Britain’s manufacturers come together to launch the sector’s first Net Zero Roadmap

Published:  22 November, 2021

Make UK’s manufacturing members, in partnership with Inspired Energy, are releasing today the first roadmap to net zero for the manufacturing sector. The roadmap, which was developed in consultation with some of the major manufacturing sub-sectors, provides a clear direction and major milestones towards the long term 2050 goal. It aims to encourage companies to take those first successful steps towards reducing their carbon footprint.

Manufacturers overwhelmingly believe they can achieve net zero by 2050 so long as they have enough support and help to create the right business environment. However, they are already stepping up to the plate by committing to reduce the direct emissions generated by manufacturing processes (scope 1) and indirect emissions from purchased energy (scope 2) by 67% by the end of this decade. This puts Britain’s manufacturers in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius Paris Agreement goal.

Britain’s manufacturers have also committed to support their suppliers and customers to achieve net zero and to reduce their value chain (scope 3) emissions. This is likely to constitute the bulk of the emissions for the sector and as they are not under the businesses’ control, they are difficult to manage. Manufacturers have also pledged to offer net zero products in the future to help drive this reduction.

This simple blueprint released today also outlines how companies will contribute to the establishment of the four low-carbon industrial clusters by 2030, and the decarbonisation of mini-clusters at dispersed sites. The step-by-step plan reflects the targets set to date by the Government and by other industry sub-sectors, planting the major milestones in the ground to ensure businesses stay on track and pick up the pace required for the complex journey to the decarbonisation of factory production processes and energy consumption.

To meet these goals industry needs a conducive business and operational environment alongside a robust policy landscape and the right access to finance, education and reliable energy supply at a reasonable price. It will be critical to avoid locking in high-carbon production methods from the outset, maximising heat recovery in high temperature sites, equipping workers with new green and digital technology skills, and for companies to engage with their value chain to encourage change.

Manufacturers can also see the major opportunity that net zero represents – from access to finance for green investments, significant benefits of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, developing and exporting new products and knowledge, that will lead to the sector being an attractive, innovative and sustainable one to work in, creating highly skilled and rewarding green and digital jobs across the country.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation said:

“The release of the first roadmap to net zero for the overall manufacturing sector marks the start of an exciting journey, with its challenges but also many rewards ahead. I am very proud that our members have not hesitated to take up the challenge and are bold in their vision, and at the same time wanting to align with the bigger picture and collaborate with key stakeholders.

“There is a mountain ahead to climb, but I look forward to seeing the progress which I have no doubt will demonstrate over again the creativity and resilience of our sector and its importance to our economy, now and in future.”

Andrew Stubbs, director: Compliance & Reporting Services, Inspired Energy said:

“The UK’s goal of reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050 is a massive undertaking, and manufacturing is a key area where transformation can happen. We are delighted to partner with Make UK on their journey to help the manufacturing sector decarbonise and play its role in the UK reaching its target.”

Prof. Steve Evans Professor Steve Evans, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge who worked on the development of the net zero roadmap added:

“I am delighted to see that the manufacturing sector is ready to tackle its net zero goal. You will find a massively important consensus across all sub-sectors on the need for ambitious targets to be set now to ensure action is taken in the short term. These manufacturers want to start on this new journey with hope for the opportunities it can bring, as well as travelling with trepidation for the many challenges that we need to work together to solve. I wish us all good luck.”

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