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 05-07 March 2019 / ExCeL, London

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15 Jan 2019

The Future of Sustainable Manufacturing

John Pearce, Chief Executive, Made in Britain

Take a good look at 100s of Made in Britain manufacturers making progress on sustainability, and it’s easy to conclude that this year, the circular economy (CE) penny has finally dropped. And it’s never been as urgently needed as it is right now. Here in Britain and right around the world, throughout 2018, political, environmental and social catastrophes have taken turns at making the headlines. The best manufacturers in Britain are re-writing the future with a very different, relentlessly positive narrative.  

Defining the circular economy is as tricky as tracing its origins, but nobody will argue with us if we say it’s based on the three principles of:

  • Designing out waste and pollution
  • Keeping products and materials in use
  • Regenerating natural systems

The more you find out about the CE, the more exciting and hopeful it is. Some of its ideals make money seem like a rather tired old value system. And it might just present the first easy-to-read clues as to how we fix the dreadful environmental and social mess we’ve made. 

The idea that one protagonist or a standalone project can undo the damage we’ve done to the earth, air and sea on which we depend, ignores how effectively we worked together to make some of the problems appear in the first place. So great collaboration must be encouraged, if only to remind us how brilliantly we can achieve together when we really need to.

Manufacturers in Britain have a vital role to play in creating the more circular economies and business plans of the future, considering the impact of any products that aren’t able to be repurposed or recycled, and of course, considering the carbon emissions required to recycle these products.

British manufacturers should be at forefront of driving the construction industry to change from its single-use model we have operated for so long. That change needs to happen through collaboration with every part in the construction chain, from suppliers to specifiers, but particularly manufacturers who make the products we must repurpose or recycle. 

The Made in Britain pavilion at Futurebuild will provide an opportunity for British Manufacturers to start those conversations and foster relationships with decision-makers as well as showcase innovations and industry best practice. Also at Futurebuild will be the Waste Zone, a dedicated area where the challenges and opportunities presented by a circular economy will be explored in detail.

The future of British manufacturing needs to be more than just ‘making it through’ the next year, we need to ensure we succeed, especially as we find ourselves in a time that is crucial for this country’s trading relations with the EU and the rest of the world.

Members of Made in Britain are able to join the MiB Pavillion at Futurebuild 2019 for a reduced exhibition rate. For more information about exhibiting at Futurebuild, visit www.futurebuild.co.uk/exhibit.  

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