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Business leaders back ‘leaner, cleaner’ manufacturing

The North West Business Leaders Team, which includes some of the region’s biggest companies, has joined think tank Green Alliance to push for more support for resource efficient manufacturing.

The North West Business Leaders Team, which includes some of the region’s biggest companies, has joined think tank Green Alliance to push for more support for resource efficient manufacturing.

The North West Business Leaders Team is made up of senior figures from Siemens, Arup, BAE Systems, Bruntwood, DONG Energy, Manchester Airport Group, Peel Group, Unilever, and others. 

The group has released a joint statement with the likes of British Chamber of Commerce and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) supporting the Green Alliance, which has published a paper calling on the government to use its forthcoming Industrial Strategy to “raise the baseline performance of all UK manufacturers on resource efficiency”.

Manufacturers ‘unaware’

Around half of manufacturers’ costs go to resource inputs. However, while the best manufacturers in the country have cut their energy use by 50 per cent in the last ten years, the majority have only managed 10-15 per cent, Green Alliance says.

Although leading firms “are already capitalising on the more efficient use of energy and materials to improve performance”, said Steve Evans, director of research at the Institute for Manufacturing, “many others are not even aware of the resource risks they face or the opportunities for savings that make them a business priority.”

By improving efficiency through the use of alternative materials, optimised processes and recovered materials through a government-supported ‘manufacturing upgrade programme’, the manufacturing sector could increase profits by £10 billion, the report says.

‘Key to future’

Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK and chairman of the North West Business Leadership Team, said: “Manufacturers in the North West recognise our role in securing and optimising our use of resources. 

“We are working to address fundamental questions regarding the reliability of our energy supply, sufficiency of food production and the resilience of our water supply. These resource issues not only offer the key to future security, but also open up significant productivity gains if government and business place these opportunities at the heart of our future industrial strategy.”