Defra funds Resource Efficiency Manager pilot
Two clusters of manufacturing small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) will receive support from a Resource Efficiency Manager for up to 15 months, after the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) awarded a new pilot project £270,000 of funding.
The money, which came from Defra’s Action Based Research Programme ‘Exploring and developing new ways to improve the resource efficiency of the manufacturing system and supply-chain’, is being used to fund a project led by efficiency consultancy The Environment and Sustainability Partnership Ltd (EandSP), in partnership with Bangor University, EEF (the manufacturers’ organisation) and engineering company Rolls-Royce plc.
The Shared Resource Efficiency Manager (SREM) project – which builds upon previous feasibility research carried out by EandSP with funding under the Support for Sustainable Living grant scheme (managed by Cynnal Cymru/ Sustain Wales) – will see a Resource Efficiency Manager provided full-time to be shared amongst a cohort of SMEs who are part of Rolls-Royce’s UK supply chain. A manager will be in place for a cohort of EEF member businesses in the South West and Wales region.
It is hoped the programme will help ‘provide insight into the potential of shared employee models in helping SMEs access quality staff cost effectively’ and lead to more resource efficient practices in the supply chain.
Businesses wishing to access resources used by the Resource Efficiency Managers will also be able to join a network group and track the project’s progress.
EandSP are also inviting researchers, advisors and ‘other interested bodies’ be part of a wider stakeholder group for the project to ‘help share learnings and experiences’.
‘Delivering cost savings, innovative products and improved partnerships’
Speaking of the SREM project, Nigel Marsh, Global Head of Environment at Rolls-Royce plc, said: “We are planning to roll out our global Resource Efficiency Action Programme this year to help us reduce waste in our own operations. Whilst focusing on our internal operations we also recognise that there are even greater benefits to be achieved across our external supply chain.
“We are keen to share our programmes, successes and best practice with our suppliers. This project provides us with a timely opportunity to try a new approach to working with our suppliers as part of our supplier development programmes for business efficiency.”
Phil Brownsord, EEF’s southwest Regional Director, added: “Although increasing resource costs are a significant risk to our members SMEs are unable to justify a dedicated employee to manage this issue. By sharing an environmental manager members will have dedicated expertise but at a cost that is proportionate to their turnover.
“This project has the potential to deliver cost savings, innovative products and improved partnerships with customers, and importantly for EEF promotes a growing and sustainable manufacturing base in the UK.”
This is the fourth round of projects to be commissioned as part of Defra’s Action Based Research Programme to test innovative approaches for encouraging sustainable and resource efficient behaviours.