Strong support for a low carbon economy from business survey
The transformation to a low carbon economy was given strong endorsement from a survey conducted by the MEBC, the Midlands’ not-for-profit business network with a focus on sustainable development. Nearly 90% of respondents agreed that the transformation to a low carbon economy is an effective way of rebuilding and strengthening the UK economy. Respondents thought that business should take the lead in the transformation process and that government had a major part to play in creating the market conditions through awareness raising and relaxing the regulatory framework.
The benefits, respondents said, would include new job creation; new and sustainable business opportunities or the creation of new businesses; the provision of energy security or price stability/reduction. They thought it would create a sustainable economy; give the UK a competitive edge; lead to investment in new technologies; lead to greater resource efficiency.
In answer to whether business should take a lead in moving to a low carbon economy, the vast majority (86%) thought it should. When asked to explain, there was quite a narrow range of open-ended statements including:
* business will benefit, and can demonstrate the benefits
* business will drive innovation and investment
* business should drive, government should guide and support
* better to drive than react to government intervention
The main barriers to the transformation to a low carbon economy were:
* ‘Understanding business opportunity/benefit’ (60%)
* ‘Bureaucracy/red tape’ and ‘lack of knowledge in technology, investment, policy’ (53% each)
* ‘Lack of consumer awareness’ and ‘Availability of investment funds’ (51% each)
Respondents were asked what should be the government priorities in helping business with transformation. Fifteen options were listed – each one to be rated on a scale representing the level of priority. A rating average was used to calculate the overall rank, which is as follows:
1st. Continue/increase investment in energy efficiency programmes
2nd. Increase investment in renewable energy projects
3rd. Invest in new skills
4th. Provide incentives for change – tax breaks
5th. Speed-up government decisions
They also had a clear view on what could business do to speed-up transformation. The majority thought it should ‘encourage change through individual supply chain support’ (71%), ‘exert greater influence on policy and legislation’ (58%), ‘collaborate rather than compete with other businesses’ and ‘encourage change through internal incentives/targets’ (56% each).