Sustainable manfacturing could create 1 million UK jobs
According to a recent report published by the Manufacturing Technologies Association, green manufacturing could create, ‘400,000 to 1 million jobs in the economy as a whole.’ The MTA further concluded that the effect on the GDP would be extensive, ‘adding some £8bn to £20bn to UK manufacturing and it’s supply chains.’
Data from The Guardian reported 150,751 redundancies in the UK so far, due to the economical impact of COVID-19. As the economy continues to struggle, green-manufacturing could well be the answer we’re looking for, to boost the economy and protect the planet over the next few years.
Over the last several years, the UK has established itself as a leader in our greener future. Since 1990 the UK has reduced carbon emissions by 44%, committing to a net-zero target (the first country to do so). For the UK to achieve net-zero by the year 2050, it should cost between 1% to 2% of the GDP each year. It’s widely believed that this target is both manageable and affordable.
Moving towards decarbonisation
Primary policy efforts have resulted in considerable tech advances that will be used to develop the transport and energy generation sectors. Future policies across the globe are likely to focus on the price of carbon. It’s expected that new standards and regulations will increase the cost of carbon. Firms will incur expenses to adhere to mandatory reductions in emissions. The idea is that those corporations who fall short of targets will have to pay the price.
To date, it’s believed that carbon expense action is not as stringent as it should be. According to the MTA, carbon pricing, ‘applies to only some 20%-odd of global GHG emissions.’ Thankfully, changes are on the way as markets begin to use rating agencies and equity analysts. An eco- transition must involve decarbonising the products and procedures across the entire supply chain.
In our efforts towards decarbonisation, the UK must look to Sweden for inspiration. Sweden took steps towards decarbonisation back in 1971, while still managing to achieve economic growth. The MT reported that the Swedish economy has grown by 78% since then, decreasing emissions by 26%.
The UK & sustainable packaging
One particular area that the UK is leading in is sustainable packaging. YouGov data suggests that 33% of people in the UK make a conscious effort to buy goods with eco-friendly (or recyclable) packaging materials. Many companies are changing their packaging processes to avoid losing consumer appeal. One survey in The Guardian found that ‘Fifty percent said they would be willing to pay a higher price for goods in biodegradable packaging.’
Back in 2018, the UK invested £60 million to develop earth-friendly packaging. Sustainable packaging initiatives aim to:
- Reduce the amount of packaging that gets sent to landfill.
- Increase the shelf life of various products.
- Focus on biodegradable and sustainable materials.
- Use smart packaging to gain an eco-friendly edge.
As the importance of sustainability grows, the UK must balance social responsibility and economic growth.