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How To Be Green & Grow? UK Manufacturers Question Green Growth Policies

Posted By Paul Tate, September 13, 2011 at 10:10 AM, in Category: Sustainability

In a week when global food and household goods giant Unilever proudly announced it has achieved ‘zero landfill’ across all its 11 UK manufacturing plants, Britain’s manufacturing industry group, the EEF, has raised serious questions about whether current UK government green policies are actually holding back industry growth.

This is not an anti-green campaign. Far from it. The EEF’s new report, Green and Growth, celebrates the fact that the number of UK manufacturing firms taking action to reduce carbon emissions has risen 30% to 84% since 2009, and 80% of UK companies are also investing in greater energy, resource or waste efficiency.

The problem is that while the UK government wants manufacturing to play a bigger role in the economy, manufacturers believe that bad environmental policies are driving up costs for companies which “they simply do not face elsewhere”, and hence reducing their ability to compete.

In fact around 75 per cent of the companies in the survey say they now believe inefficient and burdensome climate change and carbon policies will damage the competitiveness of UK businesses, and half of the respondents reckon there are better incentives in energy efficiency and low carbon technologies abroad.

The latest report is being seen as the first volley in a new Green and Growth Campaign among the UK manufacturing community to create a simpler approach to green government regulations. “We believe in an approach to environmental policy that helps companies meet their environmental responsibilities in an effective way, allows manufacturers to remain competitive and encourages the UK to become a world leader in environmental technologies,” says the EEF.

So, over the next few months the UK manufacturing group intends to:

  • push government to reduce the complexity, burden and cost of environmental regulation
  • argue for steps to ensure that the UK has secure and competitively priced energy supplies
  • campaign for measures to help companies develop, produce and commercialize green technologies in the UK

"If we’re going to do better, then we need to think and act differently. We need to see a wholesale shift to a more sustainable approach to climate change and ways of achieving this," argues the EEF’s director of policy Steve Radley.

Over to you Mr. Cameron.

Does your company want to get greener, but is finding poor regulations are hindering your efforts?

Is it time for governments to update their environmental laws to reflect new knoweldge, better methods, and the potential of new green technologies?

Category: Sustainability
Written by Paul Tate

Paul Tate is Research Director and Executive Editor with Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Board of Governors, the Council's annual Critical Issues Agenda, and the Manufacturing Leadership Research Panel. Follow us on Twitter: @MfgExecutive


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