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BCSD UK – Business summit warns that opportunities may be slipping through our fingers

July 2011 – An “Emergency Supply Chain Summit” held in Birmingham has warned that UK businesses are in danger of missing out on the circa £120 billion business opportunity being created by the new round of UK offshore wind farms.

This Summit was organized shortly after the news that the Derby-based factory of Bombardier has lost a major order to Germany.

“I watched a few years ago as UK engineering and manufacturing businesses missed out on the original £20 billion market as orders for turbines to be used in the UK went to Germany and Denmark,” said David Middleton, CEO of Birmingham-based Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) UK that staged the Summit. “Now the likelihood is we are going to miss this new, massive market too.”

Decision delays in the Electricity Market Review, lack of a new code of practice for offshore wind energy development, lack of emphasis in relating procurement to local jobs creation – despite the existence of legally tested frameworks – were some of the reasons identified by the Summit which was hosted by Birmingham lawyers Martineau and chaired by Russell Codling, Marketing Manager, Energy and Power, Tata Steel Europe. E.ON, Lafarge, Skanska, Severn Trent, the Cast Metal Federation were among the businesses that attended the event.

“We urgently need to ensure we do not miss other opportunities – in the emerging renewable energy technologies such as wave and tidal power and the new-era automobile sector,” said Middleton.

The Summit identified lack of awareness and lack of faith in new markets as other key reasons for under-investment and deficiencies in capacity and capability. With Toyota beginning hybrid production, Nissan’s electric car production, JLR making big investments in this area, and possibilities of GM bringing electric car manufacturing to the UK, there is an urgent need to build robust and appropriate low-carbon supply chains in the UK.

The Summit, organized by the MEBC, the Midlands’ longest running business network to focus on sustainable development as a business opportunity, will shortly submit a full report to Government.

BCSD UK is the pre-eminent national business network run by businesses to promote the values of sustainable development and explore related business opportunities. It is the only affiliated branch in the UK of the World Business Council.

BCSD UK is one of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Regional Network partner organizations.

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