Think London's 'Route to 2012' Olympic Games Starts with Cleantech Panel Discussion in San Francisco

Adam Eisman - Contributing Writer
Posted on Thursday 11th June 2009

Think London, the foreign direct investment agency for London, together with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the government’s international business development organization, hosted today a Cleantech panel discussion at the Ferry Building, San Francisco, as part of the 'Route to 2012' Olympic and Paralympic Games roadshow.

The event, attended by 50 senior executives from cleantech and sustainability companies, was the first of a number of high profile business events that are being organized in conjunction with the 'Route to 2012' Olympic games roadshow in North America to promote London as the number one destination for North American companies looking to expand overseas. Panelists at the event discussed current opportunities that are available in London for companies in the San Francisco Bay area, including the role of sustainability in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The panel comprised of influential speakers from the sustainability sector including, Padmesh Shukla, head of finance at the Mayor of London’s Climate Change Program; Wade Crowfoot, director of Climate Protection Initiatives, San Francisco Mayor’s Office; Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of Business Development at Tesla Motors; Dallas Kachan, managing director, Cleantech Group; Dan Epstein, head of sustainability at the Olympic Delivery Authority; and Janet Coyle, director of 2012 Games at Think London. Sean Randolph, chief executive for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, moderated the discussion.

According to Janet Coyle, director of 2012 Games at Think London, "London still presents significant opportunities for companies from North America and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been a catalyst for investment in the UK’s capital. London’s commitment to sustainability is demonstrated by the ODA delivering the first Sustainable Olympic Games by integrating environmentally friendly practices throughout the Games’ lifecycle. Furthermore, the Mayor of London’s carbon reduction initiatives have generated many opportunities for businesses in his aim to make London the low carbon capital of the world. Companies operating in the sustainable or cleantech industries will find that London’s environment is extremely fertile for green innovation and green investment.”

Sean Randolph, chief executive for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, said, “Sustainability and clean technology features high on any organization’s agenda and is one of the few sectors which is still relatively resilient to the global recession, which is why today’s discussion generated a great deal of interest from the business community here in San Francisco. Many local companies are looking to grow and London’s innovative and dynamic sustainability sector will provide an ideal platform for development and further expansion in to Europe.”

Sir Alan Collins, now British Consul General in New York, was Consul-General in Singapore where the IOC announced the UK’s successful Olympic bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. Now responsible for trade and investment in the USA, he commented, “Although the focus of the ‘Route to 2012’ roadshow will be on the digital and sustainable sectors, it is hard to think of any sector that will not benefit from the business opportunities that London, and UK more generally, will offer in the run-up to the 2012 Games.”

Over the next ten months, the 'Route to 2012' roadshow will reach out to potential investors and showcase investment opportunities in the UK's sustainability sector, including the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Think London and UKTI will visit 12 cities across North America hosting a series of VIP events to highlight the sustainable, digital and general business opportunities that London offers North American companies. Having visited Palo Alto and San Francisco, 'Route to 2012' will stop in Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Toronto, Chicago and Vancouver.

Even in the current economic climate, the UK continues to be an attractive destination for overseas companies. It is the largest recipient of overseas investment in Europe, second only to the U.S. globally. Since 2000, Think London has assisted nearly 900 companies from North America expand their operations to London including Delta Airways, Amgen, Google, Raytheon, Wells Fargo, LinkedIn, Microsoft, MySpace and Facebook. In the past year, UKTI has helped 20,700 businesses to generate 33.6bn pounds Sterling in revenues.

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