How Are Manufacturers Working Towards Net Zero?

Post By: Ryan King On: 17-08-2022 - Industry Trends - Manufacturing

How Are Manufacturers Working Towards Net Zero?

2022 may be the year that climate change finally hits home. With UK temperatures reaching 40°C this summer and yes, thats 104° in old money even climate change deniers might be forced to accept that something has to be done. And with the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, we are suddenly more aware of how much energy we are using and what it costs. Of course, this hurts our wallets, but the more important concern is the cost to the planet. The need to reach net zero has become much more urgent.

What Is Net Zero?

Net zero is a shorthand term referring to the desired level of greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere. Imagine an equation where the amount of GHG produced is on one side and the amount that's removed is on the other. The ideal net result of this equation is zero, so we produce only as much GHG as our planet's atmosphere can handle.

What Targets Should Manufacturers Aim At?

The first thing any manufacturer must do is commit. Although plans may have been derailed somewhat by Brexit and the pandemic, its clear that a change can no longer be put off. The government is already pressuring businesses to disclose their energy consumption and carbon emissions, and will soon require them to report on what strategies they are proposing to manage climate-related risks. Business leaders, stakeholders, customers and the whole workforce need to commit to achieving net zero for the 2050 goal to be reached. A new and effective approach to the supply chain must reach all levels and require all participants to be equally committed.

Energy consumption must be reduced at all costs and production made more efficient. This can be addressed in several ways:

  • Choosing alternative and repurposed raw materials, and only those that are ethical and sustainable
  • Incorporating these new materials into product design to improve its energy efficiency
  • Improving operational efficiency during production to reduce cost and waste, using renewable energy sources and implementing smart production technologies
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of transport throughout the supply chain, from raw materials to final product delivery, including transport providers
  • Moving towards the circular economy model by providing spare parts, repair, recycle and disposal services, and optimising the efficiency of products in the field.
  • Rebranding to demonstrate a positive drive towards net zero, to impact both company reputation and community relations

Cost efficiency is always a major business goal, but it needs to be at the expense of better practice. Gaining deserving green credentials can help to open new markets and build customer trust, as today, customers are likely to put environmental considerations before product price. Business relations with the local community will also improve if they see you actively recycling and repurposing equipment and components, committing to renewable energy and to reaching net zero as soon as you humanly can.

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