EEF - the manufacturers' organisation monthly news comment by chief executive, Terry Scuoler.
Published: 02 December, 2011
After the recession and in the present choppy period of recovery what our economy needs most is sustainable growth. This means a more balanced economy, driven more by investment, innovation and exports, with manufacturing playing a greater role than it has previously.
However, at the same time, the Government has ambitious green objectives, including reducing greenhouse emissions, increasing the amount of energy we get from renewable sources, and a long-term ambition to create a zero or minimal waste society.
There is a worrying contradiction here: the Government’s policies on greening the economy and growing it often seem to be pulling in opposite directions. The Government wants manufacturing to play a bigger role in the economy, but many of the ways we currently try to achieve our environmental objectives simply drive up costs for companies in the UK, which they simply do not face in other countries.
In a recent survey we found that manufacturers are already playing their part in helping the UK to meet stretching carbon targets – investing in energy efficiency, waste management or using water and raw materials more efficiently to help keep costs low. After all, this makes good business sense. For example, 80% of firms have invested in energy, resource or waste efficiency, while 84% have taken action to reduce carbon emissions.
The green and growth agendas do not need to be conflicting. In fact, one can support the other and there are many opportunities for UK manufacturing to provide the technological solutions to the environmental problems we face. To demonstrate this, EEF has this week launched a ‘Green and Growth’ campaign.
As part of this we will be pushing for: the Government to reduce the complexity, burden and cost of environmental regulation; steps to ensure that the UK has secure and competitively-priced energy supplies; and measures to help companies develop, produce and commercialise green technologies here in the UK. We will of course also be providing our members with the support and services they need to get ahead of the game in these areas.
Working collaboratively with the Government we believe that manufacturing can help to make the UK the leading economy for environmental technologies. EEF believes that this is a going green or going for growth is a false choice, and our campaign aims to find an alternative route to secure both goals.