Spending by large UK firms on energy, environmental and sustainability initiatives is set to grow 16% a year to reach £6.8 billion by 2015, say independent analysts Verdantix.
Even this year, Verdantix predicts that overall spending will increase 12% – twenty times faster than the growth predicted for the UK economy as a whole.
Three sectors – retail and consumer brands; oil and gas, utilities and transport; and technology, telecoms and high-tech engineering – make up three-quarters of the entire market according to the report, UK Sustainable Business Spending 2010-15.
Spending growth rates could reach 17% in sectors like automotive, telecoms and utilities, says Verdantix, but only around 9% in sectors like chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Smart meters, electric vehicles, on-site renewables and product stewardship could see particularly high growth rates between now and 2015.
The main determining factors are the organisation’s commitment to sustainability (e.g. having a chief sustainability officer) and its ability to generate revenues from on-site renewables, energy efficiency, green building materials, environmental product stewardship and sustainable waste management.
Some sectors, like retail, consumer products and data centres, have more scope for businesses to differentiate themselves on the basis of sustainability, adds Verdantix.
“The UK’s sustainable business market is continuing to grow at a healthy rate because firms have aligned sustainability strategies with operational efficiency,” explains analyst Susan Clarke. “Energy cost savings and more efficient use of natural resources now underpin sustainability investments – not philanthropic commitments to fight climate change.”
Verdantix looked at the spending of 421 firms in the UK with revenues greater than £750 million, which currently spend around £4.3 billion.
For further information:
Optimism in UK clean tech sector picks up, says Ernst & Young (16-Dec 2011)
UK government and business must work together on resource efficiency, says CBI (13-Dec 2011)
Asda’s sustainability strategy will save £800 million by 2020 (18-Nov 2011)
Sainsbury’s sets out stall for £1 billion sustainability plan (12-Oct 2011)
02 February 2012