The ‘Green’ agenda is visibly gathering momentum. In spite of massive, once-in-a-lifetime distractions like COVID-19 and Brexit, Boris Johnson has produced a bold Ten-Point strategy for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ that, if successful, will see the UK achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The ambitious targets outlined by the PM are certain to prove costly to deliver, but the prize of reducing global emissions is arguably beyond price. The Government has backed the rhetoric with a pledge to invest £12bn towards creating a greener future for the benefit of everyone. 250,000 highly skilled green jobs are expected to be created in the UK alone.
The impact of these measures will most likely fall mainly on the energy, transport, nature and new technology sectors. And it will be the country’s engineers who will be in the thick of the action. Speaking on behalf of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), James Robottom, the person responsible for Sustainability and Climate Change, was quick to point out that: “If the UK is to reach the level of ‘green jobs’ and the positive outcome outlined in the strategy – the majority of which will be in the engineering sector – it is vital to have the right level of investment in skills and training.”
There can be no argument there, nor with the Government’s promise to work alongside industry to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes. The PM is supporting Hydrogen as a clean energy solution with an investment of £500m which will include trialing hydrogen homes.
My only question is: why has it taken this long? UnitBirwelco Group has already achieved carbon negative status two years ahead of schedule. We have managed this by taking a long hard look at our processes, by measuring emissions and taking steps to improve we the way we do things. For example, at our Unit Engineers and Constructors division we now reuse or recycle 96% of our waste, meaning only 4% goes to landfill.
We are in the process of identifying and introducing green energy suppliers throughout the entire group whilst implementing a rolling program of installing more efficient machinery. Externally, we are investing in UK reforestation and in water purification projects overseas.
This is just the start; we know that the more we improve the less we need to offset. Many of the most effective solutions are obvious and, best of all, there is no downside. So, let’s just do it.