Well-designed green regulations support business growth, study finds
The economic benefits of strong environmental regulations far outweigh the associated compliance costs, a new report from the Aldersgate Group has concluded.
The study, which draws on expert insights in the waste, building and car industries, finds that well-designed green regulations can help deliver news jobs, investment in innovation and skills, high-quality products and infrastructure, and strong business competitiveness.
It highlights various examples of regulations driving economic growth. The report notes the 4,000 jobs created in the construction supply chain since 2015 thanks to the London Plan for building planning applications.
The Landfill tax is also praised for driving investment in new waste infrastructure such as waste recovery and recycling facilities, while slashing the amount of waste sent to landfill by 72% in the past two decades. Meanwhile, a competitive and collaborative car industry has flourished due to the EU vehicle CO2 regulation, the report highlights.
Aldersgate Group executive director Nick Molho noted that the report arrives an important time with both the Government’s Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy promising to drive growth of the UK’s low-carbon industries.
He said: “The Government recognised in the Industrial Strategy White Paper that regulations shouldn’t just be seen as red tape; on the contrary, they can also act as an important tool to support business innovation and competitiveness."
Ambitious, stable, practical
Molho noted that some of the environmental regulations cited in the report suffer from flaws such as poor enforcement and a lack of focus on supply chain skills.
The study offers a number of lessons for policymakers to adopt while devising regulations, such as pitching at the right geographic scale, providing a clear sense of direction and implementing in a way that works with business timescales.
“The challenge ahead will be to ensure that regulations to deliver the UK’s environmental and industrial objectives are sufficiently ambitious, stable, practical and compatible with other policy objectives,” Molho said.
The report comes in the same week as a business coalition including Boot and Kingfisher warned that Brexit could result in a downgrade in domestic eco-design standards, an increase in the use of dangerous chemicals, and "backsliding" on recycling.