Can you imagine broaching the subject of climate change, carbon footprints and energy efficiency with hard-nosed commercial property and oil industry professionals? Of course you can. The dismissive sweep of the be-suited arm and shake of the bullet head. Forget ah of this ‘green’ irrelevance. lf you want something to worry about, look to liquidity, the price of raw materials and the rise of China.
While many denizens of the property, construction and hydrocarbon industries may take a default cynical position, 1 was struck by the level of interest, and indeed debate, around issues of carbon, climate change and energy use at two recent events. The first was aimed at commercial property developers while the second focussed on oil and associated services. Indeed, the view amongst many attending the former, was that a similar event in 2007 would only have attracted a handful of delegates, compared to the many hundreds present in 2008. The latter brought together representatives of the offshore and professional services industries who engaged in a wideranging debate, encompassing the future of big oil, the place of renewables, carbon pricing, technologies and demand side innovations - the assembled businesses couldn’t get enough.
While numbers are one thing, both events did show that climate change, environment and carbon are now at the very least seen as being a legitimate market backdrop to business. The volume of information, debate, film, words, policy and investment analysis given over to climate change over the past two years has made some inroads into the corporate psyche. At the same time, while the concerns of government and business have grown, so has the market for clean technology, renewable energy and associated goods and services.