Efficiency is the key, says EEF

Posted on 30 Mar 2009 by The Manufacturer

Manufacturers could be missing out on cost savings and preparation for increased regulation by not making the most out of environmentally friendly resources, says a report released today by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and Barclays Commercial Bank.

Offered as a ‘practical handbook’, the report – ‘Resource Efficiency; Business benefits from sustainable resource management’ – is the first in a series as part of EEF’s ‘Manufacturing Your Future’ campaign. It says fluctuations in energy and raw material prices, heightened consumer awareness of climate change and new government sanctions make action toward resource efficiency imperative during the current business and economic climate.

It suggests that more than reducing costs, successful resource efficiency increases the utility of materials, energy and water throughout the life of products and services. It can also ensure more cost effective compliance with existing and, more importantly, incoming legislation, while promoting competitiveness through product differentiation and an enhanced corporate reputation. This can also result in a better relationship with suppliers and a reduced risk of supply chain failure, according to the report.

The report also outlines the potential for sustainable development if government continues to work with the private sector to encourage greater investment in recycling, renewable energy and production, and offers steps for manufacturers to boost their resource efficient credentials.

“Many companies underestimate the true cost of inefficient business processes because of a lack of understanding of environmental costs,” said Vanessa Fandrich, EEF’s Senior Climate and Environment Policy Adviser. “Behaviour change is often a first step towards realising considerable savings. However, in some instances doing things differently will require more significant investment and market forces alone may not be enough to provide for the necessary change.

“The government must set out clear objectives and timescales for sustainable resource management as part of its low carbon strategy, which businesses can use to plan their operations strategically.”

The report says government, in partnership with industry, should seek to provide:

• a long-term strategy for resource management with clear objectives and timescales;

• a regulatory framework that is risk-based, proportionate and coherent and incentivises resource efficiency;

• the necessary infrastructure for a closed loop economy, providing easy access to recycling services as well as access to secondary raw materials;

• targeted advice and support for businesses to helping manufacturers identify and implement resource efficiency activities; and

• a more creative approach to government procurement to encourage resource efficiency down the supply chain.

‘Resource Efficiency; Business benefits from sustainable resource management’ is available from eef.org.uk.