UK Automotive industry achieves 20 years of sustainable growth and environmental improvements

by Jul 17, 2019Blog, News

New data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has shown how successful the UK automotive industry has been over the last 20 years.

The figures not only highlighted the increase in productivity, but also outlined just how successful the industry has been in reducing its environmental impact.

The 20th annual Sustainability Report has shown how the sector has achieved environmental, social, and economic gains since 1999. According to the data, UK automotive productivity has risen by 208% in that time.

The report went on to explain that automotive manufacturing has become one of the nation’s most important economic assets. It has turned over a whopping £82 billion in 2018 alone, which is a growth of 70% since the first Sustainability Report was released in 1999.

“Sustainability lies at the heart of the UK automotive sector and manufacturers are committed to balancing profitability and output with social and environmental responsibilities.”

Mike Hawes – SMMT Chief Executive

In that time, the SMMT has also revealed that workers have received a significant wage boost. Average wages in the sector have risen by over 85% since 1999 compared with 61% across wider manufacturing.

Manufacturing workers in the automotive sector are now some of the UK’s better earners. The average salary is £41,800, which is an impressive 40% higher than the national average.

Industry-wide productivity has also increased dramatically. Automotive output per job has increased by 208% from £32,000 to £100,900. Not only this, but the value of exports has also seen a big rise with 81.5% of cars produced in 2018 destined for international markets compared with 63.9% in 1999.

The UK’s environmental performance has also been remarkable and the nation is now one of the most efficient in Europe.

The UK has, through strict efficiency targets and continuous improvement and refinement of manufacturing processes, outperformed the EU average for energy, CO2 and water.

“Any future relationship with the EU must assure our competitiveness, delivering frictionless trade and a supportive business environment to encourage investment.”

Mike Hawes – SMMT Chief Executive

Since 1999 the energy saved has grown and grown, being enough to power 9.5 million homes for a year. The amount of CO2 saved would also fill the Royal Albert Hall 37 times.

Manufacturers have also saved over 690,000 tonnes of waste from landfill during that period, which equals the annual waste produced by the households of Bristol, Leeds and Edinburgh combined.

All of these incredible environmental results have largely been driven by massive investments made into new models and plants.

Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive at the SMMT, said: “Sustainability lies at the heart of the UK automotive sector and manufacturers are committed to balancing profitability and output with social and environmental responsibilities. Industry has invested heavily in ever safer, more efficient technology, but in processes and measures that have significantly reduced its environmental impact.

“We are on the cusp of a transport revolution and this sector has the potential to be one of the world’s leading forces driving the change. For the UK to reap the full benefits, any future relationship with the EU must assure our competitiveness, delivering frictionless trade and a supportive business environment to encourage investment.”

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