Innovation key to green growth

19th February 2013

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Manufacturing ,
  • Life Cycle Analysis ,
  • Ecodesign ,
  • Products ,
  • Management/saving



Susanne Baker from EEF argues that the UK must invest in research and development if it is to compete in the global green goods sector

The UK is the world’s sixth largest producer and provider of low-carbon goods and services. But there are signs that progress in this sector is faltering.

Manufacturing, the largest slice of activity in the sector, contracted in 2010/11, while China, the US and others are experiencing rapid growth in low-carbon goods and services.

Yet there remains a real opportunity for the UK as a whole, and for manufacturers, especially in energy technology sectors.

In our latest report, Tech for growth: delivering green growth through technology, EEF outlines the steps the government must take to support low-carbon manufacturing and help manufacturers decarbonise.

First, the government needs to set out its economic vision for manufacturing. A strategy to tackle the greenhouse-gas emissions from manufacturing processes, not just from the energy consumption of industry, is missing. Industry needs to know what is expected of it: 2050 is just one or two investment cycles away for some sectors.

A strong innovation culture holds the key to minimising the cost of meeting climate change targets, reducing the cost of energy, capitalising on the economic opportunity presented by green growth and overcoming the technical challenges to decarbonise industry. But this is being undermined by an erosion in spending on research and development (R&D).

The UK must invest more in R&D. This must be underpinned by improving the skills of the workforce: without skilled people, the UK won’t be able to innovate.

Finally we need to ensure that finance works effectively. Manufacturers have implemented technologies that deliver paybacks within the normal investment horizon, but the UK now needs to unlock the next tranche of technologies, with longer payback periods. Our report sets out some initial solutions.

Get it right and UK-based firms will continue to export low-carbon solutions to the rest of the world.

Susanne Baker is senior climate and environment adviser at EEF and author of and author of Tech for growth

Transform articles

Local authorities could have saved Green Homes Grant

The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.

1st July 2021

Read more

Renewable energy will account for nearly 40% of the world's power mix by the end of this decade, overtaking coal within the next few years, according to research by GlobalData.

24th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert