We have used the definition from the forthcoming independent study by Innovas, commissioned by BERR. The UK’s environmental industries are broadly defined by three categories:
‘Traditional’ Environmental Goods and Services: i.e. those related to solutions for problems such as air/noise/marine pollution and land/water contamination, environmental analysis and consultancy, and waste management and recycling;
a wider range of rapidly growing renewable energy technologies, such as hydro, wave and tidal power, geothermal, wind and biomass; and
a number of other emerging low carbon activities such as reduced emissions from within the transport and construction sectors, nuclear energy, energy management, carbon capture and storage and carbon finance.
The UK CEED (Centre for Economic and Environmental Development) report on ‘Emerging Markets in the Environmental Sector’ (November 2006) estimated that the UK environmental sector employed around 400,000 with an annual turnover of £25 billion. This report predicted that the market would grow to £46 billion by 2015.
Other studies, such as that undertaken by Roland Berger, suggest that the global market could double by 2020. It is therefore reasonable to assume that if the UK maintains its share of the growth, more than one million could be employed in this sector over the next 20 years.
A more recent study (the forthcoming independent study by Innovas, commissioned by BERR) estimates that the UK already employs 880,000 in this sector if the wider supply chain is included.