Harnessing technology

What is the green economy and its benefits?

The global transition to net zero could create one million new jobs in the UK, directly and indirectly, with the science and technology sector seeing the biggest growth. That is according to new research by Bruntwood SciTech, a leading provider of specialist property and innovation services that is a 50:50 partnership between Legal & General and Bruntwood.

9 Mar 2021

As demand rises for green products and services, the UK is well-positioned to benefit from this trend, with a wealth of academic and research resources that enable it to be at the forefront of technological discovery. A healthy business base also exists in the UK to convert these discoveries into opportunities and jobs, provided businesses can access the talent and skills they need to thrive.

The science and technology sector already makes a huge contribution to the UK’s economy, providing nearly one-in-ten jobs. That role can only grow in importance as a result of net zero. Indeed, the sector is expected to generate 65% of all new net zero-related jobs by 2050. The remaining 35% will be in sectors such as construction and building services.

This shows another reason why green technology is important – it not only helps achieve net zero, but it creates opportunities for businesses and the people they employ.

Here we explore the economic benefits of going green for the UK economy, as detailed in the Bruntwood SciTech report.

Employment opportunities

Around 53,000 jobs are predicted to be added to the science and technology sector in direct employment over the next four years (by 2025) as a result of the net zero transition


It is expected that 639,000 jobs will be created in the science and technology sector by 2050, both direct and indirect through business procurement and employee expenditure


The science and technology sector is expected to generate 65% of all new net zero-related jobs by 2050


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The share of jobs and wealth generation accounted for by businesses in the UK’s science and technology economy can be expected to grow significantly over the next 5 years and beyond

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Levelling up

Two thirds (66%) of all direct jobs expected to be created by the science and technology sector will be outside of London, the South East and the East of England. While London and the surrounding regions are still expected to see the most benefits in absolute terms, the largest relative gains are potentially in northern regions


The additional annual economic output of the science and technology sector in North East England is expected to be 6% higher than current levels by 2050. That is more than double the equivalent increase expected to occur across the UK as a whole


It’s calculated that 111,900 new direct science and technology jobs will be in the North of England. By comparison, 121,900 will be located in London, the South East and the East of England


The recent success of northern English cities – like Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester – in growing their tech and life sciences sectors …. provides a further platform to rebalance the sectors’ national footprint over the coming years

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Green growth

Expansion of the science and technology sector will mean £35 billion annual gross value added (GVA, or economic output) to the UK economy by 2050

£35 billion

The North West is expected to see the biggest regional share of that total, generating annual GVA amounting to £4.7 billion, equivalent to 13.6% of the UK total

No. 1

In the North East, the expected annual direct contribution from the science & technology sector by 2050 will represent an increase of around 6.5% in the current value of economic output (GVA) generated by the region


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The UK’s science and technology industries are a vital part of the UK economy: the sector generated gross value added worth an estimated £225 billion in 2020

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Business turnover

It’s predicted there will be £104 billion additional business turnover from industries in the science and technology sector by 2050 as a result of the transition to net zero

£104 billion

Just under half – £50 billion – of the additional business revenues are expected to be accrued by businesses involved in production of electric and other low-carbon vehicles (including buses, rail vehicles, trucks and vans) and vehicle components

£50 billion

The electrical equipment sub-sector is expected to produce the second largest increase in turnovers at £17,406 billion, which represents 16.6% of the science and technology sector’s overall additional revenues


The business opportunities linked to net zero transition can be expected to yield significant financial benefits in turns of additional business turnover for employers in the science and technology sector

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What is the green economy? Why is the green economy important in today's world? 

A green economy is defined as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, income and employment are driven by public and private investment into activities that reduce carbon emissions and prevent the loss of biodiversity. A green economy definition is profit with purpose at its heart. Similarly, green investment funds consists of investment activities that focus on companies or projects committed to the conservation of natural resources. Some green economy examples are sectors including: clean energy, green buildings, sustainable transport, water management, waste management and land management. 

What is the Green Economy Initiative?

The UN Environment-led Green Economy Initiative, launched in late 2008, emphasises the importance of green economy. The Green Economy Initiative is a coalition of organisations with a collective objective to provide the analysis and policy support for investing in green sectors and facilitating green economic growth (source). 

Blue economy vs green economy: what is the meaning of blue economy/ what is blue economy? 

Blue economy principles question how we produce and consume things, with a focus on using all resources efficiently and using waste to make new products where possible. 

The principles of the blue economy are based on natural ecosystems, encouraging people to use all waste, consuming locally and making and using only what is essential.  

What is the circular economy? Circular economy vs green economy 

The circular economy means moving away from our current – and enormously wasteful – economic model of ‘take, make, throw away’, in which resources are extracted, turned into products, used, and discarded. A circular green economy improves resource efficiency and reduces environmental impact on natural capital by designing products in a more sustainable way.