The UK Motor Industry - Celebrating Sustainability

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published their 20th edition, reporting on the sustainable development of the automotive industry over the past 20 years. It highlights the progress made so far and outlines important goals for the future, and the changes needed to ensure they are met.

Since the first report was published in 1999, profit in this sector has risen by 70%, turning over £82 billion in 2018. With intense production plants, fuel consumption, and the world’s increasing understanding of our impact on the climate, the motor industry is under constant pressure to increase sustainability practices and monitor their impact on the earth. However, this has not prevented an increase in production and jobs across the sector.

SMMT’s Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, understands this, stating…
Sustainability lies at the heart of the UK automotive sector and manufacturers are committed to balancing profitability and output with social and environmental responsibilities.

Reporting on the last 20 years of sustainable development, some key environmental achievements in Production, Use, and End-of-Life Vehicles, have been highlighted:

  • Production: CO2 per vehicle produced down 53.6% to 0.51 tonnes.
  • Use: New car CO2 down 31.2%.
  • End-of-Life Vehicles: Reuse and recovery rose by 20% to 95% of the vehicle by weight.

As a result, these changes have led to significant savings in energy, water, and landfill waste:

  • Energy savings add up to power 9.5 million homes for a year and the CO2 saved would fill the Royal Albert Hall 37 times.
  • The amount of water saved is at 53.7 billion litres.
  • Manufacturers saved 693,969 tonnes of waste from landfill by recycling. That’s equal to the annual waste produced by households in Bristol, Leeds, and Edinburgh combined.

Moving forward, Mike Hawes continues…
[the automotive] Industry has invested heavily in ever safer, more efficient technology, but in processes and measures that have significantly reduced its environmental impact.

By not just investing in the latest low-emission technology, but also improving production processes, the industry is addressing their impact on the climate at its root. SMMT have outlined their main priorities going forward, establishing another 20 years of sustainable development, addressing key environmental concerns:

  • Production: Ensure frictionless trade with the EU to reduce carbon footprint.
  • Supply Chain: Provide targeted business measures to encourage sustainable growth and development.
  • Use: Ensure joined-up approach across governments to deliver supportive policies to drive the transition to ultra low emission vehicles.
  • End-of-Life Vehicles: Tightening of vehicle deregistration system to ensure all vehicles enter the correct channels at the end-of-life stage.
  • Remanufacturing: Promote the resource efficiency benefits of remanufactured products, encouraging uptake through supportive policies.

How does this affect commercial vehicles?

As a sector, we are responsible for ensuring our vehicles are sustainable. By 2025, HGV manufacturers are required to have reduced their CO2 emissions by 15%, and 30% by 2030. Should they record excess emissions companies will be penalised. Additionally, the government is encouraging that commercial vehicle handlers do everything reasonably within their power to increase the life of their vehicles. This means undertaking detailed checks, storing properly, driving safely, and ensuring that when the vehicle is finally retired that elements are reused, recycled, or recovered.

At Checkpoint, we’re doing our part to ensure your vehicles are road worthy for longer. We specialise in wheel maintenance and management, offering tools that indicate issues with your wheel nuts, retain stud position, maintain integrity, and secure them from theft. All our products are here to ensure your fleet remains safe from wear and tear for as long as possible. You can visit our Products page to learn more.

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