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Manufacturers making ‘huge leaps’ towards net zero

Despite the challenges of the pandemic and ongoing inflationary pressures, new research suggests manufacturers are making clear headway towards net zero emissions and a greener economy.

In a new report marking six months since the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow – where world leaders met to accelerate progress on the climate crisis – manufacturers’ organisation Make UK says more than a third (35 per cent) of UK manufacturers now have a ‘fully formed’ net zero strategy in place.

Make UK’s survey found that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of manufacturers have taken positive steps towards net zero in the past 12 months, and nine in ten plan further action as activity ramps up.

When asked about their main areas of focus, 77 per cent of companies said cutting energy costs was a key priority, with nearly half (48 per cent) looking to make production processes more efficient.

Gaining competitive advantage through innovative products or services was a key driver for 38 per cent of respondents, while a quarter (24 per cent) cited commercial opportunities like being listed as an approved supplier in sustainable procurement schemes.

A regional breakdown of the results also shows that the further north a manufacturer is located, the higher up net zero is likely to be on its priority list. Almost half (48 per cent) of companies in the North stated that achieving net zero is a high priority for their business right now, compared to 28 per cent in the Midlands and 25 per cent in the South.

Make UK CEO Stephen Phipson said:

“Britain’s manufacturers have long shown that they are at the forefront of innovation globally and they have already gone a long way to improve their processes in the quest to reach net zero. They are making huge leaps forward and have taken much from initiatives such as COP26 as a driver for further change.

“With energy costs at historic highs, cutting energy consumption has taken on a further layer of urgency, and new business opportunities from the green economy make change even more attractive.”

According to the survey, the most commonly cited barrier to progress is a lack of in-house skills or expertise to implement changes. Greater Manchester manufacturers in this situation are encouraged to join the Hub’s Journey to Net Zero programme, which is designed exclusively for SMEs looking for step-by-step support.

[Learn more about Journey to Net Zero]

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