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UK behind Germany for green work

UK business leaders believe Germany is better prepared than the UK to take advantage of the £3.2 trillion global environmental market, according to a poll.

The study, commissioned by the Carbon Trust, found that 34 per cent of respondents believe Germany is best prepared to benefit from green growth. Only 13 per cent cited the UK as the most prepared nation.

A total of 707 online surveys were completed with senior decision-makers from companies with at least 50 employees between 14 December 2010 and 4 January 2011.

Among the findings of the survey were:

  • 92 per cent of UK business leaders think green growth presents an opportunity for their business - a third of these also see that there are inherent risks;
  • Only 9 per cent of business leaders think it is likely their companies will seek to benefit from green growth;
  • Only a third of respondents said they are investing money in the research and development of green products and services;
  • Three in four business leaders believe the main advantage of going green is to enhance their reputation;
  • A third of the respondents said having a ‘sustainable’ business plan could increase profits.

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.”

Tarmac chief executive Terry Last said: “Focusing on green growth and developing a lower carbon economy is not only essential for delivering on the UK’s climate change commitments; it is also critical to unlocking important economic opportunities for us all.

“Certainly, we recognise that Tarmac, along with the wider construction industry, has a pivotal role to play in achieving these goals, and, as such, sustainability and delivering a greener, more carbon-efficient future sits firmly at the core of our business strategy.”

The Carbon Trust says the environmental and low-carbon market is worth more than £112bn a year in the UK and employs more than 900,000 people. It is forecast to grow by 25 per cent over the next four years.

The research coincides with the launch of a Carbon Trust ‘Green Growth’ campaign, which is being backed by UK business leaders.


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