Energy efficiency and innovation key to green recovery

Tackling existing inefficiencies and developing technologies that reduce the environmental impact of business will need to be at the heart of any green economic recovery, according to the CBI.

The organisation, which represents big business in the UK, has said that the right Government policy, IT systems and training for the next generation of workers will also be key ingredients.

Speaking at an event organised by consumer electronics group Intellect on Monday, the CBI’s director of business environment, Neil Bentley, said that getting to a thriving low-carbon economy would be a long, hard slog but was necessary.

“Green innovation is the key to pulling us out of the downturn, meeting our climate change commitments [and] securing our energy supply,” he said.

Energy efficiency is a no brainer in the tough economic climate, he said, as cutting down on a waste of resources would save companies money while reducing their environment impact.

He warned against using the recession as an excuse not to invest in R&D and singled out priority areas such as transport, IT and making utility networks like the national grid and mains water supply smarter.

The potential benefits of new business practices like remote working and virtual offices were among the IT solutions he considered worth exploring.

Efforts also need to be made to encourage more students to take courses in science and engineering to ensure the workforce has the necessary skills to drive a green technological surge, he added.

Dr Bentley said that the CBI’s lobbying priority this year would be pushing for policies that supported a green recovery.

“If we are to be successful, and if low-carbon technology is indeed to lead us to recovery, we need the right policy framework to encourage energy efficiency, make low-carbon technology a national priority, and develop a skilled workforce, as a matter of urgency,” he said.

“It is not a question of whether technology is pulling its weight – it has to pull its weight in the fight again climate change.

Green innovation is the key to pulling us out of the downturn, meeting our climate change commitments, securing our energy supply and leading us to a low-carbon economy.”

Sam Bond

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