DTI and Defra team up to analyse environmental markets

The economic potential for environmental innovation will be the focus of a new think tank to be jointly chaired by two top ministers.

Climate change and other green issues are storming up the political agenda and are no longer seen as the exclusive property of environmental ministries and, in an example of this, the DTI and Defra are joining forces to look at how practical solutions to mitigate and adapt to changes could bring cash into the UK.

Environment Secretary David Miliband and his counterpart at the DTI, Alistair Darling, are to chair the new Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance which will be made up of representatives from business, NGOs, academia, trade unions and public sector organisations.

The think tank will report to Government next spring, making recommendations on how to boost sectors that can make a significant contribution to environmental outcomes and productivity.

Mr Miliband said: "Climate change is a serious threat but also a business opportunity.
There are jobs and wealth to be created in reducing greenhouse gas missions, as there are in tackling other environmental problems.

"In a world where energy and carbon emissions are constrained, every business must take resource productivity seriously as a source of competitive advantage. Every industry should become an environmental industry - and environmental principles must permeate beyond traditional environmental sectors.

"This Commission will use its diverse expertise to investigate how the environmental goods and services sector might evolve in this direction in future, and the roles of both Government and business in bringing about that transition."

Mr Darling said: "The Stern analysis has made our choice clear: either transform our
economy to reduce our impact on the environment or face a far higher cost if we fail to act until too late.

"The whole world must move to a low carbon economy. This green industrial revolution presents the opportunity for new goods, new services, new capital markets and new jobs. We need to harness the opportunities to make sure British business leads this revolution."

The commission will look at key trends in world markets for environmental products
and services, areas in which the UK has an advantage over would-be competitors, hurdles that could be holding back some sectors and how policy and regulations which could help innovation

Sam Bond



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