Manufacturers in the UK are increasingly saving money from sustainability measures, a new report shows. The survey, released by Make UK, indicates that 71% of companies say their last environmental improvement reduced costs. Overall, businesses are starting to look past the immediate cost saving drivers with an eye toward sustainability for the long term.
Despite the challenge of Brexit, 50% of manufacturers are making headway with their sustainability programs, with energy efficiency being the most typical first step because cost efficiencies are easily quantifiable.
Half of respondents said they were taking steps toward greater energy efficiency, while nearly a fifth are embarking on “cutting edge energy efficiency projects” such as demand-side response, the report states.
Strategies put in place include onsite battery storage, installation of onsite renewable heat systems and onsite renewable power generation. Replacing outdated equipment also delivered energy cost saving benefits for those companies surveyed along with working towards voluntary standards such as ISO 14001 was another common step, introducing high level international standards.
Investor confidence and attracting the brightest and the best could be a significant towards ensuring the most innovative systems are developed going forward.
But to ensure the future of efficiency, both in terms of energy management and “shop floor” management, sustainability must be approached from the boardroom, according to the findings. The businesses which were most successful in driving sustainability and environmental improvements, as well as cost-savings, adopted a boardroom to shop-floor approach to promoting change, ensuring they took the whole of the workforce with them on the sustainability journey, making the environment at the heart of their business.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU has significant ramifications for environmental policy, which has largely been driven and overseen by the EU. A new framework is now being developed to manage England’s environment over the long term. Scotland and Wales have their own plans. For manufacturers, the future governance process can seem abstract, but it will set the boundaries within which they will be expected to operate long into the future.