Create ‘green’ jobs to boost productivity, urges CBI

CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn
Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

Creating new ‘green’ jobs will boost productivity and help the UK become a global leader in climate action, the chief of the Confederation of British Industry has said.

At a conference today, director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn is to urge the government to use the rest of 2020 to reignite global efforts to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 by taking “ambitious” national steps, including creating new jobs on low carbon projects and infrastructure schemes that will drive the UK’s economic recovery.

“For so many, this feels like a time of fiercely competing goals. The world faces two seemingly separate yet fundamental problems. Covid-19 – the biggest health crisis in living memory and climate change – the defining challenge of the modern era,” she is expected to say at the CBI’s Net-Zero conference.

“But they are not separate. The response to one affects success on the other. And the defining question is, how does the UK use this moment to rebuild our economy and the greener and stronger world we want to return to?”

Fairbairn will unveil the business lobby group’s Green Recovery Roadmap, which will recommend that the government publishes its Energy White Paper and National Infrastructure Strategy this autumn to unlock business investment, and uses the upcoming Budget to prioritise spending on low carbon projects and technologies, such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

This will lead to the creation of new green jobs and infrastructure projects, said the CBI.

The Roadmap will also urge the government to deliver jobs and energy savings by retrofitting homes and buildings to be more energy efficient and switch to low-carbon heating.

The CBI is not the first group to call for investment in a “greener” economy in order to drive recovery. In July the Institute for Public Policy Research said the government could create up to 1.6 million jobs as well as meet its air quality targets if it focused on a “jobs-led recovery” in low carbon industries.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has laid out plans to retrain people to work in low carbon sectors in particular.

According to the Institute for Employment Studies, an estimated 450,000 people could be made redundant over the coming months – highlighting the need for more investment in job creation.

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