Manufacturing and Materials for a Net-Zero future

Posted on: 21/12/2020
Engineer with robotic factory equipment

KTN (in partnership with Innovate UK) presents a collection of inspiring talks from industry that give a taste of a coming wave of change in industry, and how you can get ahead of the curve.

This transition for manufacturing and materials processing companies brings uncertainty and challenges, but also opportunities to innovate and adapt to change.  The sector is the 3rd largest contributor to UK territorial greenhouse gas emissions (statistics vary from 12% to 30% depending on data source and assumptions) and faces challenges such as:

  • Adoption of emerging and digital technologies,
  • Cybersecurity
  • Availability of skills
  • Resilience of operations and the supply chain
  • Availability of finance
  • Urgency to decarbonise

As part of the Innovate UK Net Zero arena at the show, KTN facilitated and supported a day of presentations and discussions around Net-Zero.

Speakers in the Net-Zero arena included organisations that have embraced sustainability and made it integral to their business. The talks made it clear that companies that pursue sustainability as a core objective can:

  • Increase operational efficiency by reducing costs and waste
  • Reach new customers and increase competitive advantage
  • Protect and strengthen brand and reputation and build public trust
  • Build long-term business viability and success; and
  • Respond more readily to regulatory changes.

The Net-Zero arena was designed to raise awareness and highlight the opportunities that exist, as demonstrated by some of those leading the way, from embedding this progressive approach into their business.

The KTN has been working with Innovate UK to develop strategic thinking on the transition to Net-Zero for the Manufacturing and Materials sector. Amy Peace of Innovate UK provided an overview in this presentation.

 Industry Video Recordings

  • Chris Fielden, Supply Chain Director at Innocent Drinks, shared an overview on how to establish a truly carbon neutral production facility and the need for collaboration, transparency and shared experience to get all manufacturers on the journey. Watch this here.
  • Yelena Ageyeva-Furman and Antti Kautovaara of Kearney shared their experiences of the sector and the challenge of implementing practical solutions to operationalise Net-Zero and sustainability strategies.  Watch it here.
  • Adrian Segens of Placemaker.Tech outlined why a fundamental shift in the way we think of the supply chain is needed given complexity increases and the shift toward a more circular economy. He asserted that ‘cradle to gate’ thinking is no longer applicable. Visibility and traceability become even more vital and tech concepts like the Internet of Materials become essential enablers. Watch it here.
  • Tom Hollands of Raynor Foods discussed their recent ‘Digital Sandwich’ project explaining how Blockchain can facilitate a Net-Zero economy by fusing multiple digital technologies. Watch it here.

Manufacturers Video Presentations

  • Richard Hagan described the journey that both he and his company, Crystal Doors, have been on. He explained how, in the face of possible failure, he committed to radical, disruptive and innovative actions on sustainability. Watch it here.
  • In his presentation Matt Paskin, Design Director at Whitecroft Lighting, introduced their new approach to circular thinking which allows the lighting products to operate at highest utility throughout their life whilst offering options to regenerate, re-sell and eventually recover the product at the end-of-life. Watch it here.
  • Andy Clifton, Global Sustainability Manager of Rolls Royce, described the drivers and the strategy commitments toward meeting the demands of a growing, more connected society and actions they are taking to move toward a resilient, inclusive, Net-Zero future. Watch it here.

The design aspects for Net-Zero

  • James Butterworth of DEFRA gave an overview of the current product policy landscape from the DEFRA perspective, covering the strategic aims, legislative environment and near-term policy activity. He discussed the resource efficiency powers in the Environment Bill, which only recently resumed its passage through parliament. Watch it here.
  • Donna Dykeman, Collaborative R&D Product Manager at Ansys Granta, described their Eco-Design strategy and how early integration of this strategy in the design process, where 80% of impacts will be locked-in, can help achieve financial and environmental objectives. Watch it here.

From the funding and support network, presentations from the KTN, ISCF Manufacturing Made Smarter team, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the Digital Catapult augmented the industrial talks with a demonstration of the breadth and depth of support available.

  • Chris Needham, Innovation lead at Innovate UK for ISCF Manufacturing Made Smarter (MMS) gave an insight into Net Zero Opportunities within MMS. Watch it here.
  • Nilam Banks from KTN provided insights on how companies can meet their Net Zero requirements through support from the KTN. Watch it here.
  • David Pugh from Digital Catapult explores how to get to Net Zero through digital technology. Watch it here.
  • Sam Turner from HVM Catapult gave an overview of achieving sustainable innovation in manufacturing. Watch it here.
  • Innovate UK’s Abishek Ramesh provided an overview of global innovation and growth opportunities. Watch it here.


Co-ordinated, collaborative change, not just change

We recognise that the transition to net-zero is not easy. It is necessary to address sustainability in a coordinated way, aiming at integration across the whole business and supply chain. We need to make sure that whole systems are being optimised, avoiding the displacement of negative impacts elsewhere in the chain.

This requires a truly collaborative effort across a broad range of internal and external stakeholders as highlighted by the range of speakers on the day from large and small companies, specialist consultancy companies, Government representatives and the innovation network. We will need an open, cooperative approach and will be seeking input and engagement as we develop our plans. In the meantime, a list of live funding that can help can be found at our manufacturing and materials funding round up.

The Innovate UK family, including the KTN, EEN and Catapult network, endeavours to build the innovation ecosystem to help UK manufacturing and materials processing industries to thrive whilst reducing environmental impact and taking a leadership position in the transition to Net-Zero.

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