Producing Green and Gold: UK Government announces green GB week

Why green GB week?

This October marks the 10-year anniversary of the Climate Change Act, which committed the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 (against a 1990 baseline). To highlight the urgent need to tackle climate change, celebrate the UK’s progress and ensure we continue to be a front runner in clean growth, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced the first ever Green GB Week. This week will be centred around our Clean Growth Strategy which aims to grow our national income while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The aim of the week is to:

  • Highlight the opportunities clean growth offers the UK and businesses
  • Raise understanding of how business can contribute to tackling climate change and reap the benefits

The UK is a global leader, demonstrating how to effectively cut carbon emissions while creating wealth at the same time. Between 1990 and 2016 the UK reduced its emissions by over 40% while growing our economy by more than two thirds. Our Clean Growth Strategy offers the UK further opportunity to increase productivity, create good jobs and boost earning power for people across the country.

The data shows total return in USD over time of three difference indexes.

What will be happening during Green GB week?

Green Great Britain Week will be held on the 15th – 19th October 2018 and will host a series of events and campaigns to showcase the benefits of clean growth to all parts of society, from the creation of new jobs to the improvements to air quality.

The week will demonstrate how the UK’s academic community and businesses are contributing to new low carbon technologies, showcasing innovative financial products and business models.

Events during the week will focus on:

  • The UK’s leadership on climate change
  • The latest climate science
  • Clean technologies of the future
  • Financing the low carbon economy
  • Clean growth as a business opportunity
  • Climate action in communities

What are the benefits of clean growth to your business?

GB Green Week aims to raise the profile of UK businesses taking the lead in clean growth and sustainable development. In 2018 clean growth and thinking green has proven beneficial for many companies:

  • Benefits of sustainable investmentBlackrock has reported the benefit in clean growth businesses, comparing traditional MSCI Europe Index of 13.50% annualised 5-year return vs 14.87% of sustainable MSCI Europe SRI index. Blackrock has also reported a growth in sustainable investing has grown 151% in 4 years
  • Example of clean growth – Tesco has proved successful clean growth, from 2001- 2008 Tesco reported halving energy use per square foot of store meanwhile continuing to expand and grow as a business
  • Creation of new jobs – Edie has stated that more than 430,000 jobs have been created in low-carbon businesses and supply chains and the Clean Growth Strategy outlines that the low-carbon economy could grow 11% annually between now and 2030 – around four times faster than the rest of the economy.[i]
  • Cost Savings – The big 6 energy suppliers have all reported rise in energy prices[1] – reducing your energy spend by becoming more efficient will allow you to invest in other parts of your business
  • Legal Compliance – every year more environmental laws are realised – get ahead of the curve and start now. From 2019 the new Streamline Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) legislation will come into play, and large unquoted companies registered in the UK will be required to include their reported UK energy use and scope 1 & 2 emissions in annual reports. Find out more here
  • Increase your appeal to investors – individuals are more likely to invest in forward-thinking, sustainable companies. Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) data has provided insights into how Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) – related risks are managed so that investors can make better-informed decisions, therefore there is a growth in the demand for transparency on performance as investors look for evidence of sustainability factors

Linking environmental and financial performance

The Director of Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) product management, FTSE Russel has also stated that they are increasingly seeing investors look to smart beta indexes to incorporate ESG exposure into their core passive equity portfolios. In addition, four groups of environmental indexes from FTSE Russell have recorded a five year rise in excess of their benchmarks.

This chart shows that companies included in the FTSE Environmental Opportunities 100 (An environmental opportunities index series that represents the top 100 companies whose activities provide value-added solutions to environmental problems) have consistently outperformed the FTSE Global All Cap (represents the performance of the large, mid and small cap stocks globally) since 2012.

How to get involved

  • Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will release further details on how it envisages the campaigns and events for the week, they have also recently published a toolkit with tips and ideas to host and attend throughout the week.
  • Eventbrite has already started advertising events, such as this breakfast network on “Low carbon heating and cooling for clean growth”
  • Nvite has also published a list of events for Green GB week
  • Look out for the Green GB website, which is soon to be released!

What’s Next?

Local businesses and communities are encouraged to embrace the challenge. Here are a few ideas on what you can do as a business:

  • Make a commitment – investigate setting a Science-based Target and join the 476 companies that are taking action
  • Social Media take-over – Showcase the projects and work your organisation has been involved in, have you cut your carbon emissions or reduced your waste consumption? Why not tweet about it or post these success stories online.
  • Market Green GB week internally and encourage your staff to make an  environmental pledge
  • Running a campaign or launch – run an event linked to the Sustainable Development Goals