The government is to conduct a green recovery roundtable as part of a wider series looking into the economic recovery of the UK.
The roundtables are to be chaired by energy and business secretary Alok Sharma, and will bring together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics.
Of the five roundtables, one will explore a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, looking into how to seize economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero.
Calls for a green recovery have been increasing in volume as of late, with a global campaign asking for a zero carbon recovery launched last week by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is bringing together 449 cities, 21 regions, 992 businesses and 38 investors to encourage net zero commitments.
In the UK specifically, a letter signed by over 200 business leaders was sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to place decarbonisation at the heart of recovery efforts.
It follows recommendations from thinktank IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission that at least £30 billion should be invested by the government into a green recovery, suggesting “shovel-ready” green projects should be first in line to help generate jobs.
This was similar to recommendations made by the New Economics Foundation, which suggested that in the event of a recession the government should identify a pipeline of “shovel-ready” zero carbon investments, as well as saying that the government should invest 2-3% of GDP into green projects.
This is in addition to calls from the Committee on Climate Change for a green recovery, and calls from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for renewables to be at the centre of recovery efforts.
As well as he green recovery roundtable, Sharma will chair five others, which alongside focusing on the economic recovery will look to ensure the UK has the right skills and opportunities in place for its workforce over the next 18 months. These will be on:
- The future of industry.
- Backing new businesses.
- Increasing opportunity, which will focus on how to level up economic performance through skills and apprenticeships.
- The UK open for business, a roundtable looking at how to win and retain more high value investment for the UK.
Membership of the roundtables will be published “in due course”, with plans for each to consist of around 20-25 participants.
There will also be opportunities for other interested partied and individuals to share written submissions.
“These roundtables are a redoubling of our efforts to listen to and work with the business community and academic experts as we consider the measures needed to support our economic bounce-back,” Sharma said.
“This will undoubtedly lead to a cleaner, greener, more resilient economy which will create new jobs.”