A new tech task force convened by Green Alliance will focus on the opportunities for smart technologies to boost the resource efficiency of UK businesses and improve the economic prospects of manufacturing regions.
Eighty per cent of manufacturers say industry 4.0 will be a reality by 2025 but only 11 per cent say they will be ready to capitalise on it.
According to PwC’s 2018 CEO survey, climate change and environmental damage are among the top five threats to businesses, in Western Europe and globally, for energy, engineering, construction and transport companies.
Although the UK has set out the ambition for digital innovation and clean growth in its industrial strategy, little attention is being given to delivery as UK politicians have their hands full with Brexit.
To fill the policy vacuum, this new Tech Task Force is bringing together businesses committed to smart clean growth to work out where policy can accelerate the adoption of technologies that could help businesses across the UK grow their profits by reducing their environmental impact.
These are win-wins the UK economy cannot afford to ignore. It is estimated that technology enabled resource efficiency has the potential to add £10 billion to the profits of the UK manufacturing sector. Open Energi is already helping construction firms cut their electricity consumption by ten per cent by optimising energy demand in real time using machine learning.
“To get politicians’ attention we have to show them how this can benefit blue collar workers in the midlands and the north of England, who have told them in no uncertain terms the economy isn’t delivering for them.”
The task force’s core mission is to address regional productivity gap in the UK. Organisations involved range from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which works with manufacturing businesses of all sizes to bridge the gap between new technology concepts and their commercialisation, to Schneider Electric, a company working at the cutting edge of the digital transformation of energy management and automation.
Angela Francis, chief economist at Green Alliance, said: “We know smart technology is a powerful way to deliver clean growth and bring business resource costs down, but limited uptake is preventing UK businesses from realising those opportunities. To get politicians’ attention we have to show them how this can benefit blue collar workers in the midlands and the north of England, who have told them in no uncertain terms the economy isn’t delivering for them.”
Nick Cliffe, Head of Advanced Materials, InnovateUK (Tech Task Force member), said: “The Tech Task Force provides us with a superb opportunity to explore the intersection of smart and green technology in several key sectors, to identify and better understand the opportunities that innovating in this space can provide and use this insight to help drive clean growth for the whole of the UK.”
Juergen Maier, chief executive, Siemens UK and chairman, North West Business Leadership Team, said: “Green Alliance’s Tech Task Force is a serious effort to help rebalance our economy, revitalise UK manufacturing and renew our infrastructure to provide a route to productivity and wage growth in a low-carbon, digital world. Smart green tech should be a key driver for the UK’s resource efficiency and clean growth.”