A recent conference attended by the Economic Partnership (BHEP) and held by The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) explored the business implications of the Climate Change Bill and the future of climate change policy.
Key messages from the conference suggest that the economic opportunities that lie in tackling climate change could lead to the industrial revolution of the 21st Century, but businesses need to be prepared for proposed climate change legislation to be best placed to take advantage of new opportunities.
Speakers included Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Peter Ainsworth, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Didier Herbert, Head of Sustainable Industrial Policy at the European Commission, Richard McCarthy Director General, Department for Communities and Local Government, Tom Delay Chief Executive, Carbon Trust and Ben Verwaayen, Chair of the CBI Climate Change Taskforce and Chief Executive of BT.
Delegates heard that The Stern report has had a profound impact on our understanding of climate change, galvanising political will to take action on reducing carbon emissions and highlighting the economic opportunities. The conference outlined a number of climate change policies that are on the horizon and will impact on businesses.
These include: ·
It is clear that we are increasingly moving towards a world where businesses, local authorities and government departments will be expected to declare carbon emissions and discussions at the EIC conference suggest that reporting emissions may one day be required on all end of year accounts.
Businesses, therefore, that prepare for future climate change policy and take action now to reduce their carbon emissions will have a distinct competitive advantage, through reduced costs and enhanced market reputation, over those who wait.
Moving towards a low carbon economy will also open up new business opportunities. Peter Ainsworth said: “In recognising the danger of climate change lies the greatest economic opportunity of our time.”
Businesses must prepare for the inevitable; an increase in climate change legislation, but it does not have to be at the expense of growth.
For support and advice on reducing carbon emissions in your business log on to www.carbontrust.co.uk and www.ecosys.org.uk.
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