2013 Oct. 31 07:00 AM
2013 Oct. 31 10:00 AM


25 Moorgate, London EC2R 6AY, United Kingdom


Catherine Hokin, Smith & Williamson

The Business Case for the Green Economy: What Can/Should the UK Learn from a United Nations Approach? London, UK

The Business Case for the Green Economy: What Can/Should the UK Learn from a United Nations Approach?

2012 saw the launch of the Green Industry Platform, a joint initiative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This is a global, multi-stakeholder partnership intended to act as a forum to catalyse, mobilize and mainstream action on Green Industry around the world. Over 150 Governments, Corporations and Civil Society organisations have joined it to date; the UK Government is not, at present, a member.

There are obvious benefits and opportunities to be gained from pursuing a coordinated, global approach to the development of green industry, not least in terms of jobs creation, poverty reduction and more efficient resource-management. However, there are still many barriers to the adoption of low carbon agendas in both new and existing industries and within government which could pose a significant risk to the long term competitive advantage of UK companies.

These issues will be debated by our expert panel:
Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust
Trewin Restorick, Chief Executive of Global Action Plan
Heinz Leuenberger, Director Environmental Branch, UNIDO
Dr Amal-Lee Amin, Associate Director E3G

Moderated by Paul Hohnen, Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House

Topics to be Discussed Include:

  • What defines a ‘Green Industry’ approach and what are its benefits to UK businesses?

  • Does sustainability sit at the centre of UK corporate and government thinking or is it still an optional add-on?

  • Must we rely on resource pressure as the key driver for change or must UK business leaders rethink their investment priorities and attitudes?

  • Does the UK have the correct levels of investment in the supply chain and the correct policy framework to make low carbon and resource efficient industry a competitive reality?

  • What is the role of technology and innovation in achieving global carbon reduction?

  • What is the UK’s role in helping industries in developing and transition countries to reduce their material, energy and pollution intensity?

  • Will a voluntary, multi-stakeholder, platform help drive change and how can its success be measured?

Background Issues:
The UNIDO/UNEP Green Industry Platform was established with the objective of mainstreaming social and environmental considerations into the operations of enterprises in all countries and regions through the more efficient use of energy and raw materials, innovative practices and applications of new green technologies. It provides a framework to bring together governmental, business and civil society leaders to secure concrete commitments and mobilize action in support of the Green Industry agenda and aims to contribute both to cleaner and more competitive industrial development and to help reduce pollution and reliance on unsustainable use of natural resources.

UNIDO and UNEP cite the benefits of joining the platform as:

  • increased opportunities to help create new jobs;

  • grow sustainable economic development;

  • encourage the rapid transition to a resource-efficient and green economy and alleviate poverty; reduced waste and increased efficiency of manufacturing activities

  • and accompanying improvements in organizational/national competitiveness

  • improved information and awareness about the benefits of Green Industry and on relevant policies and practices worldwide

  •  expanded networking and partnering opportunities on Green Industry policies

  • increased opportunities to help shape national/organizational road maps towards Green Industry and to co-develop specific projects

  • enhanced attention of capital market investors seeking to reduce exposure to commodity price fluctuations and related risks

  • greater opportunities to inspire and engage employees in innovation of manufacturing technologies, management and policy approaches

  • higher recognition of leadership in the expanding Green Industry space.