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The future's bright, the future's green

20 January 2021

Remember life before Covid-19? Sometimes when I think about the enormity of the global pandemic, the considerations and goals of 2019 seem like a lifetime away. However, the important issues have not gone away, they have just been temporarily overshadowed, and in many cases are already starting to emerge back into the headlines and as a result, people’s consciousness.

The biggest challenge is climate change. While I appreciate that people have differing views, pre-lockdown the issue was gaining more and more prominence, and one way or another in the future it will be impossible to ignore. And even if you have your doubts about climate change, a so-called ‘Green Recovery’ is something that everyone should get behind.

There is no disguising that the parts of the UK economy have been desecrated by Covid-19, and for many businesses there will be no coming back. The virus is not going away any time soon and while some companies have shown great skill at adapting to new safe working measures, for others this is simply not an option. In order to build prosperity the UK cannot simply expect to get back the how it was pre-pandemic - new opportunities, sectors and business models must be developed and a Green Recovery could offer this.

This really is a win-win; not only can the UK improve the environment, it can also reap financial benefits, as borne out by a new report from the Manufacturing Technologies Association, which has found that if the UK moves towards Green manufacturing between £8-20 Billion could be added to GDP and 400,000 to 1 million jobs created.

The MTA report highlights that the UK is well placed to lead the way in this green future, if we act now. Since the early 90s the UK has reduced carbon emissions by 44% and is the first country to commit to net zero emissions.

Commenting, James Selka CEO of the MTA said: “Going green is not an option, it a necessity. The UK has a worldwide reputation for innovation within manufacturing and engineering. This report highlights the need to invest to make to the essential transition to a decarbonised economy.

“By embracing green technology, we can transform our economy as a whole and work towards sustainable growth, creating new, higher paid, jobs and protect the environment in the process.”

Add Brexit into the mix and the Green economy looks even more important to the UK. The sector is perfect for the type of innovation and entrepreneurship that the UK is quite rightly very proud of, and will need to leverage to the full as an independent trading partner in the world market.

Covid-19 and the lockdown measures put in place to slow its spread have resulted in the first major drop in emissions for over half a century, and while this is by no means an ideal or sustainable way to achieve environmental benefits, it has served to once again bring the need to stem climate change into focus.