The first part of a two part study by EEF into possible conflicts between growth and green has been released, and it has revealed that 75% of manufacturing firms believe that environmental policies have had a detrimental impact on competitiveness. In a briefing, EEF invited trade union leaders, policy makers and key industry representatives to preview their findings in “Green and Growth; an interim report on a sustainable alternative”.
The panel of experts examined the findings of the report before taking questions from those who has gathered at EEF’s headquarters in London. The key points in the discussion included the need for further reassurance that any revenue raised from ‘green taxes’ would be re-invested in skills development and green research. Delegates also voiced their worries about the lack of stability that existed in the government policy.
EEF had highlighted those findings in the report that seem likely to shape the next stage of their research, One of the foremost points was that while manufacturers are making strides to get the equipment for low emission manufacturing and 80% of companies having invested in improving energy efficiency, 75% have said that the cost of implementing environmental policies has risen sharply and is damaging competitiveness.
To emphasise this point, EEF revealed that 50% of those manufacturers who are contributing to their research strongly believe that incentives offered to those who invests in low carbon technologies energy efficiency are better in countries outside of the UK. EEF said that the second stage of their research will be the assessment of four major areas.
These will be the need for a shift in strategy, so that the cost effectiveness of the green policy for businesses will be more fully taken into account. The need for a wider focus so that the policy will cease to focus as much on the process of production and more on the product’s life cycle. It’s hoped that this will broaden the scope for reducing emissions in Britain and also put industries that are energy intensive on a firmer footing.
EEF also want a more secure environment to be established which will support overseas confidence in the UK so we are seen as a region for stable investment, and the final point will be the formation of a more coherent approach. This will consider the policy in full, and not silos. EEF are to call for policies regarding climate change to have a broader issue context, like tax reforms, access to finance and an innovation policy.
EEF will be publishing the second part of its survey in November, and if the first part is anything to go buy it will make interesting reading.