UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, has launched a call to action for British SMEs to “go green” and take advantage of renewable export opportunities.

With expectations that green trade will be worth £1.8 trillion by 2030, UKEF wants to connect British suppliers with international projects in sectors such offshore wind, solar, and hydrogen in an effort to reach global net zero.

Launched at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, COP26, UKEF is highlighting the global reach of ‘Made in Britain’ and the scope for British businesses to take the lead on driving a more sustainable future.

With plans to deliver up to £170 billion of export sales in goods and services by 2030, UKEF is offering extensive liquidity for British businesses to tap, with a £50 billion capacity to support green exports from the UK.

In recent years UKEF’s support has helped British businesses win export contracts in over 80 countries, including Spain, Taiwan, Dubai, and Ghana, developing wind farms, solar-powered clean drinking water, and sustainable transport.

UK Export Finance
Source: UK Export Finance (UKEF)

In turn, UKEF estimates that it has helped support 64,000 jobs each year since 2018.

UKEF’s latest campaign highlights the work of Lancaster-based wind farm supplier First Subsea; offshore engineering company Offshore Design Engineering (ODE) Group; and clean water provider Aqua Africa, all of whom have used UKEF’s support to win millions of pounds of overseas sustainable contracts.

John Shaw, managing director at First Subsea, said: “We thought renewables was an up-and-coming industry, but we then realised it was a global marketplace, and quickly understood that the commercial proposition was very different to oil and gas. 

“That meant we had much more of a challenge to overcome in terms of financing, bonds, and payment terms. 

“Our bank and UKEF worked very well together and delivered us a product very quickly, and we have potentially had a major game change in this business because of this funding, so I would encourage other businesses to take advantage.”

Clean and green exports currently make up at least 50% of UKEF’s multi-billion business development pipeline of potential deals it may be able to support in future, and UKEF is seeking to connect UK suppliers with these international projects.

UKEF will promote these opportunities this week at COP26 at the UK Pavilion, alongside other international export credit agencies, outlining the need for greater international cooperation to finance green projects.