Fortunes will be made from enviro tech - Minister

The environmental sector has the potential to create the next Bill Gates, according to Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling.

Speaking at the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Forum last Friday, Mr Darling continued to promote the Government's position that environmental policy and economic progress were joined at the hip.

He told delegates that climate change represented one of the biggest challenges facing the business community, and society as a whole, and solving the problems it posed could provide massive economic opportunities.

"There are huge opportunities waiting to be seized that will be good for business while being good for the world in which we live," he said.

"Today we tend to think of energy, water and waste, as the main areas of environmental industry, but tomorrow every industry will need to become an environmental industry."

He said that Nicholas Stern's review (see related story) of the likely economic impacts of climate change had shown that we needed to find a new way of running our economy and that for every process which currently emitted carbon we would have to find a replacement which did not.

"It is perhaps the greatest opportunity to ever face a generation of entrepreneurs," said the Minister.

"We must help our young entrepreneurs to make a career out of saving the world.

"Bill Gates better than anyone else exploited the opportunities of the Digital Age. The next Bill Gates will be the entrepreneur who defines the new green industries. And we want the solutions to be stamped made in Britain."

He acknowledged that relatively high wages meant the UK could not compete with manufacturing hubs like China but when it came to innovation and ideas, Britain could stay ahead of the pack.

The Minister ended his pep talk for the environmental technology sector saying: "The UK As the world moves to a low carbon economy, we should aspire for it to be British entrepreneurs and companies inventing the techniques and products we will need and creating the jobs and economic success of tomorrow."

Sam Bond



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