Partnering Across the Pond for a Green Global Economy

 

UK Minister of State Gregory Barker MP – Department of Energy & Climate Change ended his U.S. mission this week in Atlanta.  Along with business delegates from 6 UK companies, UK Minister Barker promoted the benefits of a low carbon economy and the global opportunities this could present for the U.S. and the U.K.  He stressed the need for “TLC,” transparency, longevity and certainty, and how important U.S. leadership is in addressing environmental and societal issues.

 

An evening reception (hosted by KPMG) and breakfast panel (hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber) were both well attended by many influential people in business, government and sustainability from organizations including Coca-Cola, GE Energy, InterContinental Hotels Group, GA Tech and Southface. 

 

Minister Barker kicked off the morning discussion yesterday with a panel of business leaders:  Peter Evans PhD, Director Global Strategy & Planning for GE Energy, Emma Howard Boyd, Director, Sustainable Investment & Governance for Jupiter Asset Management, Maury Zimring, Director, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability for InterContinental Hotels Group and Yoav Zingher, Director and Co-Founder for Kiwi Power.  Samantha Putt del Pino, Co-director, Business Engagement in Climate and Technology at the World Resources Institute, moderated the panel. 

 

Here are just a few of the many strong points made by panelists:

  • Minister Barker spoke of the need for government and business to work together to allow the economy to grow in a cleaner, greener way.
  • There is not a dichotomy between becoming green and growing the economy. Two examples:  Marks & Spencer, through its “Plan A” saved $64 million on the bottom line and Ford cut 28% from its energy bill.   
  • Emma Howard Boyd stressed that sustainable investing doesn’t exist merely in specialty sector funds. Without using the “S” word, discussions focus on financial risks and benefits, greater transparency, broader measures of success and what needs to happen to raise long-term business value.
  • Maury Zimring described IHG’s “Green Engage” program, providing tools to track data, benchmark results and obtain solutions customized to the hotel industry.  With many of their hotels franchised, IHG promotes efforts that have a high ROI and can be easily executed by a hotel General Manager. 
  • Peter Evans spoke of some of the trends GE Energy focuses on regarding this “planet under pressure.”  Global energy investment exceeds $1 trillion and with rapid population growth, emerging markets will soon account for 60% of the GDP.  Resiliency has become a hot topic, particularly when considering the rise of natural disasters along with political and extremist events. 
  • Yoav Zinger’s company, Kiwi Power, provides opportunities for clients to gain immediate benefits from a greener supply chain and create new revenue streams without upfront investments and encourages reinvestment of those savings.

 

Growing sustainably requires efforts from all sectors, support of governments, engagement of diverse groups of people and knowledge of many experts.  

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UK Minister of State Gregory Barker MP – Department of Energy & Climate Change ended his U.S. mission this week in Atlanta. Along with business delegates from 6 UK companies, UK Minister Barker promoted the benefits of a low carbon economy and the global opportunities this could present for the U.S. and the U.K. He stressed the need for “TLC,” transparency, longevity and certainty, and how important U.S. leadership is in addressing environmental and societal issues.

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