It’s beginning to pay to go green

Caring about climate change used to be the preserve of the sandals brigade, then it became woke, now, it’s big business.

Whether or not you personally subscribe to the science of global warming is largely irrelevant.

The UK government has subscribed to it, signing up to the Paris Agreement and going a step further, committing to law a national obligation to cut carbon emissions across the UK to net zero by 2050. 

This will take a herculean effort across all industries and billions, if not trillions, of pounds to achieve. 

This week Boris Johnson’s Tory Party conference speech centred around a green economy of the future, particularly windpower. 

The financial benefits alone make an increasingly persuasive argument for getting on board the green recovery raft

And there’s more where that came from.

The country is facing wholesale change in agricultural policy, retrofitting British homes to replace gas boilers with electric heat pumps, banning the sale of both diesel and petrol vehicles, switching from fossil-fuelled power to renewable energy sources, replacing diesel-guzzling trains, planes, ferries, ships and haulage fleets with cleaner versions powered either electrically or by hydrogen.

We are moving towards biomass and batteries, electric vehicles, sun, wind and waves and somewhere to store all of this intermittently produced energy.

 Along with that comes the infrastructure improvements needed to support the country’s increasing reliance on it – this is the future that Britain is looking towards. 

Recognising the economic value in this, government has now branded the financial effort needed to claw the UK economy out of Covid-ravaged recession the ‘green recovery’. 

It’s a smart move. Technology is taking us in this direction anyway, Britain is coming out of the European Union by the end of this year and needs to set up its stall with wares it can sell internationally, and, the UK economy is ripe with the skills needed to make Britain a global leader in clean industry across many different sectors. 

Offshore energy infrastructure, science and technology research and development, world-class financial and professional services, manufacturing and engineering expertise across the automotive, aerospace, marine and power generation industries – these are just a few of the things that Britons are world leaders at. 

The platform to showcase this expertise is also, handily, available in the form of COP26 – the annual United Nations climate change summit, which having been postponed from next month because of Covid, has been rescheduled to take place in Glasgow in November 2021. 

Get a green homes grant

In August, government unveiled a green homes grant available to those making energy efficient improvements to their homes.  

Homeowners and landlords in England can apply for a voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to homes, which could help save up to £600 a year on energy bills.

The government will provide a voucher that covers up to two thirds of the cost of qualifying improvements to your home. 

The maximum value of the voucher is £5,000. 

You may be able to receive a higher level of subsidy if you are a homeowner and either you or a member of your household receives one of the qualifying means-tested benefits, covering 100 per cent of the cost of the improvements. 

The maximum value of these voucher is £10,000. Landlords cannot apply for the low-income part of the scheme.

This is not just an opportunity to demonstrate the UK’s first mover status in tackling climate change head on, this is the place where we sell how to do it to global leaders from around the world.  

Public and private investment into ‘green’ over the next three decades will be unprecedented – just as well given the unprecedented spending that the government’s emergency Covid response has required.  

Businesses are now waking up to the coming tide of capital. 

Going green is now a corporate no-brainer 

Coupled with the opportunity to claim an environmental conscience – increasingly popular with the woke generation and baby boomers concerned about the future they’re leaving behind for their grandchildren – going green is now a corporate no-brainer. 

Much of the effort towards this green recovery and British rebrand goes on behind closed doors, in company boardrooms and Whitehall conference rooms.

But in the past few months, the changing tide has begun to seep into the range of financial products on offer to consumers.

Even if you don’t count yourself an eco-warrior, the financial benefits on offer from today’s ‘green’ products make an increasingly persuasive argument for getting on board the green recovery raft. 

This is Money is embarking on our own greener finance journey, and will be featuring a series of articles to help you work out how to get the best out of the green recovery

This is Money is embarking on our own greener finance journey, and will be featuring a series of articles to help you work out how to get the best out of the green recovery

Greenwash warning 

But – there’s always a but – while there are companies committed to the green agenda for all of the right reasons, there are also those jumping on the bandwagon who are looking to take advantage of the unsuspecting.

‘Greenwash’ is coming, at pace. This is slang for all those claiming to be environmentally conscientious and that investing in their brand of green will help you feel good about saving the planet while also filling your financial boots. 

They take your money and give you grand, green promises which they don’t deliver.

 They take your money and give you grand, green promises which they don’t deliver

Greenwash also comes in the form of focusing corporate publications, financial statements and investor relations on the board’s green agenda, while also quietly profiting off the back of less savoury corporate practice.

At the moment, there is very little in the way of consequence for claiming green credentials that apply to just 1 per cent of your business activities.  

This murkier side of green must be monitored carefully – it has the potential to spiral into the next big scam market. 

Remember carbon credits? Round two is probably on its way. 

This is Money is always on the side of the consumer, and when it comes to green, that means sorting the facts from the fiction. 

To that end, we’re embarking on our own greener finance journey, and will be featuring a series of articles over the coming months to help you work out how to get the best out of the green recovery.   

It’s unlikely to be plain sailing, but voyages of discovery rarely are. 

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