technology and urged other businesses to follow its lead.
“We currently invest 45% of our research and development budget in technologies that help protect the environment and conserve resources. A good third of our sales are now generated by these products.”
Mr Fouquet also urged businesses to think laterally, outside of their own sectors to find solutions. “We can combine know-how from different areas of industry to find environmental solutions. For example, the use of lithium-ion batteries in mobile phones grew to lithium-ion batteries being used in power tools and lawn mowers and this battery and hybrid technology is starting to drive road vehicles.”
Highlighting increasing consumer awareness, Mr Fouquet said the time was right for business to plan for an oil-free future. “We must continue to build on consumer awareness of environmental technologies and put in place the right framework to support growth and produce products that reduce our impact on the environment.”
He added: “The winners will be those companies who embrace the technology challenge presented by climate change and our environmental considerations to innovate and find solutions to the greatest threat we face as custodians of the planet.”
Mr Fouquet’s remarks were backed by the government’s chief scientific adviser David MacKay, who highlighted the cost issue as a major barrier to entry for consumers. “Engineering will be the key to success. There is a need for innovation to bring down the cost of many products, which in turn will enable consumers to invest in the technology that can reduce their own carbon footprint.”