Your net zero plan

You selected ‘Manufacturing and production’ and ‘North West England’
Start Again

  • Understand your business emissions
  • Get support
  • Actions you can take right now
  • Longer term actions
  • Indirect emissions
  • Share your progress

Understand your business emissions

1) What causes emissions

Direct carbon emissions produced by manufacturing and production include:

  • energy use – electricity and gas for lighting, heating and machinery
  • general waste – when it is not recycled and ends up at landfill sites
  • transport – using petrol or diesel vehicles to deliver products

2) Calculate your emissions

Use a carbon calculator to work out your business’s carbon footprint. This is measured in tonnes, over a year.

3) Estimate the cost of your emissions

Once you have your carbon footprint, you can calculate how much your emissions are costing you. This will give you an idea of potential savings you can make by taking action.

4) Sign up to the SME climate commitment

Make a climate declaration to show customers you are committed to reducing emissions.

Get support

1) Support in your sector

You can get guidance on energy efficiency from the Manufacturers’ Organisation (MAKE UK) and the Confederation of British Industry.

Funding for digital technology is available from UK research and Innovation (UKRI), as part of the national Made Smarter movement.

You can also learn how to run your business in a more environmentally friendly way by hiring a sustainability consultant

2) Support in your region

The following grants, schemes and loan programmes are available in the North West England:

  • Chamber Low Carbon gives SMEs free ‘1-2-1’ consulting to improve energy efficiency and develop low carbon products. Must be based in Lancashire.
  • LCR Future Energy gives SMEs matching funds up to £7,500 towards consulting costs to help develop products, systems and processes for a green supply chain – must be located in Liverpool City Region
  • Low Carbon Lake District gives SMEs matching funding up to £20,000 for low carbon energy generation, energy efficiency and sustainable transport – must be located or operate in the Lake District National Park area
  • GC Business Growth Hub provides fully funded resource efficiency support to SMEs located in Greater Manchester – includes a virtual Journey to Net Zero programme for SMEs that are at an early stage on their path to net zero emissions

Actions you can take right now

1) Use less energy at your office and work buildings

Quick, low-cost measures include:

  • lighting – use LED bulbs for greater efficiency
  • heating – put your thermostat on a timer and seal your windows for extra insulation
  • office equipment – try to turn off and unplug devices when they’re not being used
  • machinery and ventilation – carry out regular checks and maintenance

2) Decide if you need an energy strategy

Depending on the size of your business, you might need to implement an energy management strategy. An energy manager will help you:

  1. Measure and monitor energy use.
  2. Target ways to use energy as efficiently as possible.

Find out more from the Carbon Trust.

Train your workforce

You can train your team to be aware of energy efficiency in the workplace. Find a course

3) Change your energy tariff

Switch to a green energy tariff with your energy supplier. This will reduce your reliance on energy produced by fossil fuels.

4) Switch to a smart meter

This will allow you to see and control how much energy you use. Find out more

5) Manage your waste

Reduce waste to prevent it being taken to landfill sites where it takes longer to break down and causes more emissions.

Longer term actions

1) Making changes to your factory or workplace

If you are the legal owner, there are a number of long-term measures you can take to improve energy efficiency.

Check planning permission guidelines before you go ahead with any structural changes to the property.

Improving insulation and windows

You can make long-term savings on energy bills by insulating your workplace and replacing old windows.

Installing renewables

You can also make significant long-term savings by installing renewable sources of energy.

For example:

Heat recovery systems

Waste heat from industrial processes can be converted into energy. Find out more about heat recovery systems

2) Make your compressed air system more efficient

You can do this by:

  • reducing compressor pressure
  • identifying and fixing leaks
  • recovering lost heat and using it for space heating

Find out more about efficient use of compressed air systems

3) Use smart technology

This will help you improve productivity and efficiency. Options include:

  • robotics – automated production ensures greater precision and use of assets
  • 3D printing – helps efficient use of materials, extending life cycle of parts
  • digital twin technology – creates digital replicas of assets to avoid producing waste
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – uses predictive analysis to optimize productivity and predict inconsistencies

Find out more about smart technology for manufacturing

4) Install high efficiency motors

Electric motor-driven systems often use more power than they need to. Find out how to reduce energy use with high efficiency motors and variable speed drives

5) Remanufacturing

Rebuilding goods out of used materials is common practice in the automotive, energy, aerospace and rail industries.

By restoring end-of-life goods to working order, you can keep the cost of raw materials, energy and water to a minimum. You’ll also have less waste to dispose of.

Find out more from the Scottish Remanufacturing Institute, wherever you are in the UK.

6) Sustainable product packaging

Replace plastic with recycled or compostable substitutes.

Types of sustainable packing include:

  • plant-based packaging
  • edible packaging – made from seaweed extract
  • compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives
  • plantable packaging – which is made from seeds and can be buried in soil

Find sustainable packaging companies

7) Carbon offsetting

You can offset unavoidable carbon emissions by buying carbon credits. This is where you pay for an equivalent amount of emissions to be removed elsewhere.

8) Reducing transport emissions

Over a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport. You can take measures to reduce the impact.

If you have employees you could introduce a cycle-to-work initiative or encourage them to take public transport.

Electric vehicles

If you use a work vehicle, you can make savings on fuel costs by buying or renting an electric vehicle (EV). You would be exempt from road tax, congestion charges and parking fees in certain areas.

For easy overnight charging you could install EV chargers at your home or workplace. A government grant scheme covers up to £350 per charging point.

Learn more about reducing the impact of transport

Indirect emissions

To reduce indirect or ‘supply chain’ emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product.

1) Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products

  • use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon
  • help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
  • buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate

2) Reduce emissions ‘downstream’ of your business

  • make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
  • reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs
  • make investments in lower carbon financial products
  • give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises

3) Certify your supply chain action

The Carbon Trust offers the following verification schemes:

Share your progress

Sharing your progress will help employees and customers feel confident that you’re reducing carbon and moving towards net zero.

You should share your progress once you’ve done both of the following:

  • worked out a benchmark of emissions
  • started to take action

Find out more about how to track and share your progress