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Two-fifths of UK manufacturers still do not have a sustainability policy

Professional Engineering

40% of UK manufacturers still do not have a sustainability policy, according to the poll by Subcon (Credit: Shutterstock)
40% of UK manufacturers still do not have a sustainability policy, according to the poll by Subcon (Credit: Shutterstock)

Two-fifths of UK manufacturers are operating without a sustainability policy, a new poll has found.

The number of companies without a policy document committing to environmentally-friendly practices in the country’s most energy-intensive industry remains high, despite increasingly frequent examples of extreme weather linked to the climate emergency and the UK hosting the major Cop26 climate summit in less than two months, according to the poll by Subcon.

The survey of 81 companies by the subcontract manufacturing supply chain show did find widespread support for the introduction of sustainability policies, however, with 95% of manufacturers without them claiming they plan to introduce one by summer next year.

Amongst the other findings, two-thirds (67%) said they reuse or recycle materials, while 58% say they have reduced their energy consumption. Just under a third (31%) say they source locally to reduce freight miles.

When asked what support they need from the government to help meet the country’s ‘net zero’ targets, the top answers were lower taxes, grants for clean energy, better access to affordable electric vehicle charging points, and R&D incentives.

“Manufacturing is the most energy-intensive industry in the UK and, with Cop26 taking place in Glasgow in November, there’s no escaping the importance of accepting the impact of climate change,” said Subcon event director Gordon Kirk. “We need to start adopting and taking responsibility for sustainable practices right across the sector, to create a genuinely circular economy.

“There are some brilliant speakers on Subcon’s conference programme this year talking about sustainability – including clean and renewable energy, within both the sector and the supply chain – and, with 40% of manufacturers still without a policy, these are must-attend sessions.”

The trade event will take place in-person at the NEC in Birmingham next week (14-16 September), alongside The Engineer Expo and Manufacturing Management Show. Over 120 suppliers will be exhibiting and there are 26 free conference sessions in The Engineer and Manufacturing Management Theatres.


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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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