Government risks missing ‘triple win’ remanufacturing opportunity
A new independent report released today (8 December) warns the Government must do more to lift a 'regulatory burden' on remanufacturing which could offer a 'triple win' of economic, social and environmental benefits.
The report follows an eight-month inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) and All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group (APMG). (Scroll down to download the full report)
Remanufacturing is a “series of manufacturing steps acting on an end-of-life part or product in order to return it to like-new or better performance, with warranty to match”. Recommendations made by this new report include recalibrating a regulatory focus which currently supports ‘lower denominators of the waste hierarchy’ such as recycling.
Making the case
It also calls on the Government to lead by example by putting UK-remanufactured items at the heart of Government procurement projects, including office furnishing, electrical equipment and medical supplies.
Inquiry co-chair Barry Sheerman MP said: “The case for achieving greater levels of remanufacturing in this country is undeniable, not just in environmental terms, but in social and economic terms also.
“That’s why this report calls on Government to create new apprenticeships across the remanufacturing value chain and ensure sustainable design and engineering courses are taught in higher education institutions across the UK. It is vital that remanufacturing and the wider circular economy are put at the heart of government strategies for skills and employment over the next 10 years.”
The 108-page report also calls on industry to work more collaboratively across the supply chain and challenges Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and third party remanufacturers to communicate more clearly.
It lays out more than 20 recommendations for Government and industry, claiming that the future of manufacturing is ‘inextricably linked to environmental sustainability’ thanks to the benefits for raw materials and waste disposal.
Ultimately the inquiry success of the inquiry will depend on its impact on business.
Susanne Baker, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Adviser at EEF, who sat on the steering group for the inquiry, said: “There is still a gap in awareness – our research shows that over half of manufacturers are unaware of remanufacturing or have simply not considered it. This is particularly true amongst small and medium sized companies, who potentially have much to gain, but are far more likely not to have considered this business model.
“It’s clear that much more can be done to help this sector flourish. Today’s inquiry has helped put remanufacturing on the map and we hope that this helps to boost awareness and drive strong support for this fantastically innovative and exciting sector of manufacturing.”
Inquiry co-chair Caroline Spelman echoed the focus on SMEs and highlighted the potential creation of thousands of skilled jobs at those companies.
“As we approach the next election, we urge this Government and the next to do more to exploit this important new frontier of economic and environmental growth potential,” she said.