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Move to greener manufacturing, ‘could create up to 1m jobs’

27 July, 2020

If the UK transitions to “green” manufacturing, it could add £8–20bn to GDP and create up to 1 million jobs, according to a new report from the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) that examines decarbonisation as a growth strategy for UK manufacturing.

The report highlights that the UK is well placed to lead the way, if it acts now. Since the early 1990s, the UK has cut carbon emissions by 44% and was the first country to commit to net-zero emissions.

“Going green is not an option, it’s a necessity,” says MTA CEO, James Selka. “The UK has a worldwide reputation for innovation within manufacturing and engineering. This report highlights the need to invest to make to the essential transition to a decarbonised economy.”

“By embracing green technology,” he adds, “we can transform our economy as a whole and work towards sustainable growth, creating new, higher-paid jobs and protect the environment in the process.”

The report suggests that going green could create 37,000–90,000 jobs in UK manufacturing, a further 34,000-83,000 in the supply chain, and between 400,000 and 1,000,000 across the UK economy as a whole.

The MTA argues that green growth is an important economic driver – expanding around four times faster than the economy as a whole. Starting soon would give companies the best chance of staying ahead and diversifying into future products and markets.

The move to a greener economy will require processes and products all along the supply chain to be decarbonised, as well as reducing the carbon that products consume in use.

The Commission on Climate Change, which underpinned the net-zero target, estimated that it will be necessary to increase investment in green technologies by 1–2% of GDP per year up to 2050.

“We have seen through the Covid-19 pandemic that when Government engages with manufacturers that change can be implemented quickly,” says Selka. “With strong national guidance and the right structure put in place by the UK Government and fully integrated into an Industrial Strategy, we are well placed to become world leaders in green manufacturing.

“We need continued investment in resources like the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to spur progress,” he adds. “The possibilities for growth are substantial. UK manufacturers are ready for this challenge.”

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