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SMEs are helping to unlock £3tn low-carbon tech sector



The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are innovating in low-carbon technologies has doubled in the last two years, rising from 37% in 2011 to 76% in 2013, according to new research.

A study entitled Low carbon entrepreneurs: the new engines of growth, conducted by the Carbon Trust and Shell Springboard, has revealed that start-up SMEs are pushing for a greater share of the £3 trillion global low-carbon sector.

The study, which blends quantitative data analysis of 1,855 low-carbon SMEs with surveys of around 200 low-carbon entrepreneurs, also found that SMEs targeting international markets for low-carbon products had increased to 76%.

Over the next two years, it says, firms plan to expand their exports to include the US (15%) and Germany (12%). Estimated to be worth around £3.3 trillion, this value of the global low-carbon economy has been predicted to grow to £4 trillion.

Almost 2,000 low-carbon SMES were mapped across the UK, and valued at around £120 billion, with hubs for innovation in London, Cambridge, Southampton, Leeds and Oxford.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said, “The low-carbon economy is already a real engine of growth for the UK economy.  

“It is worth more than £120 billion in annual sales and employs almost 1 million people. 

“This new research indicates that the sector is looking to expand further and is targeting vital exports as it does so.” 

The report also found that 60% of low-carbon SMEs in the UK were planning to create new jobs over the next 12 months.

Further reading:

UN lauds science and technology as ‘critical’ in sustainable development

Stuttering investment is putting EU renewables targets at risk

Energy bill to be reviewed by MPs in June

Carbon Trust honours companies with inaugural water reduction award 

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013


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