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Green economy, green business

Wind turbines against the sky

The coalition government is committed to being the greenest government ever. It is taking action to cut carbon emissions, create the conditions for green growth, and improve resilience to climate change. All these elements contribute to the development of a sustainable green economy.

In order to deliver this, the one of Defra’s priorities is to “Support a strong and sustainable green economy, resilient to climate change”.

Why is a Green Economy important?

The transition to a Green Economy is essential for delivering sustainable development and long term growth. Defra’s commitment will be met through leading by example in our own operations as well as working with business and consumers. Defra’s policies around waste, valuing the natural environment and adapting to and mitigating climate change all play an important role in delivering a green economy.

By using new technologies, adopting different ways of living and working, and investing in infrastructure, we achieve continued growth and enterprise without undermining the capacity of the environment to support our quality of life in the long term. While these changes may involve some short-term costs and difficult choices, they also create new business opportunities and green jobs, as well as increasing the resilience of our economy. Above all, they will help us avoid potentially much larger costs in the long term and allow sustained economic growth.

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Valuing the Natural Environment

Our quality of life depends on natural resources and the environment: they are the foundation of life. If we use and manage them in a sustainable way, they will continue to meet our needs for energy, food, minerals, fresh water, clean air and fertile soils, all of which are essential to enabling us to continue to grow and to prosper.

What do we need to do differently?

Achieving a green economy involves transforming what we produce and how we produce it, responding to changes in both supply and demand. We need a balanced and environmentally sustainable economy to support strong business investment and new opportunities, to ensure we are resilient to long term challenges.

To enable this transition to a green economy business and consumers must take advantage of the benefits of resource efficiencies. All sectors of the economy will need to grow with less environmental impact and greater resilience to future environmental challenges, including adaptation to climate change, material scarcity and emergencies (securing energy supplies and food security).

It is therefore crucial that natural assets are managed sustainably and used efficiently across all sectors of the economy and that their value is reflected in all production and  consumption decisions. This includes the need to take action on developing a green economy domestically, but also working internationally to tackle long term challenges.

Defra’s contribution to the Green Economy

Ways in which Defra contributes to the green economy;

  • Developing, with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, a Roadmap to a Green Economy. This will clearly articulate the business and investment environment the government will provide to make possible the shift to a growing green economy.
  • By driving the ‘Zero waste’ agenda.
  • Reducing environmental impact in our sectors, such as through carbon budgets and supporting agricultural research and development.
  • Reducing environmental impact across the economy (for example through guidance and regulation on product standards, pollution and waste, encouraging sustainable farming and resource efficiency, and making sure the value of the environment is reflected in decision-making).
  • Ensuring environmental resilience (for example through flood management and defences, making sure farmers adopt resilient land management practices, adapting to climate change, and ensuring natural resources are not depleted or over-used).
  • Working internationally and through the EU to make sure of a ‘level playing field’ across the global economy and reduce the competitiveness effects of green policies on UK businesses. Also to coordinate international support for environmental sectors and innovation
  • Driving sustainable public sector practices across government.

Page last modified: 28 February 2011

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