The UK government is being asked to help boost productivity by supporting more resource-efficient manufacturing.
Around half of manufacturers’ costs are on resource inputs and in the last decade the best manufacturers have cut their energy use by 50 per cent, but the majority have only managed a reduction of 10-15 per cent.
Between 2003 and 2015 there was said to be a 24-fold increase in institutional investors asking and acting on information about resource risks and the government can help manufacturers via the industrial strategy by providing a long-term view of these risks and an understanding of the role of technology in improving efficiency. This could be through the use of alternative materials, optimised processes and recovered materials.
In a joint statement, five leading business organisations and the think tank Green Alliance are calling on the government to use its forthcoming industrial strategy to raise the baseline performance of all UK manufacturers on resource efficiency. This has the potential to add £10bn to the profits of the manufacturing sector, increase productivity, support growth in the North and Midlands, where manufacturing is more dominant, and keep jobs in the UK.
A report by Green Alliance, Lean and clean: building manufacturing excellence in the UK, proposes a new manufacturing upgrade programme with procurement criteria, to encourage and reward more resource efficient production.
Juergen Maier, chief executive, Siemens UK and chairman, North West Business Leadership Team, said: “A successful and balanced economy must be both sustainable and resilient. 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.”