UK takes a 3.7 % share of the global green goods market

25 Jul 2013


The UK's Labour government has something to cheer for Britain now has a 3.7 per cent share of the global low carbon environmental goods and services (LCEGS) market.

The UK now accounts for roughly £125.8 billion of the global trade in green goods and services valued at £3.4 trillion, which is expected to have grown to 3.8 per cent (£129.2 billion) since last year.

The UK is now the world's sixth-largest market for green goods, behind the US where sales reached £661 billion, China with £444 billion, Japan on £213 billion, India with £211 billion and Germany at £145 billion.

The market for green goods in the UK increased almost five per cent to more than £129 billion in 2011-12, according to government figures released last week.

It is not just that, the market for green goods in the UK grew by £6 billion while the rest of the economy remained virtually flat.

The UK green sector also recorded a trade surplus of £5.2 billion with total exports of green goods and services worth £12.2 billion.

UK's exports of green goods and services to China touched £822 million, netting a surplus of £347 million. The UK also enjoyed £199 million surplus in its green trade with both Hong Kong and Spain.

China accounted for £475 million of UK's green imports, followed by Hong Kong with £415 million, and Spain with £319 million.

Total imports of green goods and services into the UK increased by 2.8 per cent to £7 billion in 2011-12, with alternative fuels and building technologies topping the list, followed by water, wind, solar PV and geothermal.

Government data suggest that the green economy in the UK is outperforming the global market as also UK's own underlying economy. UK's green economy is also boosting its competitiveness thereby enhancing its export prospects.

Besides, the low carbon environmental goods and services sector currently provides employment to nearly 940,000 people in the UK.

While official data on the UK's green economy covers a range of sectors, including renewable energy, consulting, nuclear power, waste, and pollution and noise control, critics say all these sectors are not green or low-carbon.

The brighter side, however, is that real green sectors like alternative fuels, building technologies, and wind power account for £19.2 billion, £15.4 billion, and £15.1 billion, respectively, of the UK's green sales.

The 4.8 per cent growth rate in the UK's green sector was also higher than that of any other country in the top 10 bracket, barring that of Brazil.

The UK now tops sales growth in emerging low carbon sectors, with a 6.8 per cent growth in carbon finance, 7.5 per cent in wind energy and a 6.6 per cent growth in solar PV sales.

The UK government can claim that it has got its green priorities right with almost all, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace and energy giants like Alstom agreeing that countries will have to generate much more energy using renewable sources to ensure sustainable economic growth.

Meanwhile, Ed Balls, shadow chancellor and MP for Morley and Outwood, writes in a blog in New Statesman that unlike the Conservatives, a Labour government would make sustainable energy a major national priority and give business the confidence to invest. He would join an audience of business leaders, environmental campaigners and scientists at the annual Green Alliance debate tonight to discuss the UK's energy future.

According to Balls, if 10 years ago, one were attending a meeting of environmental campaigners and big business, one would have planned for a stand-off, which was not the case anymore. The scope and breadth of the consensus across business and the environmental lobby was striking - something that would not have been imaginable a decade ago, he writes.

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