Secrets of the Pioneers launched today: projections for the next decade of green growth


Bob Holycross

How will the green economy develop over the next decade? And which technologies, business models and ideas can propel us towards greater sustainability?

To answer these questions, we are publishing , a report featuring more than 20 interviews from leading figures in the green economy, from the worlds of business, science, policy and finance. It was produced in collaboration with BusinessGreen and launched at the BusinessGreen Leaders’ Summit today.

The report marks the 10-year anniversary of both BusinessGreen and Greenhouse PR. Greenhouse has driven many high-impact campaigns over its decade-long history, including some notable recent successes. This has led to extremely positive feedback from clients, featured in this video, and helped us win the BusinessGreen award for Best Green PR Company two years in a row.

James Murray, editor-in-chief at BusinessGreen, said: “The outlook for the green economy has never been more exciting, but it also comes with immense challenges. The Secrets of the Pioneers report, which we’ve been delighted to publish alongside Greenhouse PR, provides unique insight into how some of the UK’s top green business thought leaders are engaging with the trends that will shape the green economy over the next decade. It is a must-read for any green business or sustainability executive who recognises the critical importance of pursuing a long term strategy and communicating it effectively.”

Anna Guyer, founder and director of Greenhouse PR, said: “Overall, this report gives a clear message of hope and ambition, showing that many of the leaders of the green economy share a positive vision of what the future can look like. 

“Communicating positive solutions to address climate change and scale the future we want to see will be vital if we are to create a thriving, smart, green economy that is regenerative and restorative for both people and the planet.”

Key findings: growing momentum since 2007

A lot has changed over the last 10 years as many ‘green’ business concerns have moved into the mainstream. Renewable technologies now generate almost 30% of electricity in the UK, and most car manufacturers seem to be moving towards electric vehicles. Since 2015, almost all countries have committed to address climate change through the Paris Accord. The report shows forward-looking companies have been at the forefront of this growing momentum.

The UK has been a large part of this. As Claire Perry, Minister for Climate Change and Industry states in her interview, since 1990, the UK has “cut emissions by more than 40% while our economy has grown by two thirds over that time. On a per person basis, this means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation.”

Secrets of the Pioneers 

Looking forward to the next decade

Climate change may be kept within the two-degree target, most interviewees agree, “but that doesn’t mean that there is not a lot of pain ahead,” according to former executive director of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres. Many of the pioneers highlight water issues, food shortages and pollution as major concerns for the future.

Nonetheless, most interviewees seem to be generally optimistic about the next 10 years. As Lord Nicholas Stern puts it, “I’m very optimistic about what we can do, I’m much more cautious about what we will do.”

Perhaps the most optimistic prediction could be that sustainable business continues to move into the mainstream, until it becomes the norm. At that point, the high-carbon, waste-intensive and polluting way of doing things will seem as archaic as Victorian working practices seem to us today.

At Greenhouse, we’re always looking for ways to drive change and share solutions to the big challenges we face. If you want to increase your impact in the next decade of green growth, we would love to hear from you.