UK’s net-zero economy worth over £70bn, study finds

1st February 2023


UK businesses helping to deliver net-zero emissions across the country are contributing £71bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy, which is more than twice the contribution of the energy sector.

That is according to a new report from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), which reveals that 840,000 jobs are supported by businesses in the net-zero economy, providing an average wage of £42,600, compared to the £33,400 national average.

These firms are also highly productive, generating £112,300 in GVA per employee, which is 1.7 times higher than the national average of £64,400.

Furthermore, the report shows that businesses in the net-zero economy are particularly productive in regions like Tyneside, South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, but less so in London, suggesting that they are playing an active part in ‘levelling-up'.

“From insulation fitters to heat pump engineers and agritech pioneers, businesses in the net-zero economy are adding £70bn to the UK economy,” ECIU director, Peter Chalkley, said.

“The net-zero economy is addressing levelling-up and the UK’s productivity problem, but with the EU and US investing heavily in clean technologies, the question now is will the UK keep up or try to stick with industries of the past?”

The report goes on to explain how further growth of green jobs will require more redistribution from high-carbon to low-carbon jobs, and how significant upskilling will be needed, as the average skill requirement for a job in a carbon-intensive industry is 46% lower than for a net zero-related job.

Jobs related to net zero are also in high demand, and green hiring overtook non-green hiring for the first time in 2019 and continues to rise, according to the report.

This comes after separate research from Arup and Oxford Economic last month found that new green industries could be worth more than £8.2trn to the global economy by 2050, which would be equivalent to over 5% of the world’s GDP that year.

It identifies the contribution to GDP of electric vehicles manufacturing, renewable power generation, clean energy equipment manufacturing, renewable fuels and green finance, and also highlights substantial productivity benefits from the green transition.

Commenting on the findings, IEMA’s Deputy CEO, Martin Baxter, said: “This report demonstrates the huge financial benefit that green industries can offer the global economy, and underlines the crucial need for governments and organisations to invest in green skills and training.

“Every job must be greener if we are to tackle the climate and environmental emergency. Our recently launched Green Careers Hub will help anyone – from any sector or background – understand how they can play a role in the wider green economy.”

Learn more about IEMA’s Green Careers Hub here, and more about skills and training opportunities here.

Learn more about the state of the sustainability profession by reading findings from IEMA's recent membership survey here.

Image credit: Unsplash

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

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

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close