Tech billionaire Bill Gates has said the UK has “all the ingredients” to lead the world on net zero, after he met with prime minister Rishi Sunak at a clean tech summit.
Firms including Undaunted, Clean Growth Fund and Legal and General Capital met today to launch Cleantech for UK, a trade coalition worth £6bn.
Record-breaking totals of £3.2bn were invested in the UK clean tech sector – which includes any technologies which help reduce carbon and cut emissions – in both 2021 and 2022.
Speaking after the summit at Imperial College London (ICL), founder Gates said: “The UK has all the ingredients to become a major player in the global push to build a net-zero emissions future, including world-class research facilities and forward-looking investors.
“It’s great to see cleantech businesses, innovators, and policy makers coming together to advance UK climate leadership.”
Attendees discussed how the UK can lead the world in clean solutions to net zero, after the PM said boosting growth was one of his five key priorities ahead of the next election.
Sunak said: “Investing in renewables and clean tech is one of the best ways to strengthen our energy security, create better-paid jobs and grow the economy.
“A new generation of talented British businesses can be confident that they have the backing they need to unlock green solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face.
“This shines a light on the strength of UK innovation – and our ability to find new ways of doing things to drive economic, social and environmental progress.”
Founding partnership members, which is backed by Gates’ sustainability firm Breakthrough Energy, also include Kiko Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and Just Climate.
Professor Hugh Brady, ICL president, added: “Achieving net-zero will require an enormous step-change in our economy, industry and civic systems.”
And Richard Youngman, boss of Cleantech Group which is also backing the venture, said the “transformation of industrialised economies to cleaner, decarbonised and efficient” would require innovation in “all facets” but promised “enormous benefits”.
A No10 spokesperson said: “During their bilateral meeting, the prime minister and Mr Gates discussed strategic challenges facing citizens in the UK and the rest of the world, as well as the opportunity for the UK to lead a global push for innovative solutions across energy security, food supply, and global public health.”