A new report by the Carbon Trust highlights the leading role that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can play in the export of low carbon goods and services, calculating that they could triple total exports by 2020.
A "Must" Win: Capitalising on new global low carbon markets to boost UK export growth estimates that the UK could swell its exports of low carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS) from £12 billion to £30 billion by 2020.
In doing so, the UK would double its share in the global low carbon export market to ten per cent, with SMEs taking the lead.
The researchers studied the development of nearly 200 SMEs in the LCEGS market and interviewed government and industry experts to analyse the sector’s export potential.
Taking the lead
SMEs make up more than 90 per cent of all the companies in the domestic low carbon market, and these low carbon SMEs were found to be outperforming most other sectors in the economy.
In particular, the Carbon Trust’s research found that:
- 45 per cent of low carbon SMEs are exporters, compared to an average of 21 per cent for SMEs across all sectors
- 64 per cent have created jobs in the last year, compared to a 33 per cent average across all sectors
- 35 per cent generate at least half their revenues from foreign sales, compared to an average of 21 per cent across all sectors.
Furthermore, low carbon SMEs that export goods or services were found to have better growth potential than non-exporters, with almost half creating jobs, 65 per cent introducing a new product, and 76 per cent benefiting from increased revenues thanks to sales overseas.
Energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, said: “Growth has returned to the UK and low carbon SMEs are in the engine room.
“The low carbon sector is central to the Government’s efforts to build a new economy, boost exports and meet our responsibilities to the next generation on climate change.”
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, added: “The UK has a must-win opportunity to ensure our vibrant low carbon sector grows rapidly and continues its exciting export success story.
“Grabbing this golden opportunity with both hands will help the UK’s economic recovery by delivering new jobs, generating growth and by expanding UK exports.”
However, despite such strong potential, a number of barriers to growth are identified in the report, such as difficulties in accessing finance and partnering with larger organisations.
The Carbon Trust urges low carbon SMEs looking to export to take advantage of the support offered by national agencies such as UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), UK Export Finance (UKEF) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
These agencies can open up vital contact networks, advise on market intelligence, and provide tailored marketing support.
In Greater Manchester, ENWORKS offers free business support for low carbon SMEs. For more information about the service, or to contact an advisor directly, business should call 0161 237 4181 or email email@example.com.
Posted under General Interest on 13 May 2014