Green circular economy

Green transition could bring £71bn to the UK economy, CBI finds

Image credit: Tsung-lin Wu/Dreamstime

The UK's green transition is worth £71bn and has brought investment and job opportunities to areas experiencing industrial decline, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found.

The CBI's 'Mapping The Net Zero Economy' report found that the drive to achieve net-zero emissions in the UK involves more than 20,000 businesses and 840,00 jobs in sectors such as renewable energy and waste management.

The report looked at the parts of the UK that have benefited most from policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, a sector that CBI said is worth £71bn. 

According to the researchers, Scotland and English regions, such as Tyneside, Teeside, Merseyside and the Humber, had all done better than average, with the green economy being stronger and contributing more to growth than in London and the South East.

Green jobs also pay significantly more, the report says, with the average wage (£42,600) significantly above the national average (£33,400).

"The net-zero economy is addressing levelling up and the UK's productivity problem," said Peter Chalkley, the director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) who commissioned the research.

"But if the UK doesn't build on the good work that has already been done, we will lose out and lose jobs."

The CBI has previously warned that the UK's position as a leader in green technology is at risk due to increased competition from other countries.

The body, which represents British businesses, said the UK has lost out on an estimated £4.3bn of green growth market value in Europe alone and in April will fall from 5th to 30th place in the OECD table on tax competitiveness.

"Other places [in the world] are really setting out their stalls for how they're going to capture that investment," said Tom Thackeray from the CBI who carried out the analysis, adding that there is now a "global competition" for green funding.

The report also criticises the lack of consistency in UK policy and restrictive planning regulations for onshore wind and solar as holding back investment from the private sector.

This view was also expressed in Tory MP Chris Skidmore's 'Mission Zero' report last month in which he criticised restrictive planning regulations for onshore wind and solar, and a lack of consistency in policy.

Skidmore cited these issues as holding back investment from the private sector in the green economy. 

Kelly Becker, President of Schneider Electric UK&I added:  “The UK is already seeing the economic benefits of a green economy. In addition to macroeconomic pluses, further investment in the transition, which must include a significant focus on cutting energy waste, will alleviate the crippling cost of energy plaguing consumers.

"The UK government must work hand in hand with the private sector to accelerate the creation of a greener economy. Only through public-private partnerships will the UK keep pace with the global push for greener economies." 

Responding to the report and the criticism of policy, a government spokesman said the UK was leading the world on tackling climate change.

"Our plans will support up to 480,000 jobs by 2030," they said. "We are driving an unprecedented £100bn of private sector investment by 2030, backed by around £30bn in funding from the government since March 2021 to achieve our aims."

Last week, the government announced the second phase of the Red Diesel Replacement Competition, which will provide a £32.5m funding package to support innovative projects that are developing greener energy alternatives, the government has announced.

Edited at 11:34 to add comments by Schneider Electric.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles