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Industrial strategy must embed environmental sustainability

11 September 2012

Commenting on proposals set out by Vince Cable today on the UK’s industrial strategy, WWF said it was significant that the business secretary clearly recognised the need to address market failures such as addressing the costs of environmental damage as well as long-term structural challenges in the global economy including environmental sustainability.

WWF also said that the government as a whole needed to give much more support and recognition to the environmental goods and services sector, arguing that increasingly, the green economy was outperforming other sectors and should not be seen as somehow separate from the ‘real’ economy.

David Norman, director of campaigns at WWF-UK, said: “Dr Cable’s recognition of the need to embed environmental sustainability and plan for the long term in the UK’s industrial strategy is important. However, the government must remember that the low-carbon and environmental services sector is growing strongly and also needs vocal government support; action to support the renewable energy sector is going to be a test of this.

“The green economy has grown at 4-5 per cent since 2008 and is expected to continue to grow at around five per cent a year [1] so is clearly a safe bet for a government looking for a growth strategy. It’s important, though, not to see the green economy as somehow separate from the ‘real’ economy As others, like the CBI, have pointed out, there’s no dichotomy between green and growth – green is growth, and the government must embed environmental sustainability across their whole strategy.”

WWF also said that the government needed to deliver the strategy for the renewable energy sector at the earliest opportunity, as putting real resources and commitment behind an ambitious renewables strategy will be a test of whether the government genuinely understands environmental sustainability.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. A recent Green Alliance report [1] said that whilst the general economy will only return to 2007 levels by 2014 at the earliest, the environmental goods and services sector will have grown by 40% in that same period: Green Alliance: Green economy: a UK success story (30 August 2012): http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/grea_p.aspx?id=6629

For more information:

George Smeeton, Senior Press Officer WWF-UK
Tel: 01483 412 388, Mob: 07917 052 948, email: GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk

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