Businesses ‘must decarbonise to stay competitive’

British companies must decarbonise to remain competitive and exploit opportunities in the low-carbon market, according to a new report.

The Green Alliance said that sectors such as car making and chemicals risk losing out to foreign competitors if they don’t adapt to fast-growing global demand for low-carbon goods and services.

The electric vehicle market alone is expected to grow five-fold in value between 2015 and 2030 to £2 trillion, with the UK potentially taking a £95 billion share of the global sales market.

But the report warned the UK was lagging behind and currently importing more electric vehicles than it was exporting.

Sectors identified

The report identified what it termed “weaknesses” in sectors, including:

● chemicals, which accounts for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and which needs to upgrade to meet demand for low-carbon products;

● electric vehicles, with more work needed on battery development;

● and financial and professional services, with countries including France threatening the UK’s position as a green finance hub.

‘Bar has been raised even higher’

Speaking at the launch of the report, Jürgen Maier, Chief Executive of Siemens UK, said: “As we respond to the challenges and opportunities of decarbonisation, the bar has been raised even higher.

“The UK has a major challenge to increase productivity as well as reduce carbon emissions. These twin challenges are interlinked.

“The UK ‘Made Smarter’ review highlighted that, by investing in the latest digital technologies, we can boost industrial productivity by 25% and reduce carbon emissions by 4.5% by 2025.

“UK policy in these critical areas is now needed to drive international competitiveness.”

> Download the report