UK motor industry celebrates 20 years of sustainable growth

Time 1:04 pm, July 16, 2019

UK AUTOMOTIVE productivity has risen by 208 per cent since 1999, as the progress in sustainable development is revealed today by new data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Its 20th annual Sustainability Report reveals environmental, economic, and social gains achieved by the sector over the past two decades, highlighting the substantial improvements in areas such as energy and water use, waste to landfill and CO2 emissions.

Over the past 20 years, automotive manufacturing has grown to become one of the UK’s most important economic assets, turning over £82 billion in 2018 – an uplift of 70 per cent since the first Sustainability Report was published in 1999.

At the same time, workers have experienced a significant wage boost, said the SMMT, with average automotive wages rising by 85 per cent over the period compared with 61 per cent across wider manufacturing. Automotive manufacturing workers are now some of the UK’s better earners, with an average salary of £41,800 – 40 per cent higher than the national average.

Mike Hawes

Meanwhile, productivity has increased considerably, with automotive output per job growing by 208 per cent from £32,000 to £100,900. The value of exports has also grown significantly, with 81.5 per cent of cars produced in 2018 destined for international markets compared with 63.9 per cent in 1999.

Two decades of energy savings have been enough to power 9.5 million UK households, while water saved equals 810 litres for every person in the UK. Meanwhile, efforts to deliver ever more efficient cars have resulted in average new car carbon dioxide falling by 31.2 per cent since 1999, while nitrogen oxides emissions have been cut by 84 per cent since the turn of the millennium and exhaust particulate matter virtually eliminated. In addition, 693,969 tonnes of waste have been saved from landfill.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, 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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