A report from influential Conservative politicians, right-leaning world figures and business leaders has said resource efficient businesses are more likely to be successful.
Brought together by the Conservative Environment Network, the 14 senior global figures are aiming to reinvigorate the debate on the environment and make it a key issue for the centre-right in the Responsibility & Resilience report.
These people include former New York City mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg, Education Secretary Michael Gove MP, former World Bank chairman James Wolfensohn, philosopher Roger Scruton, former Marks and Spencer chairman and chief executive Sir Stuart Rose, Unilever chief executive Paul Polman, Dyson founder Sir James Dyson, Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire, former Governor of California and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.
The report highlights key themes. These include:
- The health and economic resilience of future society are partly rooted in decisions taken today
- The environment is not a progressive cause but sits within the purview of conservative politics
- Government should aim to facilitate decentralised solutions which harness the free market
- There is no economic security without environmental security
- Resource efficiency is an increasing differentiator of successful business
- The conservative traditions of competition and innovation are essential to meeting environmental challenges.
Dyson founder Sir James Dyson said: “Being environmentally conscious is not about second best but allowing us to do more with less. That is precisely what engineers do – develop solutions that use fewer resources while improving performance by approaching problems from new angles.”
Former Marks and Spencer chairman and chief executive Stuart Rose added: “Long-term decisions that balance the demands of economic growth, society and the environment will secure the UK’s future economic prosperity. The public is increasingly aware that both corporate and political credibility are now rooted in adequate response on resource over-consumption.”
Conservative Environment Network steering committee chairman Ben Goldsmith said: “This is the most wide-ranging and ambitious doctrine on the environment ever to come from business and the conservative movement.
“Partly, it’s a reminder of the conservative tradition of Margaret Thatcher, Benjamin Disraeli and Edmund Burke, all of whom framed their politics in the context of responsibility to future generations.
“But the bigger message is that only the conservative tools of competition and the free market are powerful enough to deliver the environmental security and economic resilience we need for a stable society. For me, that means the right must lead on the environment.”