UK green economy enjoys revenue boost

16th January 2020

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Sarah Brown

Turnover in the UK's low-carbon and renewable energy economy (LCREE) was around £46.7bn in 2018, rising substantially from the £40.4bn recorded in 2015.

That is according to data published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which also shows that investment in the green economy increased by 48% to £8.1bn during that time.

The manufacturing industry accounted for around one-third of LCREE turnover in 2018, while the low-emission vehicle sector accounted for 59% of total green exports.

However, the figures also show that the LCREE was responsible for just 1% of the UK's total non-financial turnover in 2018, similar to what was recorded between 2015 and 2017.

And although full-time employment in the green economy increased from 200,800 to 224,800 between 2015 and 2018, the latest number is actually below the 235,900 recorded in 2014.

“This is a dreadful record, said TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady. The climate emergency is a major threat to the living standards of British people.

“There should be a very good news story to tell. A path has been open to us for a long time now that's full of opportunities to create good quality green jobs.

The ONS data shows that the energy efficient products sector remained the largest sector of the green economy in 2018, accounting for 36% – £16.7bn – of turnover and 51% of full-time employment.

Examples of activity within this sector include the design, manufacture or installation of energy efficient doors, windows and insulation.

The second-largest sector was the low-emission vehicles industry, which accounted for 9% of turnover and 6% of full-time employment. Bioenergy was third biggest, responsible for 9% of revenue and 4% of employment.

Gudrun Cartwright, environment director at Business in the Community, said: “The uncomfortable truth is that the LCREE made up just 1% of total UK non-financial turnover and employment in 2018, and has stagnated at that level for several years.

“Businesses must act decisively to eliminate waste, set net zero carbon targets, invest in supply chains, support customers and harness the power of employees to lead at every level, so that we can innovate at the speed and scale needed to repair and sustain our planet.“

Image credit: ©iStock


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