Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker is leading a UK business trade mission to the southern United States this weekend aimed at strengthening the UK-US trade relationship and building the economic and business case for the move to a low-carbon economy.
Visiting Houston, San Antonio, and Atlanta, the delegation intends to use leading examples of UK sustainable business to demonstrate firsthand the compatibility of green and growth, as well as offering opportunities for companies to connect with new or existing business partners.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The growing global market in green goods and services represents a huge range of opportunities for UK businesses. What is good for the planet can be fantastic for business too and I want to help British entrepreneurs and companies seize those opportunities with both hands.
“Britain is leading the way in demonstrating that the shift to a green economy is beneficial for businesses and growth.
“As well as helping our companies get a greater understanding of the opportunities in the US market, I also want to use this visit to show US firms why they should be investing in the UK.”
On each leg of the trip, events will include small, board-room style meetings with a select group of US business leaders, as well as larger, higher-profile events with elected officials, academics, regional economic development agencies and businesses. There will also be opportunities for the delegation to arrange private calls with important business contacts.
The delegation’s itinerary includes:
• Houston, Texas (6-7 May): Houston has a long tradition as the capital of the traditional energy sector and it also has a fast growing economic base for renewable energy. Houston is a large economy, its annual gross product of $400bn puts it on a par with a mid-sized country such as Austria or Norway and is second only to New York in numbers of Fortune 500 company headquarters.
• San Antonio, Texas (8 May): Texas’ second city San Antonio is a major military hub with tourism and healthcare/biomedical research forming other major sectors. Energy policy in San Antonio is unique for the size and scope in Texas with major drives on energy efficiency and greening public transport amongst many others. The itinerary includes a meeting with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.
• Atlanta, Georgia (9-10 May): Atlanta is the state capital and considered the commercial hub of the South East as well as a centre of innovation and higher education. It has experienced the fastest growth of any US metro area in the last 10 years. The business community includes HQs of major property development and management companies, as well as professional services companies advising Fortune 500 clients on their sustainability strategies.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said: “Georgia is fast becoming a leader in the ‘clean-tech’ and sustainable energy sectors, and it is our great honour to welcome Minister Barker and this delegation to our state.
“We have long enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the United Kingdom founded on business and cultural exchange. I am encouraged by this visit, specifically as it relates to strengthening our ties in the areas of spurring innovation and competitiveness for green energy solutions here and abroad.”
“Metro Atlanta is the perfect place to grow clean tech jobs,” added Bill Kimble, office managing partner at KPMG and 2012 Metro Atlanta Chamber Clean Tech Leadership Council chair. “The Metro Atlanta Chamber identified clean tech as a new area to grow 6,000 jobs by 2017, and recently launched the Clean Tech Leadership Council to grow companies and jobs in this robust area. The MAC Global Commerce team will meet with Minister Barker and the UK business delegation to discuss new business opportunities in this exciting area.”
The companies taking part in trade delegation include Jupiter Asset Management, KiWi Power, Parhelion Underwriting, PB Energy Solutions and Rolls Royce.
Emma Howard Boyd, Sustainable Investment and Governance Director, Jupiter Asset Management, said: “The UK is widely recognised as a global leader in green financial services and Jupiter has a long-standing commitment to the field of sustainable and green investment. I am delighted to be part of this important delegation and look forward to learning more about the US market and to be part of a showcase of UK companies investing in the green economy."
And Yoav Zingher, CEO of KiWi Power, added: “Sharing of technology and knowledge is key to continued innovation, and I firmly believe that new products and services in the green space will spur economic growth, create jobs and increase the UK’s exports: reducing carbon and reducing costs are both issues that all countries face and we have the chance to be at the cutting edge of that development.
“Trade with the United States is a huge part of this and I’m delighted and excited to be a part of the Minister’s continuing efforts in this regard.”
Julian Richardson, CEO of Parhelion Underwriting, said: “I am delighted that the UK government is supporting British businesses in the climate finance sector in this way. Parhelion has been working in this sector for six years, managing climate change risks and carbon trading exposures. Public-private partnerships will play an important role is seeing this sector develop.”
Phyllis Boardman, MD of PB Energy Solutions, said: “I am delighted to join the visit to the US where I aim to foster discussions about the barriers and challenges associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Our best practice examples will show that energy efficiency, sustainability and climate protection go hand in hand with economic growth and creation of new skills and jobs. There are mutual opportunities for the UK and US to empower an economic transformation to meet our ambitious carbon emission reduction targets, trigger increased turnover and job growth, whilst increasing the competitiveness of economies.”