Automotive industry making great green strides

The UK automotive industry’s production carbon footprint fell by 11.2% in 2021 compared with the previous year to reach its lowest level since records began, according to new research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT’s latest annual Sustainability Report, now in its 23rd year, found that automotive production and the supply chain emitted 81,095 fewer tonnes of CO2 in 2021 compared with the previous year.

That is the equivalent of taking 225,000 cars off the road and replacing them with the latest models.

The industry was also able to improve its environmental efficiency, with a 6.1% reduction in water used per vehicle produced, and a 2.6% reduction in waste going to landfill year on year.

Meanwhile, apprenticeship positions increased by 67%, in part due to the cessation of pandemic restrictions, but were also a full 16% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With the automotive sector still trying to recover from the pandemic while simultaneously transitioning to zero emission vehicles, the improvements made in the sustainability of production this past year is a remarkable achievement. The report shows the industry delivering on its commitments, with dramatic reductions in both the energy used to make vehicles, and the emissions they release when on the road. The automotive sector is central to the UK’s carbon reduction ambitions and, with government support to improve UK competitiveness, we can ensure that transition continues to create well-paid, clean-tech jobs while generating economic prosperity and growth in all regions of the UK.”