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India and UK business leaders to kick start low carbon collaboration

15 November 2010
India and UK business leaders to kick start low carbon collaboration

EMBARGO: 10.30 GMT - LONDON, Monday 15 November 2010: Top business leaders from the UK and India have today called for closer trade ties on clean technologies with the aim of boosting economic growth at the same time as cutting carbon emissions.

The report from the UK-India Business Leaders Climate Group (BLCG) – chaired by Sir Stuart Rose and Mr Rajan Bharti Mittal – is the first report of its kind where business leaders have come together to consider the practical steps necessary to deliver a low carbon economy. It sets out a ‘Charter of Principles’ as well as practical ways that India and the UK can work together to unlock a new era of green growth and economic collaboration.

The BLCG initiative underlines the strong business case behind a faster shift to a low carbon economy with significant opportunities identified in clean energy, energy efficiency, low carbon technology, water, waste management and related services. The companies behind the BLCG are collectively valued at over £200bn [144bn INR].

Recommendations that will be implemented immediately by the group include:

  • an online Clean Technology Development Directory of early stage Indian technologies across a range of sectors that provides relevant data to prospective UK investors
  • a Low Carbon Capital Manual, providing technical information on the financial tools, and the methods for creating them, for raising capital and increasing public private investment in low carbon projects in India
  • a high-level Low Carbon Economy Summit to be held in India in 2011 that will bring together the private equity/venture capital community in the UK with the technology innovators of India.

The ‘Charter of Principles’ builds on the relative strengths of the UK and Indian business communities and is aimed at boosting UK-India investment and trade in both directions, driving innovation and reducing the cost of cutting emissions. Key recommendations include:

  • The development of joint demonstration projects to raise awareness of opportunities for low carbon economic growth and to provide impetus for investment;
  • The creation of innovative financing instruments and the removal of barriers to capital flows to stimulate investment in the low carbon economy;
  • Improved exchange and dissemination of information to support low carbon business decisions and collaboration;
  • Joint R&D programmes and a skills exchange to accelerate low carbon innovation and technology development;
  • Effective regulatory frameworks to support the transition to a prosperous low carbon economy;
  • Greater participation by businesses in the framing of climate change and low carbon development policy, both domestically and internationally.

The Group last met in New Delhi in July during the UK Prime Minister’s visit to India, holding a working meeting to refine the recommended principles and actions.

In a message to the Group today, the UK Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron MP said; “Some of the most powerful solutions to the climate change challenge will come from business. The innovation and creativity of business won’t just help us save the planet, but is expected to create millions of jobs and billions of revenue in the green goods and services market. This report sets out a clear roadmap towards further collaboration between business leaders in our two countries. It’s an exciting agenda that can deliver jobs, growth and environmental protection.”

Hosting the group, The Rt Hon William Hague MP, UK Foreign Secretary, said: “I welcome this report, which highlights the scope for collaboration between Britain and India on the low carbon business opportunities that will drive our future economies and create the jobs of tomorrow. As the report shows, there is a clear business case behind a rapid shift to a low carbon economy, particularly in the areas of clean energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon technology and water.”

Rajan Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman and MD, Bharti Enterprises and co-chair of the UK-India Business Leaders Climate Group:  “Our economies have successfully partnered with each other in other areas for decades. We recognise that our future trade will be increasingly low carbon and is a priority for all progressive governments and businesses. We believe that our Charter of Principles can serve as a model to those other countries.”

Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman of Marks & Spencer and co-chair of the UK-India Business Leaders Climate Group says: "It’s absolutely vital that India and the UK work together to create sustainable low carbon economies, and greater business involvement in shaping low carbon solutions will help make this a reality.”

Jairam Ramesh, India’s Climate and Energy Minister, says: “This is a remarkable initiative initiated by the Prime Ministers of our two countries, and I am delighted that the best minds from our business communities sat across the table and have given us their best ideas. We strongly believe that while Governments can provide the policy frameworks and fiscal incentives, ultimately the technology choices and operational actions have to come from the business community.  We in the Government of India will give this significant report the most serious consideration. I look forward to working with business leaders from both countries in implementing many of the recommendations that have been made.”

Greg Barker MP, UK Climate and Energy Minister, says: “Business leaders, not politicians, are the best advocates for the huge opportunities of an ambitious transition to a low carbon economy. This initiative represents a new mindset of Governments and business working together to shape a low carbon future. As we head towards the climate negotiations in Cancun, it’s crucial that Governments push business friendly climate policies and recognise the key role that entrepreneurs and private sector investment has to play.”

Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry says: “The private sector has a central role to play in shaping the business and regulatory architecture to support low carbon economic growth and this initiative will help in demonstrating that businesses across countries can collaborate effectively to address the climate change concern.”

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group the international NGO acting as secretariat to the group says: “The green economy is growing. This ground-breaking Charter will guide crucial government and industry collaboration that will be good for the environment and UK and Indian jobs. I think we will see more bilateral efforts like this filling the international policy vacuum.”

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