Renewable energy firms and other low-carbon businesses are making more than £46 billion a year and employing nearly 240,000 people in the UK, according to the first survey of their impact on the economy by the Office for National Statistics.
It found that there were more than 96,000 individual businesses involved in the sector in 2014, making up 4.4 per cent of the total number of British firms excluding the financial ones.
Scotland had the highest percentage of those kinds of businesses with 5.2 per cent involved in the sector, followed by England (4.4 per cent), Wales (3.9 per cent) and Northern Ireland (3.2 per cent).
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said: “These figures underline the importance of low-carbon businesses to Scotland and the rest of the UK, by helping grow our economy and creating jobs.
“However, if we are to enjoy the multiple benefits of the transition to a zero-carbon future we need our political leaders to commit to a renewable energy future by bringing forward the policies to realise our potential.”
He said Scotland had the chance to become the first fully renewable electricity nation in the European Union by 2030.
“But this will only happen if Scottish Ministers commit to this ambition and ensure their forthcoming energy strategy majors on renewable power, flexibility, demand reduction, and energy storage,” he said.
“With opinion polling showing that over 70 per cent of people see clear economic benefits from renewable energy, this is an approach that the public could get behind.”
In addition to renewable energy, the figures included nuclear power, low-emission vehicles, energy-efficient products and low-carbon financial and advisory services.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies