Article taken from the Bristol Post, 2nd August 2017. Original article below:
It’s been a busy 12 months for Alan Bailey, chairman of Low Carbon South West – a Bristol based Community Interest Company (CIC) which promotes low carbon goods and services and the businesses that deliver them across all sectors. A year ago, he oversaw the opening of Bristol’s environmental innovation hub, the Future Economy Centre. It is going from strength to strength – the office space was filled within months and its ‘Oak Tree’ events space is always fully booked.
The Centre, a collaboration between Low Carbon South West and DeskLodge, is one of the few major sectorial clusters in the UK containing companies that are delivering both environmental goods, services and the organisations that support them.
For Alan, the success of the centre is evidence that the UK low-carbon sector is seeing major growth. “It demonstrates the real demand for an industry focused cluster,” he said.
Alan is now into his 11th year as chairperson of LCSW – but believes it gets more exciting with each passing year. The organisation has seen a growth in membership, and has become the ‘go to’ place for green-minded businesses looking to collaborate.
“We’re the organisation people need to include if they are serious about sustainability and environmental business,” he said. “It’s more relevant than ever.”
Alan is keen for LCSW to expand its events programme, and to connect financing with companies to help foster new and innovative solutions to sustainability. International trade is another key area of focus. “We want to become ‘Brexit ready’ – so that we can be aligned to the opportunities international markets have,” he added.
Currently the green ‘sector’ is worth £150 billion to the UK economy –with experts predicting that this could increase to as much as £1.4 trillion by 2050, with employment within the sector increasing five-fold. “It really is one of the key sectors that we’re predicting year-on-year growth,” said Alan.
“Even during recession…we were one of the few sectors that were out-performing the whole economy. Most of the really exciting growth will come from aligning to international policy, and our skills and services being sold globally – which is why I think LCSW could fit beautifully, in terms of being able to be one of those conduits, brokers, enablers – to allow those 4,00 members companies to access those global markets. I’m really excited – I think we’re on the cusp of our largest ever growth period.”
Areas which are really seeing pockets of activity include energy demand reduction, energy storage technologies, composites and materials, and modular housing.
Alan believes the West of England Green 50 campaign is a positive initiative which will help to highlight the ‘future landscape’ of the sector – those businesses that will be instrumental in achieving this growth.
“It’s exactly the kind of initiative we need,” he said.