British bosses feel UK losing to Germany in green growth

Britain’s business leaders believe the UK is lagging behind Germany in the race to capitalise on green business opportunities. A Carbon Trust investigation reveals that many top UK decision makers […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Britain’s business leaders believe the UK is lagging behind Germany in the race to capitalise on green business opportunities.

A Carbon Trust investigation reveals that many top UK decision makers believe Germany is better prepared than Britain to take advantage of the £3.2 trillion global environmental market.

The research coincides with the launch of a new Carbon Trust ‘Green Growth’ campaign backed by business leaders, including the bosses of Kingfisher, Aviva and GE.

Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said: “Green growth is the only show in town. No other sector can drive the recovery. 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 the economics of boom and bust. We cannot afford to carry on as we did before.

“Businesses need to look beyond the short-term financial reporting cycle and place some smart, early bets on the future. Otherwise the cost, both to the UK’s economy and to the environment will be too great to ignore.”

The Carbon Trust survey found that while 92% of bosses believe green growth represents an opportunity for their business, only a third are actually investing money in the research and development of green products and services.

Of those surveyed, the greatest numbers of bosses – 34% – believe that of all the nations, Germany is best prepared to benefit from green growth, whereas the UK is lagging far behind, with only one in eight citing the UK as the most prepared nation.

The Carbon Trust research suggests that “leadership” is vital to any company seeking to take advantage of growth in the green economy. Three in four decision makers citing this as the number one requirement.

The majority of business leaders questioned – 77% – state that the key benefit of ‘going green’ is to enhance their corporate reputation.

However, a third say that that having a “sustainable” business plan can actually increase profits.

The environmental and low carbon market is worth over £112bn a year in the UK and employs over 900,000 people. It is forecast to grow by 25% over the next four years.

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