The Manufacturer Podcast: The green revolution

Posted on 2 Dec 2022 by Tom St John

In this episode of The Manufacturer Podcast - the green revolution is in full swing, but what more can UK manufacturers do?

Hi listener. In this episode, we have Graham Malley, Principal Director & Head of Sustainability, Industry X at Accenture, our podcast sponsors, and Brian Holliday Managing Director, Digital Industries, at Siemens plc. A line up that would leave even Gareth Southgate spoilt for choice!

We explore the various manufacturing trends when it comes to green practices and evaluate how well the UK is doing as a whole, how it can improve and how sustainability is increasingly making its way to the forefront of the industry’s mind.

We hope you enjoy this episode

The green revolution is here, but how is the UK performing? 

Graham-Malley-Accenture - discussing the green revolution

Graham Malley: The UK was a leader and has achieved good progress.

The UK manufacturing sectors greenhouse gas emissions has declined 57% since 1990.

The Committee on climate change latest sorting, audit findings found that in most areas, the UK ambitions are credible, and in line with the required pace and scale of change.

However, tangible progress is lagging that this policy ambition, this transition to the green economy will require significant investment to achieve this huge transformation of the global economy. And I think manufacturers are going to be impacted disproportionately. There will be a demand for additional generation and transmission capacity.

It’s going to be a huge demand for new products and services such as electrification of transport, and having to meet the increasing demand, demanding compliance legislation around emissions circularity, extended responsibility and digital passports.

Siemens-Holliday-portrait - discussing the green revolution in manufacturing

Brian Holliday: Part of the answer to the question, how are we doing, is how are we matching headlined intent from government and companies ESG commitments into action? The size of the prize is still immense.

If you think about decarbonisation, UK industry could still save somewhere between 2 and 3 billion pounds per annum with energy efficiency measures alone.

How do we get to that level of investment? There has to be a level of consistency, government thinking and headlined aspiration filtering through to policy instruments that can help as well. At the moment, we don’t really have instruments that are consistently helping companies to do the right things – the right sorts of investment.

I’ll give you one example of that; we’ve got an Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which is effectively a competition window for firms to apply for funding to help put energy efficiency technologies into the plant. Some of these are a bit inaccessible, a bit clunky, they’re short term. I would argue that we could do better if we put some longer term policy instruments in place.

We understand the principle of annual investments allowances and enhanced capital allowances and so on. But it would be great to have policy instruments that sat in the long term, like R&D tax credits and Patent Box to help firms think about investing more in sustainability and that way. I think we’d close the gap from the aspiration to the action.

Listen back to our previous podcast episode on sustainability