Breaking into the Low Carbon Economy

Car breakers and recyclers, along with the construction industry, could benefit significantly from existing and future low carbon legislation according to research from the West Midlands Regional Observatory.

The low carbon agenda is gaining pace as the West Midlands seeks a way out of recession, because of the range of opportunities that it provides.

In a low carbon economy businesses deliver products and services, while reducing their level of carbon emissions. We tend to link the low carbon economy with high-tech industry and high levels of innovation, technology and investment. However, the Observatory’s research has found that the opportunities stretch well beyond hydrogen cells, solar panels, electric cars and science parks. There are a number of opportunities for the rest of the region’s economy.

The research suggests that, in the West Midlands, sectors with prospects for growth into the low carbon economy include automotive & transport equipment, construction and public services amongst others.

In the West Midlands, there are a number of potential low carbon opportunities. The manufacture of products for low carbon buildings is one, through providing insulation products, technical tiles and ceramics and prefabricated building elements for construction. The scrap metal and recycling industry will also be presented with a number of low carbon opportunities in vehicle recycling, where legislation will mean that, in the future, more parts of new cars will need to be recyclable.

Other sectors and businesses can benefit from the low carbon economy, through ‘diversifying’ into new low carbon products or ‘decarbonising’ through becoming more efficient in their current processes.

An example of the diversification opportunities would be the tourism industry’s development of ‘Green holidays’. Such holidays encourage people to use sustainable travel methods to get to their destination, stay in hotels with low carbon emissions and conduct activities that have a low impact on the environment. A decarbonising opportunity would be within the food industry, where reducing the amount of waste generated from packaging presents an opportunity for the industry to be more efficient.

Although the opportunities seem clear, the current economic climate means that businesses, particularly small businesses, are more focused on survival than adapting to the low carbon economy. But growth and low carbon are not mutually exclusive. Businesses that become more efficient can not only benefit from the opportunities presented by the low carbon economy, but through decarbonising, can also make efficiency savings on their overheads.



Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact Oliver Nicholls at the Observatory on 0121 503 3133, 07525 703 137 or

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