UK industry continues to drive forward digital revolution towards Net Zero

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Britain’s manufacturers are accelerating towards Net Zero as the sector moves to reduce energy usage and costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost productivity, according to new research from Make UK and Sage.

The research - ‘Decarbonisation through Digitalisation’ - shows manufacturing businesses are investing in digital technologies and embracing data analytics, supply chain management and full automation of business processes.

Nearly half of manufacturers have an active plan to invest in digital technologies to decarbonise their business and almost a quarter have already invested in digital solutions. According to the report, a further 23% plan to do so in the coming 12 months.

Some 62% of companies which have already adopted digital technologies into their production processes reported energy cost savings, while almost half (44%) said that digitalisation has been their firm’s top driver of productivity improvements, with production processes tightened up. A quarter of Britain’s manufacturers believe that new digital technologies have already had an impact on decarbonisation and their ability to achieve challenging Net Zero targets.

Significant barriers to digitalisation remain, however, with six in ten manufacturers still wary of the upfront cost without accurate timings for return on the investment.

Half of the manufacturers surveyed said that tax incentives to invest in digital decarbonisation technologies and upskill their current workforce would provide a major boost to uptake.