Yorkshire can be green and pro-growth, says CBI chief

This week, the CBI hosted a major conference to explore how the Northern Powerhouse can capitalise on its strengths to develop the low-carbon technologies needed to meet the UK’s net-zero ambitions whilst taking advantage of the worldwide economic opportunities that come with it.

Beckie Hart of the CBI

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In the last year climate change has received unprecedented attention. The case for action is overwhelming and with a history of progressive climate change policy, understanding how the UK can capitalise on this moment to lead on the global stage is an opportunity we should not let slip through our fingers. I am working to make sure that the CBI is at the heart of the discussions in our region about how we can be pro-green and pro-growth.A new global market, estimated to be worth £170bn by 2030, is emerging as energy transition drives businesses to think differently about how they consume energy and operate sustainably. I want to make sure that businesses in our region continue to be at the forefront of it and judging by the engagement from our recent Regional Council, there is certainly an appetite for it.It often feels like Brexit has drained all the oxygen from the UK’s domestic agenda. The challenges the country faces cannot be left to one side any longer, it’s time for a renewed focus on UK growth. To be frank about it, climate change isn’t going to pause for Brexit to be over and fixing the North’s infrastructure challenges and growing our skills base needs to be done now. What will be key to seizing this opportunity is how business works in collaboration with policy makers, our world-renowned HE sector, our young people and each other. Bradford Manufacturing week is a great example of that, with over 50 manufacturers, education providers and enablers working with young children to showcase how manufacturing will be at the forefront to finding the solutions to the climate change challenges. Our young leaders are calling on the business community like never before to rise to the challenge and help them develop solutions that will be to the benefit of generations to come.The Government, to their credit, has done things that will help to make all this happen. I think the industrial strategy is a step in the right direction providing a clear, consistent vision for where the UK can compete and win, but now it’s time to embrace the grand challenges and show how business can deliver prosperity shared.Both these events will help start the next chapter in the North’s green economic ambitions, whether that be a small business becoming the next global player or a school child becoming a business leader. We, as a region, have a big role to play and I for one am ready to make that happen.

Beckie Hart, regional director of the CBI