Transcript for Manufacturing the Future Conference 2015 - Interview with Professor Steve Evans

My name is Steve Evans, I’m the Director of Research and Head of the Centre for Industrial Sustainability sponsored by EPSRC.

In the long-term, industrial sustainability is the ability to supply the goods, and the services that rely on those goods, to everybody on the planet within the limits that the planet provides.  In the short-term, we in the UK have to learn how to do this in order to be able to deliver value using less energy, less water and less materials.

One of the interesting start-up examples is Riversimple. We’ve been working with them on their system of industrial design, so they are looking at their whole value chain. They are looking at how their product relates to how they deliver value to their customers and their value chain. As a start-up, they’ve received more than £10 million in venture funding, supported in part by many of the ideas that we're bringing into their business plans.

On the larger scale, we’ll all recognise Marks & Spencer. It’s interesting: why are we working with a retailer? Retailers move products, they bring products right in front of customers and what we’re trying to do with Marks & Spencer is investigate new ways of putting products in front of customers so, that all of the material that goes into those products comes back into Marks & Spencer and is used effectively. In our project with Marks & Spencer, our ambition is to retain 50 per cent of the value of the material that otherwise would escape the system forever and somehow end up in landfill.

I’m incredibly excited about the idea that UK manufacturing can learn how to be efficient and resilient. If we can save $5 billion in input energy cost, water cost and material cost, that’s $5 billion on the bottom line of every UK manufacturer. If you can do that, you can turn off power stations, if you can do that people have to buy our products worldwide, because our products are greener than our competitors. That would be a really exciting start and would help the UK become resilient.