Four days before the start of critical global climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, forward thinking companies from the south-east have been invited to Downing Street to showcase how the UK’s low carbon innovation and partnership are already shaping business for the future economy.
Among 100 companies gathering in Downing Street on Thursday evening who have embraced the low carbon economy were leading-edge waste management companies Carbon8 Systems of Chatham, Kent, and Eco-Solids of New Milton, Hampshire.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:
‘Our transition to a low carbon economy will be a key driver of our future economic prosperity. Carbon8 Systems and Eco-Solids are at the forefront of this transformation. Their innovation and expertise demonstrates why the UK is one of best places in the world for low carbon business.'
Eco-Solids International Ltd has just secured a major licensing agreement in China with the help of UK Trade & Investment. The company’s advanced lime stabilisation treatment for sewage sludges is much more efficient than conventional methods. The treated biosolids capture carbon and have a low water content, allowing the product to be easily handled and transported for use as an economical and environmentally sustainable agricultural soil conditioner, inert building substrate, or renewable energy source.
Meanwhile, Carbon8 uses carbon dioxide gas to treat industrial wastes and contaminated soils. The technology not only renders these waste materials less hazardous, which means cheaper and easier disposal and can avoid landfill, but also manufactures aggregate products for the construction industry at the same time as capturing carbon.
Lord Davies, Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business, said:
‘The world is engaged in a race to low carbon. Acting early will mean we are well positioned in the new industries that are being created, at the forefront of the technological and social shift that will define the next century. The low carbon transition is therefore everybody’s business and everybody’s opportunity.
‘The UK’s lead in this area makes us well-placed to secure new business overseas and act as a global hub for low carbon products, services and technologies. These are two fine examples of how companies with low carbon products and services are already seeking out opportunity and shaping the UK’s future economy.’
Clive Rigden, Eco-Solid’s Managing Director, commented:
‘At a time when China is looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint, and improve the quality of its agricultural soils, the Eco-Solids Process brings simple and rapid benefits including carbon reduction and saving money.
‘Eco-Solids will continue to take advantage of UK Trade & Investment’s services and plans are already in place to develop the business and secure new markets for license agreements.’
Dr Paula Carey, Managing Director at Carbon8 Systems, said:
‘We have already produced the first concrete block with our carbonate aggregate, and are working towards getting approval from the Environment Agency. We are now in talks with the major waste management companies in the UK, with a view to securing funding for our first commercial plant. Once we have successfully commercialised here in the UK, we will explore opportunities in the US and Canada, where we already have patents, and in Europe and Australia.’
At the same event, leading UK and international companies are backing the Prime Minister in the push for an ambitious and equitable deal that can contribute to sustainable prosperity.
The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change will present a communiqué endorsed by more than 850 companies to Gordon Brown. The Corporate Leaders Group includes John Lewis, Shell, Tesco, Kingfisher, Vodafone, Unilever and Lloyds Banking Group.
The communiqué sets out the business case for a strong and effective UN climate framework and underlines that economic development will not be sustained unless the climate is stabilised, making it critical that we move beyond the global downturn in a way that lays the foundation for low-carbon growth.
The global market for low carbon goods and services is already worth over £3 trillion and is expected to exceed £4.5 trillion by 2015.
The UK market for low carbon and environmental goods and services is the sixth largest in the world. It is presently worth around £107bn – over 7% of GDP - and is set to grow by £45 billion by 2015. Manufacturing currently makes up 30.8% of this activity, compared with about 20% in the UK economy as a whole.
It employs 880,000 people, rising to an estimated 1.2 million by 2015.