UK car manufacturing carbon footprint drops to lowest level


The carbon footprint of UK car industry production fell -11.2% in 2021 from a year earlier to its lowest level since records began, new research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT’s latest annual sustainability report, now in its 23rd year, shows that automotive production and the supply chain emitted 81,095 tonnes less CO2 in 2021 compared to the previous year. Average vehicle CO2 emissions, meanwhile, were -11.2% lower than their 2020 equivalents.1 As the average car on UK roads is now nine years old, the carbon savings resulting from production is equivalent to taking 225,000 cars off the road and replacing them. with the latest models. Since 1999, the industry has reduced its CO2 emissions by 1.5 million tonnes or 70.6%, which is equivalent to taking almost 900,000 cars off the road.

Despite reduced production due to the global shortage of semiconductors, the industry still managed to improve its environmental efficiency, with a -6.1% reduction in water used per vehicle produced and a – 2.6% of waste sent to landfill year on year. . Thanks to the commitment of the industry, -96.2% less waste per vehicle is sent to landfill than at the beginning of the millennium. Additionally, since 2015, the industry has ensured that 95% of a vehicle’s weight goes through a take-back network to be reused, recycled or recovered.

The sector’s economic contribution is also revealed, with UK car-related manufacturing turnover estimated to have recovered by 5% in 2021 to reach £67.1 billion, while related GVA to automotive is estimated at £14.1 billion, with 182,000 people directly employed in manufacturing roles. .

Mike Hawes, Managing Director of SMMT, said: “With the automotive sector still trying to recover from the pandemic while simultaneously transitioning to zero-emission vehicles, the improvements made in production sustainability over the past year are a remarkable achievement. The report shows that the industry is delivering on its commitments, with dramatic reductions in both the energy used to make vehicles and the emissions they release while on the road. The automotive sector is at the heart of the UK’s carbon reduction ambitions and, with government support to improve the UK’s competitiveness, we can ensure the transition continues to create well-paying tech jobs. while generating economic prosperity and growth in all parts of the UK. 2″

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