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26th October 2015

The Manufacturing Commission is launching its newest inquiry report, Industrial Evolution: Making British Manufacturing Sustainable, ahead of the Paris COP21 talks, in which it outlines vital measures that government and industry should take to ensure that British manufacturing is here to stay.

The Commission undertook this inquiry because it believed that none of the existing research into the future of manufacturing has so far adequately addressed, from a policy perspective, some of the major vulnerabilities of present day manufacturing in the UK. Have we fully appreciated how we could take advantage of the complete range of opportunities on the horizon? Faced with a myriad of significant challenges, what would government and the sector itself need to do in order to survive and thrive?     

This detailed inquiry, 9 months in the making, provides the foundations for the industrial sector and parliamentarians to work together to initiate the next industrial movement: evolution rather than revolution. It is being launched to Parliament on October 27th and will also be available to download from

There are risks in not taking advantage of the key economic opportunities or evolving our industries. Action needs to be taken now to secure a clean, innovative future – and Britain can be the leaders in this global shift.

Co-chairs Chi Onwurah MP and Professor Steve Evans stated “This report sets out how we can start redesigning our industrial system to make it more sustainable, improve our national security, and ultimately enhance our quality of life. We believe that we must take advantage of this leadership moment to make the UK more productive, efficient and resilient, and be a provider of solutions to the rest of the world.”


Findings covered five key themes:

  • Leadership – Government should provide leadership on implementing energy efficient measures through tax credits and carbon reduction schemes, encouraging resilience investment, and decreasing the knowledge gap in energy and resource efficiency.
  • Resilience –a new ‘challenge-focused’ Catapult should be established to examine and build our understanding around cross-sectoral areas of concern relating to resilience, the ONS should develop a system to track resource flows, and an Office for Resource Management should be established within BIS to advise and coordinate policy-makers on the challenges and opportunities around resource security.
  • Innovation – increase public research & development funding to improve competition in the international market, Government should make greater use of procurement to provide a market for sustainably manufactured goods, and the UK should take a lead in establishing standards for open data in energy and resource efficiency.
  • Collaboration – The industrial decarbonisation roadmaps undertaken by BIS and DECC should be expanded to other key industries and into strategic Action Plans, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should work closely with trade associations and business to provide guidance on data sharing and Government should expand efforts to foster voluntary agreements around the efficient use of materials and waste reduction.
  • System redesign – The government should consider tying support for energy- and resource-efficiency to other green measures and responsibility for resource management infrastructure should be unified at a UK-wide level. Government should also work to reduce uncertainty around more sustainable manufacturing business models whilst providing access to, and support for these through innovation and coordinating bodies.


This inquiry is critical to making the government and the industry work together to ensure a real, sustainable future for the industrial sector here in the UK. The Manufacturing Commission is cross-party, independently governed and has drawn data from all corners of the sector to give impartial, evidence-based solutions for a nationwide sustainable industrial strategy.

It is powerfully clear from the conclusions of the inquiry that we ultimately need an Industrial Evolution, based on a deeper understanding of the interaction between manufacturing and the physical world it takes place in.

If you wish to download the report in full, it is available free of charge on the Manufacturing Commission’s website tomorrow: If you would like to find out more, simply contact Michael Folkerson, Manager, on 0207 202 8586/