Low carbon supply chains critical to Midlands net zero goals

Date posted: August 4, 2021
3 large solar panels on a roof with a countryside scene behind

A lack of recycling capability, threats to our region’s electric car production and outdated Government regulations are just some of the threats to our region’s green ambitions highlighted by a new report commissioned by the Midlands Engine Observatory.

Towards net-zero: Exploring the current state of low carbon supply chains in the Midlands has been produced by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and Professor Jan Godsell.

The team from WMG combined mapping, interviews and focus groups to understand how important low carbon supply chains are to achieving our ambitious net zero goals.

The Midlands has begun to make major progress towards low carbon manufacturing, with a range of stakeholders supporting decarbonisation and circular economies through energy generation, energy suppliers, vehicle manufacturers and research and development.

However, our region lacks recycling capacity with much of the waste we generate in the Midlands being burnt without generating energy rather than being recycled.

The report goes on to detail how our region’s strengths in future mobility, such as automated vehicles and electric vehicles, could be derailed by concerns including a workforce skills shortage, a lack of digital maturity among our region’s firms and availability of raw materials to construct the next generation of sustainable transport.

A lack of and outdated Government legislation around green technology, particularly hydrogen- based technology which is a major strength of our region, was also highlighted by the wide-ranging report as a potential barrier to commercialising sustainable technologies.

As part of a series of recommendations outlined in the report, researchers suggest that incentives will be needed to encourage businesses and consumers to replace outdated and carbon-heavy infrastructure or goods for lower carbon alternatives.

This would make a positive difference to carbon emissions of our supply chains as well as boosting confidence and growth of low carbon firms.

This research is the latest in a series of reports commissioned by our Observatory to provide insights into our region’s supply chain resilience.

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.

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