UK business coalition backs “better growth” roadmap to get economy working harder for the environment and society.
A coalition of some of the UK’s biggest businesses today backed a new macro-economic roadmap for Britain and launched a new independent campaign called “An Economy That Works” based on the findings of a major report.
Campaign founders the Aldersgate Group and its progressive alliance of NGOs and UK businesses argue in their first report that the UK economy risks becoming detached from the long-term needs of society. It says that GDP growth is an important tool in creating prosperous societies, but warns that on its own growth is unable to define a path to lasting prosperity and competitiveness. It says an economy that works for the UK is one that will be low carbon, will deliver high employment and equality of opportunity, and place wellbeing and regard for natural resources at its core.
Sir Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive, Kingfisher plc said: “The last seven years have shown us that we urgently need an economy that contributes to society and strengthens it. GDP is not a comprehensive measure of prosperity: it is an important tool, not a goal in itself. Instead of maximum linear growth in GDP, we need to start thinking of maximum wellbeing for minimum planetary input.”
Launching the new campaign, Sir Richard Lambert, former Financial Times editor and former Director-General of the CBI said: “Single-issue policymaking is struggling to address the complex social and environmental challenges of our time. The Economy that Works coalition has a relentlessly positive vision and its systemic blueprint for creating decent jobs, delivering equal opportunity, and enhancing wellbeing across the UK is exciting and galvanising.”
Peter Young, Chair of the Aldersgate Group said: “Despite encouraging UK growth figures, we risk getting stuck with reduced wellbeing, rising inequality, continued loss of natural capital and rising resource pressures. Policymakers urgently need to look beyond GDP to define successful growth – setting far more coherent policy goals which strengthen the links between our economy, our society and the environment.”
Oliver Dudok van Heel, Director of “An Economy That Works” said: “Our coalition wants to see an economy that works harder for our society and our environment. Many of our member companies are championing best practice and progressive social and environmental policies that will keep our economy in the fast lane. This campaign is an ambitious attempt to draw these strands together into a joined-up roadmap for policymakers that will help insulate UK society from future economic shocks.”
The organisations behind the campaign – including Aviva Investors, BT, Friends of the Earth, Interface, Kingfisher, M&S, National Grid, Nestlé, RSPB, Sky, the TUC and WWF – hope to spark informed political debate about what UK citizens and businesses want from their economy and inspire policymakers to develop solutions that will keep the UK prosperous, competitive and sustainable for generations to come. Many of them have long been at the forefront of driving progressive ethical and sustainable business practices.
The growing coalition behind the new campaign will work with the UK government over the coming years to identify the key policy levers for change, support their adoption, and encourage wider uptake of innovative business practices that together are needed to guarantee a competitive and successful UK economy now and in the future.
Click here to view the downloadable infographic.
KEY REPORT FINDINGS:
Moving beyond ‘growth’ and defining six core characteristics of ‘An Economy that Works’:
1. High employment
- investment in job generation and skills development, promoting flexible and part-time working, investing in lifetime educational support to increase financial independence and create fulfilling work opportunities.
2. Equality of opportunity – unlocking a ‘double dividend’: reducing inequality and boosting social and economic mobility for all; cutting the cost of employment and introducing living wage levels.
3. Wellbeing at the core
– ensuring everyone has confidence their material needs will be met, supported by strong healthcare & education systems, strong social networks & democratic institutions.
4. Low carbon
– there is no such thing as a high carbon low cost future; effective carbon pricing and policy support for innovation and deployment of low carbon technologies are essential. The environmental goods and services sector is growing and already represents £122bn (9.3 per cent) of the UK economy.
5. Zero waste
– promotion of a circular economy to cut landfill and promote re-use of materials; UK could cut its reliance on raw materials by 20 per cent by 2020 and unlock a £5.6bn opportunity in UK re-manufacturing.
6. Enhancing nature – The UK’s diverse natural capital provides the economy and society with food, clean air, wildlife, energy, wood, recreation and protection from hazards. Measuring this value to the UK economy and preventing its exploitation makes sound business sense.
The ‘An Economy That Works’ report is available at www.aneconomythatworks.org
Click here to view the downloadable infographic.
Organisations that support the ‘An Economy That Works Campaign’ include: Anglian Water; Asda; Aviva Investors; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; BT; CDP; Energy Saving Trust; The Equality Trust; Forum for the Future; Friends of the Earth; Grant Thornton; Green Alliance; IEMA; Interface; Johnson Matthey; Kingfisher; Landmark; Lucideon; M&S; National Grid; the National Union of Students; Nestlé; New Economics Foundation; Reed Elsevier; RSPB; Share Action; Sky; Thames Water; Trade Union Congress; the UK Green Building Council; Willmott Dixon; the Woodland Trust; WSP and WWF.
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Tom Howard-Vyse on 07920 269 477 or email@example.com