British Columbia companies visit London; recognize UK as strong partner for low-carbon business collaboration
LONDON (August 2, 2012) – The United Kingdom's and British Columbia's strong partnerships in sustainability and low carbon are being reinforced this week by Vancouver policymakers and green business leaders visiting London to explore opportunities for collaboration with the UK.
Led by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, the delegation of British Columbia businesses will learn about Great Britain's dynamic green business sector and opportunities for investment and collaboration.
"Fostering partnerships between Vancouver and UK companies with expertise in the cleantech space makes sense during the London 2012 Games, especially considering both Vancouver and London's commitment to sustainability in all aspects of their development and delivery as Host Cities to the Olympic Games," said Lee Malleau, CEO of Vancouver Economic Commission. Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.
While visiting London, the Vancouver companies are identifying potential opportunities for growth and investment in the UK, the world's sixth largest market for low carbon and environmental goods and services.
The UK is developing extensive capabilities in the low carbon sector, in large part due to the country's low carbon polices including reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The UK is already recognized as a global leader in offshore wind expertise. In addition, the Green Deal, a UK government initiative to retrofit 26 million British buildings, is positioning the UK as a global leader in green building and energy efficiency expertise. The UK is gaining low carbon recognition and expertise in other clean energy and environmental sectors as well, and combined, this know-how is propelling the UK to its position as a leading market for clean technology and low carbon solutions.
"Ambitious sustainability policies supported by environmental leadership in the business community make the UK an extremely attractive market for our nutrient recovery technology," said Phillip Abrary, President and CEO of Ostara, a Vancouver based clean water company whose innovative technology recovers nutrients from wastewater and transforms them into a slow release commercial fertilizer. The company's first UK partnership – a nutrient recovery facility with Thames Water, Britain's biggest water and sewerage company serving a quarter of the country's population – will open in fall 2012 at Slough Sewage Works.
"Expansion in the EU is key element of our marketing strategy and expanding our reach in the UK is the first step," added Abrary.
The UK has been globally recognized as an economic center for developing and supporting low carbon innovation. An Ernst & Young index of the world's most attractive countries for renewable energy investment rated the UK #5 and a study by the Cleantech group and the World Wildlife Fund named the UK one of the top ten locations in the world to set up a clean technology start-up company.
"While the UK demonstrates that the transition to a green economy is beneficial for businesses and growth at home, the country is also sharing its low carbon expertise and experience in markets around the globe," said Mike Rosenfeld, UK Trade & Investment, Vice-Consul – Senior Director Clean Technology Sector.
More than 20 British companies – including UK Trade & Investment's delegation of 15 organizations – visited Vancouver in March for GLOBE 2012, the bi-annual conference and expo focused on environmental and sustainable business. The UK's low carbon sector footprint in Vancouver currently includes Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon, a UK-based hydropower turbine specialist with an office in Vancouver, and Symphony Environmental, which has its biodegradable plastic technology in consumer products on store shelves throughout B.C.
"The UK-Canada partnership is a key channel for fostering cross-sectoral growth in sustainability and low carbon technologies and services, largely in part to both countries' long-term commitment to building a green economy," said Rosenfeld.
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