Industry leaders today backed a drive to slash the carbon emissions and energy costs of manufacturers by up to a third, and substantially shrink the carbon footprints of finished products.
Britvic, Highland Spring and Tarmac are among the first companies to work with the Carbon Trust in its Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) - a £15m innovation programme designed to cut carbon, reduce costs and make UK manufacturing more competitive.
They were joined last week by trade bodies including the Food and Drink Federation and Dairy UK, and leading players in the dairy, bakery and confectionery industries. Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco is also backing the programme.
Through the IEEA, the Carbon Trust aims to transform the traditional sector-specific processes that underpin British manufacturing. In partnership with industry leaders, the organisation will identify and demonstrate new, lower-carbon solutions that can be replicated widely across each sector.
The programme is expected to reduce energy costs for businesses by more than half a billion pounds and to cut carbon emissions by more than three million tonnes. It will also increase the capacity of these businesses to respond effectively to the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme which comes into effect in April 2010.
Dr Mark Williamson, Carbon Trust Director of Innovations, said:
“More than a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions come from industry and we’ve got to find new opportunities to reduce them. The way to make truly substantial cuts is to get to the very heart of manufacturing. By rethinking the way manufacturers operate from the ground up we plan to spearhead a low carbon industrial revolution that will not only reduce emissions but will also increase demand for innovation, generate jobs and cut costs.”
Manufacturers of plastic bottles, animal feed and asphalt recently partnered with the Carbon Trust in the pilot phase of the IEEA.
Through detailed analysis of their energy consumption they identified potential to reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions by an average of 28%.
The Carbon Trust is now inviting companies in those industries to collaborate in research, development and demonstration that will establish the business case for commercialising lower-carbon manufacturing processes. It is offering £250,000 match funding to partners in each sector.
It is expected that trade bodies and businesses from around 25 different sectors will participate in the IEEA over a four year period. The Food & Drink Federation and its members are set to explore opportunities for improved recycling of heat from industrial ovens and more energy efficient methods of producing confectionery.
Stephen Reeson, Head of Climate Change and Energy Policy at The Food & Drink Federation, said:
“The food and drink manufacturing industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the country and reducing our environmental impact is a key objective of our members. The Carbon Trust’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator programme is a welcome additional support initiative in tackling sector specific energy issues. Working with our members and the Carbon Trust we look forward to improving the industry’s energy efficiency.”
Retailers have also welcomed the IEEA which, by reducing the carbon in manufacturing processes, will enable them to offer consumers products with lower carbon footprints.
David North, Community and Government Director at Tesco, said:
"This is impressive leadership by the Carbon Trust. We need precisely this sort of collaboration on carbon and cost savings in manufacturing if we are to achieve the low-carbon economy we need."
Stephen Radley, Director of Policy at EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, said:
“We are a strong supporter of this project. It’s a clear demonstration of the Carbon Trust’s commitment to the manufacturing sector and could help companies take their energy efficiency to the next level. Many EEF members will also see it as an exciting opportunity to develop and supply innovative solutions to the participating industries.”
Jim Begg, Director General at Dairy UK, said:
“A growing population, both in the UK and globally, means that we have to improve the efficiency of the food industry. Dairy UK members process some 85% of the milk from UK farms, and are committed to continuing the work started with the Milk Roadmap by making further significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why we are delighted to be involved in the IEEA programme with the Carbon Trust.”
Britvic is one of the companies working with the Carbon Trust to identify specific parts of the manufacturing process where energy use, and therefore carbon emissions, can be reduced and then use this insight to find lower-carbon ways of producing plastic bottles.
Graham Dale, Head of Quality, Safety and Environment at Britvic said.
“We have made significant progress over the last few years in reducing our energy consumption so finding new opportunities was becoming increasingly challenging. This programme has helped us look beyond conventional ways of reducing energy consumption to explore new ideas within our core manufacturing processes. As a result, we have identified further potential to reduce our carbon emissions and costs and improve the efficiency of our operations.”
Tarmac is another company involved in the early stages of the IEEA and has been exploring opportunities to reduce energy use in the production of asphalt.
Dr Martyn Kenny, Head of Sustainability at Tarmac, said:
"Tarmac has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Carbon Trust for a number of years and as an industry leader, we were keen to support the IEEA programme. As a company, we are tackling the issue of carbon reduction holistically, by managing our own carbon footprint; by developing lower-carbon products and solutions; and by helping our customers, supply chain and employees do the same. The project we worked on as part of IEEA focused on detailed monitoring and analysis of asphalt manufacture to pinpoint opportunities for carbon saving and help spread best practice throughout our industry."
Alex Masih, Supply chain director ABN, which is also involved in the pilot project, said:
“Associated British Nutrition – ABN (part of Ab Agri - the UK’s leading agricultural supply business) has been working closely with the Carbon Trust on the IEEA project to help drive down our CO2 emissions and our energy costs to help ensure a sustainable future for UK Agriculture and is working closely with its sister company absustain to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of our feed mills and formulations.”