UK manufacturers positively green

2 mins read

Britain’s manufacturers are adopting an increasingly positive approach to tackling green issues and reducing their impact on the environment according to a new industry survey.

The work, published by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and Envirowise, showed that energy use and waste management are now key priorities for companies, driven by the need to improve environmental performance in response to legislation and customer pressure higher up the supply chain. However, the survey also showed that more needs to be done to tackle waste and improve resource efficiency. In EEF’s view, this is partly because the lack of infrastructure in some parts of the UK means affordable waste management services are not always available to business, in particular smaller companies. EEF Head of Environment Gareth Stace said the environment agenda was a heightened priority for UK manufacturers and contrary to popular belief many had already taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment and were committed to doing more. Envirowise production specialist Bill McCausland believed the survey showed the sector had clear environmental priorities. He went on: “And with continued pressure on manufacturers to manage the impact of higher raw material costs, taking a systematic approach to resource efficiency can provide manufacturers with a sustainable strategy of cost reduction in this competitive market.” Over 90% of companies surveyed said that they were addressing some, if not all, of their environmental issues. Only 2% had taken no action. The majority also had an environmental policy approved by the board, had a person or department responsible for managing environmental issues and report on their performance. Environmental management systems were also commonplace. However, there were sizeable differences between the extent to which large and small companies are tackling environmental concerns. Just over 90% of large companies said they had an environmental policy approved by the board but this fell to 58% for smaller companies, suggesting that more needs to be done to help smaller companies in particular. In addition to managing their environmental performance, companies are also taking extensive steps to reduce their energy use and waste. Over half the companies surveyed reported an overall reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill in the last two years. Recycling is now seen as the main source of waste reduction by 81% of companies. But despite companies efforts to reduce the amount of waste they produce and send to landfill the majority (60%) of companies reported an increase in the cost of waste management in the last two years. In part, EEF believes this is as a result of a lack of infrastructure able to cope with the increased waste diverted from landfill.