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UK Must Create New Green Jobs, Says CBI Boss

UK Must Create New Green Jobs, Says CBI Boss
17 September 2020

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn has said that the UK must become a global leader in climate action to create new green jobs and lift productivity post-pandemic.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) first virtual Net-Zero Conference, Director-General Dame Fairbairn launched their Green Recovery Roadmap. The plans call on the government to take ambitious steps nationally and use the rest of the year to reignite global efforts to achieve net-zero by 2050.


“And here the UK has a strong story to tell. As the first major economy to establish a legally binding net-zero target, we’ve gone from total dependency on coal-powered electricity eight years ago to using none for weeks at a time.”

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn

Director-General, CBI

Green Recovery Roadmap


The CBI’s Green Recovery Roadmap includes:


  1. Publishing the Energy White Paper and National Infrastructure Strategy this Autumn to unlock business investment.
  2. Using the upcoming Budget to prioritise public spending on low carbon projects and technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture.
  3. Supporting major decisions from the government which lead to new green jobs and infrastructure projects that will drive UK economic recovery.
  4. Looking ahead to COP26, business and government must lead by example and put the country on the map as a top destination for low-carbon investment.


Dame Fairbarn spoke passionately about investment in green technology and infrastructure helping to underwrite the UK’s recovery, creating jobs and industries for the future”

“Recent World Wide Fund for Nature data shows the net-zero transition could generate at least 210,000 jobs in 2030 and over 350,000 in 2050.

“And here the UK has a strong story to tell. As the first major economy to establish a legally binding net-zero target, we’ve gone from total dependency on coal-powered electricity eight years ago to using none for weeks at a time.

“And, crucially, the UK is in pole position to lead the world in green tech, like hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. We have the science. The ambition. The expertise.”

Back in July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that UK industry would receive £350 million to cut emissions and drive economic recovery from COVID-19.

The package is intended to drive the UK’s net-zero target, by helping businesses to decarbonise across the heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors.


Six Priorities to Create Green Jobs


The CBI’s Green Recovery Roadmap outlines six priorities to reignite business investment, create green jobs and kickstart a sustainable economic recovery. These include:


  1. Accelerating the delivery of electric vehicle charging points and introduce a net-zero mobility credit scheme, alongside government funding for a UK-based Gigafactory (battery manufacturing for electric vehicles).
  2. Lifting the cap on auctions for renewable power and introduce a financing model to encourage domestic and international business investment in new nuclear capacity.
  3. Becoming a world leader in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology – by introducing a privately-financed Regulated Asset Base model and developing plans for an auction mechanism for CCUS.
  4. Obtaining at least £1 billion of government funding for hydrogen testing programmes and introduce a variant of the Contracts for Difference auction for the production of hydrogen.
  5. Creating an Office for Sustainable Aviation Fuels to secure the development of low-carbon alternatives and commit £500 million of matched public-private funding (£1 billion in total) to support the UK’s first commercial sustainable fuel plant.
  6. Delivering jobs and energy savings by retrofitting homes and buildings to be more energy-efficient and switch to low-carbon heating.  And for government to publish its Heat and Buildings Strategy.


Re-Prioritising Long-Term Carbon Reduction Goals for Businesses


The effect of the pandemic may have naturally led to some CSR initiatives being mothballed until a more stable time in the future. This is particularly true of energy efficiency and sustainability programmes. 

In a survey by edie of 101 UK-based energy and sustainability professionals, conducted in late March 2020, 70 per cent said their organisation had either confirmed plans to pause investment into sustainability solutions or were considering doing so. Dame Fairbairn’s comments and the CBI’s Green Recovery Roadmap will seek to readdress this imbalance.

Energy management initiatives are key in achieving long-term carbon reduction goals but, in the current economic climate, companies may struggle to find the capital investment required to implement them. 

Utility Team have created the Revolving Green Fund, which provides businesses with interest-free funding to deliver energy-efficient projects and technologies. 

You can find out more about the initiative here

Picture: A photograph of some solar panels

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 17 September 2020


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