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As part of The Future of Manufacturing series, this week’s article shifts focus to another aspect of modern manufacturing: Sustainability and Net Zero Goals. In light of a rapidly changing industrial landscape, manufacturers face not just the challenges and opportunities of technological advancement, but also the pressing requirement to adopt sustainable practices.

The Make UK and PwC survey underscores this shift, and it reveals a growing commitment amongst manufacturers to invest in sustainable technologies and practices. This move towards a greener manufacturing process provides scope for more than ethical morality, but opportunities for strategic gains. Benefits like reduced waste, improved energy efficiency, and enhanced corporate responsibility can make a manufacturer more competitive and prosperous.

As manufacturers increasingly align with net zero objectives, it’s evident that sustainability is no longer a fringe concept but a core aspect of business strategy, promising both environmental and economic rewards. 26% of manufacturing executives see the net zero targets as a major opportunity for their business in 2024. This week, we delve into how manufacturers can harness these opportunities to not only contribute to a more sustainable future but also to gain a competitive edge in the industry.

3 Key Findings in Sustainability & Net Zero

1. Net Zero Opportunities

With only around a quarter of manufacturers looking to net zero opportunities for growth suggests an opportunity for manufacturers to stand out in an evolving market. Manufacturers can seize this opportunity by innovating in green technologies, sustainable practices, and eco-friendly product lines. This not only caters to a growing segment focused on sustainability but also positions these manufacturers as leaders in a transitioning economy towards greener practices.

2. Commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

The fact that nearly two-thirds of manufacturers have set ESG targets indicates a significant shift towards more responsible and sustainable business practices. By meeting or exceeding these targets, manufacturers can improve their brand image, attract ethically minded customers and investors, and potentially benefit from regulatory incentives. Emphasising ESG commitments can also open doors to new markets and partnerships, particularly where sustainability is preferred.

3. Energy Efficiency Investments

With around 23% of manufacturers recognising opportunities in energy efficiency from technological investments, this area presents a substantial opportunity for cost savings operationally and environmental impact with reduction in waste. Manufacturers should consider digital technologies like AI, cloud computing, and IoT to optimise processes and achieve these benefits.

Using marketing to leverage sustainability in manufacturing

Opportunities in Sustainability & Net Zero

The transition to sustainability and achieving net zero targets is not just important for the environment but also a strategic business opportunity for manufacturers. As the industry evolves, manufacturers who leverage these 3 findings will find themselves well-positioned to capitalise on the significant opportunities made available. So, what are these opportunities?

Easier Access to Finance: a focus on net zero and ESG credentials is increasingly seen as favourable by financial institutions, leading to better access to finance for manufacturers.

Improved Efficiency and Productivity: Many manufacturers are discovering cost-saving opportunities by enhancing process efficiency, predominantly made possible with advanced technologies, which in turn lowers emissions and operational costs.

Innovation and Market Expansion: Developing sustainable products and services opens new market opportunities, aligning with changing consumer preferences and offering a competitive edge globally.

Green Supply Chains and Increased Sales: Strong ESG profiles are becoming crucial in procurement contracts, aiding manufacturers in securing business and fostering sustainable supply chains. Manufacturers should highlight this profile in their tender operations where prospects demand environmental credibility.

Talent Attraction: The sector’s commitment to net zero is appealing to new talent, particularly amongst environmentally conscious younger generations. Manufacturers can leverage sustainability to help tackle the on-going skilled labour shortage.

3 ways to Leverage Sustainability & Net Zero with Marketing

It’s great to see the survey shows a positive attitude towards sustainable practices and net zero goals. Not only does this help address the collective concern around the environment and our future, adapting to greener practices brings significant opportunities.

We’re a specialist B2B manufacturing marketing agency, so we’re well acquainted with ways to leverage your activities as a means to attract new business and build commercial relationships. Here’s a few ideas:

1. Highlight Sustainability Achievements and Goals

Manufacturers should clearly highlight their sustainability achievements and future goals in their marketing materials. Utilising specific, quantifiable targets, such as reducing carbon emissions or achieving sustainable practice certifications, demonstrates their commitment. This transparency not only fosters consumer trust but also appeals to an increasingly large market that values environmental stewardship.

2. Narratives around Sustainable Practices & Case Studies

Storytelling can connect more effectively with audiences than mere statistics. Manufacturers can share their journey towards sustainability through various channels, with a particular focus on their website, as well as social media and other channels. These stories should encompass challenges faced, impacts on the community, or employee-led initiatives, which humanises the brand and establishes an emotional connection with their audience.

Manufacturers can communicate this through case studies to emphasis the sustainable aspects of products or practises to provide social proof. They help potential customers understand the tangible benefits of choosing a manufacturer committed to sustainability.

3. Green Branding

Where regulations around sustainable manufacturing are set to impact manufacturers in the near future, especially within the EU market, manufacturers need to consider ‘Green Branding’ as a central strategy. But these strategies should be handled with care to avoid ‘greenwashing’, so it involves building a brand identity that is deeply associated with environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. Green branding can significantly help customers identify consumer preferences. Or at the very least, tick a box for customers obligated to work with sustainable manufacturers. This could be a reason for prospects to choose their products over less expensive imports from China that lack green credentials.

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At Beach Marketing, we already partner with global manufacturers, leveraging our knowledge and expertise in manufacturing to deliver impact, growth, and ROI. If you need marketing support for your business, complete the form below for a no-obligation meeting.

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