In this article, Stuart Parkinson takes a thought-provoking standpoint on how an ethical approach to industrial policy is key to ensuring long-term prosperity.
Particularly important is his point that younger people can be put off an employer or industrial sector with a poor ethical record. Given that we have a known shortage of young talent coming into engineering and manufacturing, it seems to make perfect sense to gear our industrial strategy towards those industries that are most appealing.
The good news is that those industries, with energy technologies as an example, also happen to be rather exciting and vital for our future. Surely these are going to be an easier ‘sell’ to our brightest prospects, and give us the best chance of a competitive and sustainable industry going into the future?
A recent report by PwC found that most younger people were put off an employer if it did not have a good ethical record – with the oil/gas and military industrial sectors having the most negative ratings. This further reinforces the case for the UK to shift, in particular, from an industrial focus on military technologies and fossil fuels to prioritising renewable energy technologies, energy conservation and energy storage. Some of this shift is already under way. The government’s new industrial strategy is an opportunity to advance it. This is not just so we can feel good about ourselves – it would make good business sense as well.