Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group has described the Chancellor's Autumn Statement as "a missed opportunity". He said:
"The Chancellor blames the rise of energy and commodity prices for damaging growth, but has not done enough to ensure the economy is more resilient to these threats. He is also wrong to claim that environmental regulation is a burden and cost on British business; it is a fundamental driver for growth of tomorrow's businesses and our future global competitiveness. Green policy should have been at the heart of the growth strategy, reducing our dependence on increasingly volatile global resource markets, stimulating investment and creating jobs."
The Autumn Statement revised projections for the UK's economy downwards in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR)'s projections and acknowledged that it will not be possible to eradicate the UK's structural deficit by the end of this Parliament.
A new report by the Aldersgate Group (AG), launched at the the Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium today, finds that protecting biodiversity and introducing new frameworks to incorporate the value of nature into decision making will be vital to safeguard long-term economic growth. It points to research that conservatively estimates that the failure to address biodiversity loss will lead to cumulative losses that will be equivalent to around 7% of global consumption by 2050 and recommends by the end of this Parliament, the Chancellor should present a draft natural capital budget alongside the fiscal budget.
Peter Young, AG Chairman and member of the Government’s Ecosystem Markets Taskforce, said: "The protection of biodiversity must be a priority as we seek to build a stronger, more resilient economy. Preserving and replenishing services provided by nature will provide business opportunities now and huge economic benefits in the future.”
To read coverage in Guardian Sustainable Business, click here.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, joined Ian Cheshire, Chief Executive of Kingfisher, and Caroline Spelman to launch the Ecosystem Markets Taskforce.
Peter Young said at the launch: "There is an unnerving similarity between the exceedence of sustainable ecosystem services and the exceedence of sustainable finance that has led to the sovereign debt crisis. Both rob future generations of riches which we have mortgaged or depleted. The timing of this task force is absolutely right to build on the recent National Ecosystem Assessment and pledge to produce Natural Capital accounts. I believe business is eager to lead in developing markets and opportunities to stop depletion and start enhancing the incredible value of services provided by nature."
The AG joined a UK delegation to discuss the green economy with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, Environment Minister Pearl and Foreign Minister Holguin, during the President's visit to London this week.
The meeting took place at the British Council one week before the next round of climate change talks at Durban. Both the UK and Colombia are active proponents of a legally binding deal on climate change, with Colombia making up a significant proportion of global forestry as well as being an important emerging economy.
The UK delegation included AG's Executive Director, Andrew Raingold and AG member Andrew Slight, Head of External Affairs at PepsiCo.
The Aldersgate Group (AG) today launched a Growth Statement at Parliament, calling for the Chancellor’s Autumn Financial Statement to remove barriers to growth and shift the economy to a more resilient and resource-efficient path.
Peter Young, Chairman of the AG, said: "There is an urgent need for the Government to reassure markets of its commitment to decarbonising the UK economy to meet our long term carbon budgets, and to provide an investment-ready path for sustained growth. The current international uncertainties underline the need for the Treasury’s Autumn Statement to support the Government’s green goals, which are vital for investment and jobs. Funds and companies will be attracted to the UK as a global leader in delivering a high tech resource efficient society.”
To read the coverage of this in the Guardian, please click here.