All of a sudden something goes very wrong. The balloon begins to sink rapidly. You must throw some form of ballast over the side and quick, lest you meet a sticky end. But what should you throw? The chocolates, the strawberries, your partner…anything but the champagne, for goodness sake!
With global markets in free fall, governments must ditch some areas of expenditure in order to save everything else that we hold dear. But how do they choose what’s least important, most disposable, easiest to chuck overboard?
When a ten-year-old, snot running down his glee-filled face, gets his £1 pocket money, he won’t spend any time contemplating the future ramifications of his spending. He’ll decide what he needs there and then (90 cola bottles and a Refresher). The same is true of governments: when funds are scarce, long-term goals give way to short-term needs.
Poland and six other EU members have decided that greenhouse gas emission reductions and other types of environmental spending should be the long-term investments to be thrown overboard. They’ve demanded that their emission reduction targets be dropped to ease pressure on their struggling industries. “Cowards!” I hear you cry.
The UK government (cue national anthem) have decided not to back away from their environmental pledges. Ed Miliband, the new Environment Secretary, has decided to increase the UK’s targets on greenhouse gas emission reductions from 60% to 80% by 2050, sending out a bold statement that the environment will not suffer at the hands of the credit crunch (more inspirational music). This announcement was well received by European leaders and greenies up and down country.
It’s a testing time for everyone, but spare a thought for the thousands of new “green” companies that have emerged in recent years, riding the crest of the eco-wave. As purse strings tighten, it remains to be seen whether paying a little extra to save the planet can continue to be the basis of a viable business model or whether these green warrior entrepreneurs will suffer at the hands of a grim economy.
Of course the credit crunch can’t be used as an excuse for governments to abandon their environmental responsibilities. They need to continue to invest in renewables and effectively police industries such as aviation and shipping. But green-tinged responsibilities are not restricted to our political leaders. There is certainly a place for all of us as individuals to push businesses up the “greener” path and to encourage new green enterprises to flourish and thrive.
In these trying times, all businesses – environmentally friendly or not – are finding it increasingly difficult to raise business finance. While we like to think of ourselves as eco-aware here at Angels Den, the ”green” that we promote is the profit that our entrepreneurs and investors can make through working with one another. So whatever shape, size, creed and colour your business is, visit our website, www.angelsden.co.uk, to see what all the fuss surrounding our business funding is about.
Bill Morrow is the founder & chief executive of Angels Den