Low-carbon agenda is an 'opportunity for economic growth'
Business and government need to work together to reinvent the low-carbon agenda as an opportunity for enterprises to become more efficient and profitable.
That's according to the latest report - Low Carbon, Higher Growth - from the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), which lays out ways in which companies and the Government can develop more pragmatic language, action and incentives around sustainability.
The report suggests that the policy goal of adjusting to a low-carbon economy is 'contentious' and that there are 'numerous battlegrounds' - one of which is economic growth.
Business is used to hearing the green arguments for low carbon, but the Low Carbon, Higher Growth report argues that the same amount of thought should be given to the financial case for reducing emissions.
MCA Think Tank director Paul Connolly said: "The report promotes a better conversation about low carbon. It's not aimed at green enthusiasts as such, but at hard-headed business people, who may harbour doubts about man-made climate change. Frankly, in terms of potential efficiency gains and growth opportunities, there's nothing here that they couldn't sign up to."
MCA chief executive Alan Leaman added: "We hope that this report will provoke debate and action. Many MCA members are already working with their clients to identify and exploit the commercial opportunities that low carbon brings. But many are still being missed. We should seize the economic benefits now."
Recommendations for the Government include:
- Highlighting the benefits of energy service company (ESCO) models to focus on innovative financing methods.
- Collaboratinmg with business leaders to develop new statements which can be factored into how it uses language in ministerial pronouncements, campaigns and other references to low carbon and sustainability.
- Working with consumer groups and business on an information framework for low-carbon manufactures.
- Working with business leaders to identify examples of conspicuous leadership on carbon agenda that have benefitted the project concerned in terms of business opportunity, cost cutting and growth.
- Identifying the characteristics of a pragmatic and genuinely market-orientated green finance and accounting practice.
- Brokering collaboration between business groups and consumer organisations to examine the benefits of innovations in sharing and leasing arrangements.
- Industry leaders should work to identify examples of circularity which might require initial investment support but would realise significant gains in terms of cost reduction.
- Governments should advertise the benefits of circularity in seeking take up by new enterprises of opportunities in tax free environments, looking favourably on applications from circular businesses.
- Planning Guidance from Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) should consist of information on best practice and what to look for in strong proposals, rather than new regulatory requirements.
- The construction industry, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), insurers and other finance providers should work together to overcome any administrative burdens associated with the reuse of existing materials in new build.