London's Green Industry
London has been experiencing something of an environmentally friendly renaissance in recent years. Green business has become a major driver in the economy of London and has grown to become one of the most influential industries in the city. By 2013, green businesses are expected to comprise nearly £27 billion of London's total economy. This places environmentally-based goods and services on par with the economic impact of some of the most traditionally powerful industries within London.
Economic analysts have been surprised to see a steady amount of growth in the environmental industry sector over the course of the worldwide recession. Most industries find themselves in need of a belt-tightening in times like these as profits shrink due to lower capital liquidity. However, the green industries in London have seen a marked increase of over 4 per cent every year since 2009. The green business sector in London is now a major force that employs nearly 200,000 people throughout the city.
Despite this constant growth, green industry in London is often seen as an emerging market that is rife with opportunities for capital investments. Carbon finance is the largest of the specific sectors of green industry in London. It accounts for roughly £6 billion of the total impact of green industry on the economy of London and has led to the creation of over 2000 businesses in the area. To put it in perspective, this accounts for roughly 97 per cent of the total carbon finance industry throughout the United Kingdom. This is just one example of how investments have really helped to push growth in the green businesses of London.
Successful Green Businesses in London
There are quite a few examples throughout London of businesses that have found success with a “green” model. There are a few lessons to be learned by investigating the methodology of these businesses and the impact that methodology has had on the overall economic climate of London.
This is a great example of how small businesses can benefit from the green industrial model. Wiles Greenworld, established in Perivale, is an office supplies and general merchandise company operating out of London. They employ a small staff of 50 and are considered to have an exceptionally low environmental impact by the Sunday Times. Wiles Greenworld accomplishes this through a few different approaches.
Firstly, they specialise in giving consumers access to responsibly-sourced goods. They sell everything from organic cotton clothing to general merchandise that is made of recycled materials. Their goal is to make environmental responsibility a part of the everyday lexicon of the average person.
Wiles Greenworld also extends its impact by having one of the greenest workforces in the city. They provide a lot of training and educational materials to their employees and encourage them to share the materials with their family. The result is that Wiles Greenworld employees go on to have a positive environmental impact both in and out of work.
Hammerson is a property development company operating out of Westminster, London, that is responsible for a number of large projects throughout the area. "Development company" and "environmental sustainability" are rarely ever mentioned in the same sentence due to the supposed conflicting nature of the two enterprises. However, Hammerson has gone a long way toward promoting environmental sustainability in both its corporate culture and in its development projects.
The company was one of the first proponents of green leases. These are leases that contain provisions for the lease-holder to engage in environmentally friendly practises during the duration of the lease. This can be anything from using more efficient appliances to pursuing alternative energy programmes to meet energy needs. This has helped to create a push within the London business community to make sustainability a common theme in business.
Hammerson is also a medium-sized company that actively promotes a healthy lifestyle within its corporate culture. The 230 employees of Hammerson are encouraged to bike, walk, or run to work instead of driving. There is even a locker room with shower facilities to give employees the ability to freshen up if they decide to reach work through these means. The company also provides its employees with interest-free loans that can be applied to train season tickets.