From industrial strategies to green taxonomies: Businesses outline policy wishlist for next Government

Aldersgate Group: "The UK's green economy has shown resilience, emerging as a key driver of growth."

The publication, dubbed as ‘programme for government’, lays out several suggestions ahead of the general election this year, aimed at speeding up the expansion of the nation’s low-carbon sector and reinforcing the UK’s leading role in the face of rising global competition for green investment.

Supporters of the publication include Ikea, Triodos Bank UK, Openreach, Ramboll UK, JLL, Santander, Finance Earth, Energy Saving Trust, IEMA, RSPB and SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK amongst others.

The key recommendations encompass streamlining the planning system to expedite the deployment of renewable energy projects, establishing a long-term industrial strategy centred on decarbonisation and fully implementing the 2023 Green Finance Strategy, which provides a plan to make UK the world’s first ‘net-zero financial centre’.

Additionally, the roadmap emphasises the importance of creating a UK Green Taxonomy and implementing measures to enhance energy efficiency, decarbonise transportation, preserve natural habitats and cultivate the necessary skills for a low-carbon workforce.

Green finance taxonomies outline which kinds of investments national or regional governments consider ‘green’, and which they do not. The UK first promised such a taxonomy in 2021 and the need for one has become increasingly clear since the EU launched its own version.

Aldersgate Group’s executive director Rachel Solomon Williams said: “The next government will face significant systemic challenges, from economic stagnation to geopolitical disruption.

“Acting to lower emissions and drive green investment in the UK will be crucial to addressing these problems in a way that boosts prosperity across the country.

“Businesses are ready to invest in the transition, and recognise that it will ultimately create jobs, drive down energy prices, and boost productivity, but they need the right policy landscape.”

Growing demand for policy certainty amidst global net-zero race

As global competition heightens, particularly from the US, which initiated its low-carbon growth plan two years prior, the EU, currently prioritising climate policy advancements ahead of elections, and China, dominating the clean energy sector, the Aldersgate Group stresses the urgency for the UK government to implement policies that draw green investment.

Earlier this year, research found that nearly two-thirds of UK energy companies have either shifted or intend to shift investments away from the UK to a market with supportive policies for their sustainability goals, risking a potential £115bn investment.

The Group highlights that despite policy, regulation and investment challenges, the UK’s green economy has shown resilience, emerging as a key driver of growth.

Recent ECIU research found that the low-carbon sector expanded by 9% in 2023, contrasting with the wider economy’s 0.1% growth during the same period. Currently, businesses engaged in the sector contribute £74bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy.

The recommendations highlight clear priorities that, if pursued, have the potential to stimulate job growth, bolster energy security and catalyse investment nationwide, as per the coalition.

Ikea’s chief executive Peter Jelkeby said: “This ‘programme for government’ makes clear the opportunities for business, the wider economy and for society to reap huge benefits from the drive towards net-zero.

“To ensure we’re able to deliver a just transition, we need Government to set out a clear, consistent vision and approach, which protects not only the business landscape but consequently our environmental landscape too.”

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