Conference hears importance of green business

Future South board member Andy Stanford-Clark holds the David Green Award trophy with Sir Vince Cable
Future South board member Andy Stanford-Clark holds the David Green Award trophy with Sir Vince Cable

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THE growth of the south’s low-carbon economy must ‘remain an imperative’, a major conference on green business heard.

Former business secretary Sir Vince Cable told the annual Future South event that companies and organisations needed to have environmental sustainability in mind as a long-term strategy.

Speaking to 200 business leaders, technologists, academics and local authority representatives, Sir Vince said: ‘Politicians come and go but a long-term commitment to invest in the green economy must remain an imperative whatever our government and whatever trading relationships we have. We shouldn’t be deflected from that.’

The conference at Winchester Guildhall brought together recipients of green growth grants, loans and other funding channelled through the Future South partnership and Greentech South, the UK’s first dedicated ‘environment and energy cluster’.

Delegates heard that 225 jobs had been created at 130 firms in the south thanks to more than £30m in government and private investment. In addition, Greentech South has just been accepted on to the International Cleantech Network, a worldwide collaboration of clusters involving leading energy-efficient and low-carbon businesses.

Future South chairman Stewart Dunn said: ‘Our fifth annual conference was an ideal chance to discuss the successes and challenges we all face in developing and growing a low-carbon economy in the south.

‘We have made a great deal of progress albeit with much more to do.’

The conference was sponsored jointly by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Crossprint and Bouygues UK.

For more information, visit futuresouth.org and greentechsouth.com.