Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Posted by: Grant Thornton
Categories: Environment, Property & Construction | Tags: investment, report, survey, energy, sustainability, green, climate change, sustainable cities, sustainable development, environment, green living, green cities, eco city, sustainable, city planning
UK cities are at a crossroads in their development as they come under pressure to grow in a sustainable way and use resources more efficiently. Business, too, is having to address climate change and its impact on the environment. How can a growing ecosystem of private, public and third sector best work together on sustainability and what will our future cities look like? Grant Thornton’s in-depth report reviews the sustainability and business landscape.
Download and read the report:
Sustainable cities – A vision of our future landscape.
Sustainable economic growth really is the one area where “We’re all in this together”, as the Government slogan goes. Cities are having to rethink how they plan and invest for the future – and in the current environment that means opportunities for private and third sector enterprise.
Why every business should read this report
The sustainability challenge is on for everyone. Organisations are now drawing the link between the sustainability of the environments within which they operate and their own sustainability. They want to keep abreast of the options for commerce and collaboration with the public sector – and to understand what is happening in both a national and global context.
Grant Thornton’s ‘Sustainable cities’ report provides this information. In it, we look at what other eco-friendly cities around the world are doing, review a number of UK cities’ sustainability planning and development initiatives, envision a technology-driven sustainable city of the future and make recommendations for commercial involvement.
Why the focus on cities?
“Cities are crucial to global sustainability,” says Nathan Goode, who heads Grant Thornton UK’s new Energy, Environment and Sustainability (EES) team. “Implementing isolated initiatives which ‘reinvent the wheel’ and fail to draw on the full spectrum of skills and resources available is wasteful of resources. Regions and businesses must collaborate and share best practice or the UK as a whole will fall short of sustainability objectives. We have identified a number of regional initiatives that are proving to be very successful and these should be replicated across the UK.”
Shift of power to LEPs, new institutions and community projects
One of the most relevant and topical of our report’s four identified pillars of sustainability is the institutional one. The coalition’s Localism Bill, together with the creation of local economic partnerships, is shifting decision-making powers away from central government and fragmenting it into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. The key question for business in this evolution is how to engage in a way that will meet the objectives of both public and private stakeholders. As part of the Big Society agenda, the report also looks at the potential for interface between community-based initiatives and the private sector.
Where is the funding?
Funding sources are at present uncertain. The Green Investment Bank is still under development, while European funding and policy on sustainable cities are out of alignment. But there are also opportunities, for example, for the JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) and ELENA (European Local Energy Assistance) funding mechanisms.
What are our recommendations?“The task at hand now is to start to create delivery structures and implement programmes,” says Goode, “– drawing, as we say, on the experience and resources of the private sector.”
Laying out the current and future landscape for sustainable investment has raised a number of issues if commercial collaboration and green city planning are to be successful.
Read the Sustainable cities report executive summary for a number of recommendations on governance, finance and investment appraisal.
For further information, visit our Energy, Environment and Sustainability page.
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