IEMA says sustainability skills are key to success of Osborne's productivity plan

29th July 2015

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Samuel Henry Williams

The UK Treasury published its productivity report, Fixing the foundations: creating a more prosperous nation, in July.

IEMA offered words of welcome for the government’s ambition to place skills at the centre of the plan. However, the institute voiced concern over several other issues in the report, such as the apparent end of the commitment to zero-carbon homes.

IEMA’s chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter, believes the plan will provide significant opportunities to build sustainability into the UK’s skills base. However, he expressed disappointment that the report does not explicitly highlight the opportunities for sustainability skills. Previous IEMA research has found that only 13% of organisations are fully confident that they have enough of these skills to compete in a sustainable economy.

“While the Treasury’s plan does not specifically highlight sustainability skills, the need for the UK to develop the higher level of skills required for its long-term success is brought into clear focus,” said Baxter. “The plan provides huge opportunities for mainstreaming sustainable thinking across the UK economy. Moves to deliver three million apprenticeships and register technology institutes with professional bodies have the potential to significantly enhance the reach of sustainability skills needed to deliver UK businesses the growth opportunities inherent in a sustainable economy.”

However, the government’s decision not to proceed with the zero carbon allowable solutions carbon offsetting scheme or the proposed 2016 increase in onsite energy efficiency standards puts at risk sustained progress on implementing low-carbon initiatives, says IEMA. The institute believes this is a backward step that will frustrate and disappoint green leaders in industry who have been working towards previous targets. It also notes that the “reliable and low carbon” energy commitments in the report fail to mention the importance of the UK’s growing wind industry.


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