UCL/HSBC: Manufacturers Need Financing to Reach Net Zero

Research by UCL and HSBC reveals that UK manufacturing needs to be prepared to take urgent action to achieve net zero by 2050

Net Zero Manufacturing in the UK: Options and Challenges for the Biggest Emitting Sectors

Led by Dr Matthew Winning and Dr Catherine Willan, from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, the company’s latest report - conducted with support from HSBC - takes a look at the importance of reducing emissions in steel cement and chemical manufacturing sectors. 

Despite manufacturing in the country declining its emissions by 57% since 1990 as a result of energy intensity improvements, fuel switching, and structural changes, manufacturing still accounts for 12% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with steel, cement, and chemicals accounting for half of the overall figure. 

“A net zero UK will still require steel, cement and chemicals, but it’s clear that there is an increasing need and demand for low-carbon products from supply chains, investors, policy makers and consumers alike. Manufacturing has a pivotal role to play in both the UK economy and in the delivery of net zero ambitions. Achieving that requires an integrated decarbonisation strategy, research, innovation and infrastructure changes,” said Rohit Moudgil, Manufacturing Sector Head, HSBC UK.

“The challenge is to put in place funding that allows these industries in the UK to invest to make the transition to net zero while remaining competitive on the global stage. HSBC UK is committed to working with all our clients to help them on their journey to net zero and we have pledged to achieve net zero from our financed portfolio by 2050 or sooner.”

Increasing Pressures to Become Net Zero

With increased pressure to become net zero by 2050, manufacturers will need to make some transformational changes in order to develop a long term solution. With steel, cement, and chemicals requiring a significant structural change in order to hit its targets. 

The report stated that government, British business, and financial services will need to come together, in order to unlock the innovation and investment needed. The UK will need to establish a leading position and become attractive for low-carbon inward investment; should the UK not proceed with this investment in decarbonisation, the Country could find it difficult to sell steel, cement and chemicals outside of its borders in the future.  

"Manufacturing will play a fundamental role in the UK's net zero transition. Moving the production of sectors such as steel, cement and chemicals away from fossil fuels and towards low-carbon and more circular processes, is an enormous but important and essential undertaking. This report details what approaches may be taken as well as discussing a number of key challenges, and the opportunity to forge ahead, by working in partnership with Government, the manufacturing sector and financial services,” added Dr Matthew Winning, at the University College London and lead author of the study.


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