New for MACH 2024, Lloyds Bank is hosting a Sustainability Solutions Hub at Stand 18-650 in partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

For manufacturers looking to understand where to begin on their journey to Net Zero or what support is available, we are on hand to help.

Here, David Atkinson, UK Head of Manufacturing SME and Mid Corporates from Lloyds Bank, discusses the challenges the sector is facing and the support manufacturers can tap into.

Sustainability is not something that can be achieved overnight, and most manufacturers are still on that journey.

But there is an opportunity to go further – and faster – to fully reap the benefits.

According to Make UK’s latest research, four in five manufacturers have a Net Zero strategy in place, but fewer than half (46%) are actively implementing their plan.

It’s understandable that they may have put off investment during the uncertainty of the energy crisis, and high prices look likely to persist for some time to come.

But it’s reassuring that the research also showed that a further quarter of manufacturers are aiming to start decarbonising within the next 12 months, with most of the rest aiming to begin the process in the next two years.

One challenge that’s proving hard for the sector to crack is accessing the kind of specialist skills needed to understand their carbon footprint, measure their environmental impact and monitor their progress towards Net Zero.

Accessing emissions expertise

After all, it’s not enough to just reduce your emissions, you have to be able to prove it to stakeholders.

And the latest Lloyds Bank SME Net Zero Monitor survey found just 26% of SMEs have measured their emissions and put a plan in place for monitoring – demonstrating just how challenging this particular area is.

But it’s not just manufacturers that are being compelled to achieve Net Zero, every aspect of the UK economy must decarbonise by 2050.

2050 may seem a long time off, but to stay on course, emissions must have halved by the end of this decade, so action is needed now and competition for those with these skills is intense.

As a result, many manufacturers do not have a dedicated sustainability lead in their business and are managing their sustainability goals as a side of desk activity.

But help is at hand.

Lloyds Bank’s partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, is already doing good work to upskill the sector.

The MTC does much more, however, and its Manufacturing Support Services (MSS) team works to support SME manufacturers work more effectively, efficiently and sustainably, in a very practical and hands on way.

Walk this way

Any manufacturer can book a free review of their operations by a sustainability expert from the MSS team, who will visit their premises to carry out a line walk.

It takes the form of a meeting with the senior team to understand their priorities, followed by a review of the shop floor.

Once they have a proper grasp of the individual challenges, the MTC expert will produce a report summarising the opportunities for sustainability improvements.

The business then has the option to either work with the MTC to implement these changes or work through these independently.

And if you are an SME with less than 250 employees, the MTC can also help provide access to Innovate UK REACH, which can provide grant funding potentially covering up to 60% of the costs involved.

Either way, a line walk can be a great launching pad for firms that don’t know where to start their sustainability journey, or just want a fresh viewpoint to give them the confidence to invest.

The process can help to identify quick wins and longer-term strategies to achieve the sustainability credentials that may help become a competitive advantage in years to come.

And there are other funding sources to support sustainable initiatives; the Lloyds Bank Clean Growth Financing Initiative provides discounted lending for green investments, for example, and we can also finance solar panels through hire purchase, helping overcome the large upfront cost.

Ultimately, manufacturers will have to look past their scope one emissions to address their scope two and three emissions too.

That will support even more of the reshoring and nearshoring that has been going on since the pandemic caused so much disruption to overseas supply chains and soaring shipping costs. As building resilience by shortening supply chains has the dual benefit of cutting carbon too.

But perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

In the meantime, it’s time to stop talking the talk, and start walking the floor.

For more information on the MTC’s line walk, visit the Sustainability Solutions Hub Stand 18-650 or the Lloyds Bank Stand 18-310.

All lending is subject to status.

We adhere to The Standards of Lending Practice which are monitored and enforced by the LSB: and apply to businesses which have an annual turnover of no more than £25 million. 

Lloyds Bank plc. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under Registration Number 119278.

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