A recent report from the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) asserts that socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneurs are “critical” to London’s future as a world leader in the economy of the future, as the Commission unveils its picks for this year's crop of the City's most notable mission-driven startups.
*Green Means Business *highlights why London is an ideal location for 'green' entrepreneurs to 'drive innovation, growth, and job creation'; estimating that London's low-carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS) sector has the potential to give an annual market value of £69bn by 2025.
LSDC, a voluntary organization made up of individual experts from the economic, social, environmental and London governance sectors, advises London Mayor Boris Johnson on sustainability issues.
“London is an untapped green gold mine,” Johnson is quoted as saying in the report. “We consume roughly £12 billion of energy each year and produce 22 million tonnes of waste. In sheer scale, these are both tremendous opportunities for new, low-carbon technologies. If you consider this scale along with London’s world-leading research institutions and financial and business services sector, the capital is tremendously well-positioned to take a lead in catalysing the green economy.”
According to the report, London's 'green' economy is currently comprised of roughly 9,000 businesses employing approximately 160,000 people and generating £28bn per year, with current rates of growth indicating that the City’s Low Carbon & Environmental Goods & Services (LCEGS) sector will reach £40 billion by 2020 and £53 billion by 2025 with an increase in employment of about 40,000 jobs.
As the report goes on to point out, “entrepreneurs and SMEs drive innovation, growth and job creation. They are critical to the present success and future potential of efforts to support green growth and a useful indicator of measurable success.”
As such, the London Leaders Program — launched in 2007 by the LSDC — each year highlights some of the most innovative local leaders in sustainable business to demonstrate sustainability in action and its contribution to London’s economy and quality of life. Previous London Leaders include Helen Steer, founder of Grow Beer — a project to crowdsource hops from personal and community gardens for use at local breweries — and Steven Dring, co-founder of Zero Carbon Food, which has set to work growing produce in an abandoned Underground tunnel.
The release of the Green Means Business report coincides with the announcement of this year’s London Leaders by Greg Barker MP, the newly appointed Chair of the LSDC. Barker said he hoped this year’s Leaders would inspire Londoners to see the real commercial potential of responsible, mission-driven businesses:
- Kate Hofman, GrowUp — Urban farms growing sustainable greens, herbs and fish using aquaponics and vertical growing systems.
- Katie Harris, NANA Café — A comfort food café taht employs lovely older ladies from the local area.
- Ugo Valluri, Restart Project — A social enterprise that teaches and repairs electronic goods to promote reuse.
- Ed Hewitt, World in London — A app ‘passport’ curating the best experiences from each nationality in London.
- Ilana Taub, Snact — Making healthy snacks from fruit and vegetable surplus, as a way to tackle food waste and create employment opportunities.
- Richard Driffield, Play Streets — Supporting residents across London to activate play and social interaction on their streets.
- Indie Shergill, Rootless Garden — An initiative to design activities inspired by nature to encourage physical and mental wellbeing through creative social opportunities for older people.
- Hilary Vick, Nappy Ever After — An initiative to encourage a move away from wasteful disposable diapers to real ones.
- Alexander Lushnikov, Chainy — A platform that connects skills with need to help small businesses and artists grow.
“The new London Leaders are an impressive group of bright-minded, entrepreneurial talent,” Barker said. “Not only can these businesses thrive in their own right but they will act as a catalyst to others who want to conduct business in a sustainable way.”