Energy consumption is moving up the agenda for manufacturers. DESNZ's report looks at the manufacturing sector's approach to efficiency.

Navigating the energy efficiency landscape: Insights from UK manufacturers

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has released a report that takes an inside look at how manufacturing sectors are adapting to energy efficiency measures. The survey details responses from 1,144 manufacturers across the UK.  

Energy consumption is moving up the agenda for manufacturers. With the UK sitting in a period of high and volatile energy costs, prioritisation of energy efficiency measures acts as a mitigation tool against a significant proportion of operating expenses, while addressing a global call for improved environmental protection. 

Drawing on insights from the report, let’s explore the barriers hindering the uptake of energy-saving methods and how a savvy communications strategy can dismantle these obstacles and drive adoption. 

Unveiling the barriers 

The report highlights several challenges impeding manufacturers’ embrace of energy efficiency solutions: 

  1. Information and Expertise: The most common barrier was uncertainty surrounding what energy efficiency improvements and/or technology options are available for manufacturing firms (75%).  
  1. Green-skills gap: The second most common reason was not having someone skilled, trained or available to focus on energy efficiency improvements (71%). 
  1. Cost apprehensions: Half of manufacturers (50%) cite the high upfront costs as the primary barrier to adopting energy efficiency measures. 
  1. Prioritisation: Over three-quarters of respondents (79%) reported having priorities elsewhere (such as the impacts of Covid-19 or Brexit).  

Drivers for energy efficiency 

Energy efficiency is a hot topic, increasingly being prioritised by all sectors. For small manufacturers, the survey sighted 3 main reasons that manufacturers decided to invest in energy efficiency measures. They are: rising energy bills (62%), corporate social responsibility (27%), and pressure to address climate change (13%). 

On the other hand, large manufacturers shared several influences for taking actions. Whilst their energy and/or energy bills were still the most frequent influence (79%), a majority were also influenced to take action by demand for corporate social responsibility (71%), in-house expertise (64%), compliance with regulations (64%), and an energy audit (55%). 

Overcoming obstacles: A strategic approach 

Energy efficiency for manufacturers: 

In the UK, energy costs have become a key concern across all industries, since the fourfold energy price hike in 2022, the uncertainty towards the turbulent energy market continues to increase risk for businesses. 

Taking steps to understand energy efficiency measures is the first step to energy safeguarding. Shockingly, the report found only 36% of manufacturers monitor their energy usage. Identifying areas of high energy consumption reveals opportunities to reduce operational costs. According to the report, some of the most popular efficiency investments included: building improvements (47%), team behavioural and cultural changes (27%), and replacing industrial equipment (24%).  

Communicating your journey: 

Strong communication of efficiency measures is vital to showcase safeguarding measures mitigating uncertain costs, and also a brilliant way to showcase the progress of your ESG journey.  

Involving your team in your efficiency journey enables on-site action and initiative to progress or even kickstart energy saving projects. Similarly, showing actioned strategies to customers and stakeholders is a great way to address demand for corporate social responsibility and climate change concerns. 

Unlocking market potential 

It never hurts to have a trusted friend with in-depth, proven sector expertise

At Content Coms, we offer award-winning ESG consulting & communications services. Take a look at our 7 Steps to Kickstart Your ESG Roadmap, a guide for UK Manufacturers and Tech Innovators, to get ahead on your ESG journey. For more information on our ESG services, be sure to get in touch! We’d love to hear from you. 

For a deeper dive into the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s document and its insights, you can find the full report here

Sian Clay
Sian Clay
Sian Clay is on our client management team, specialising in ESG communications. She holds an MSc from the University of Bristol in Management in CSR and Sustainability.