Commenting ahead of the COP27 summit, which takes place in Egypt from 6-18 November, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) director of policy and external affairs Chris Hobson said: “We are at a critical point as we seek to rebuild our economy following the significant shocks of the past few years and establish ourselves as a globally competitive nation.
“However, economic and business growth must be sustainable growth. Our experiences of Covid-19, exacerbated by a cost-of-doing-business crisis, has focused mindsets to build back strong, cleaner and greener.
“Net zero and the wider ESG agenda are quickly rising up the priority list for many organisations, as evidenced by our Green Growth Trends in the East Midlands research in partnership with the University of Derby.
“It shows the proportion of East Midlands businesses selling environmentally-friendly goods and services almost trebled from 16% in 2015 to 45% in 2022, while there is a growing diversification into green markets with a four-fold increase in firms deriving up to a fifth of their turnover from green products.
“Low-carbon growth was integrated into business plans by under 10% of firms in 2018 but this more than doubled to 21.5% by this year. It signals our businesses are doing their bit, whether it’s in cutting waste or developing products that help others to reduce their carbon footprint, but they still need support in areas such as access to finance, skills and information.
“Later this month, we will launch a Business Manifesto for Growth in the East Midlands and Beyond in Parliament that urges Government to wholeheartedly back our businesses to help us grow our competitiveness in the right way.
“Before that, COP27 will offer an opportunity for policymakers to reflect on the net zero agenda, but we must also see this followed by real action in providing the right messages and incentives so firms can continue the important work they are doing to create a sustainable economy.”
The Chamber’s Sustainable East Midlands initiative has created an information hub for low-carbon business support.