Speaking at Sustainable Business – the Event the head of the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) and the chief researcher for the Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS) gave their thoughts on the financial implications of inaction in the face of climate change and how businesses can adopt sustainability principles to lead them out of recession.

Adrian Wilkes, chief executive of the EIC, spoke about how Europe could benefit from being the first mover in environmental technologies, as global industry struggles to keep up with ever-tougher standards required by governments around the world.

“High environmental standards are very good for the economy,” he said.

“We’re in unchartered waters economically. The toxic liabilities within the world’s banking system now amount to $4 trillion worth of toxic debt [but] we’ve also got this huge ecological problem.

“But there are actually opportunities. We’re in a period of transition and our economy is going to have to transition to a low carbon economy and that is going to create opportunities.

“The environmental market is already a $3 trillion market worldwide, so that’s a lot of business for British companies to aim to grab.”

Stephanie Meier, head of research at EIRIS, spoke about appealing to investors.

She spoke about makes climate change so special from an investors perspective and what they are for, and also why disclosure on climate change is so important.

“First and foremost it’s really the magnitude of the impacts and the challenge that’s facing everyone,” she said.

“The fiscal impacts and economic impacts are enormous and part of that is underlined by the fact that a number of the recent stimulus packages that governments are coming out with around the world include this green new deal concept.”

Sam Bond

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