AIB Manufacturing Outlook Report 2022

Manufacturing Outlook Report 2022 Feature

AIB Manufacturing Outlook Report 2022

The AIB Manufacturing Outlook report 2022 was published last month. The report was produced in conjunction with Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) and provides insight into the manufacturing sector’s progress in its transition to a more sustainable footing. The report also highlights some of the various sustainable initiatives that operators are implementing in their businesses and also provides direction to the supports that are available in the market.

AIB’s Head of Manufacturing, AIB Sector Strategy & Sector Specialists, John McKeown writes about how AIB’s €10bn Climate Action Fund will help the sector transition to a more sustainable footing, as manufacturers continue to embrace sustainability as part of their business models. John writes:

“At AIB we are acutely aware that we have a crucial role to play in supporting both individuals and businesses to make the transition. In October 2021, we doubled our Climate Action Fund to €10 billion, having previously allocated €5 billion targeting lending of €1 billion per annum for green and transition lending over five years from 2019 – a target which we aim to substantially exceed by the end of 2023”

John later writes:

“With green and transition lending accounting for 19% per cent of new lending in 2021, we have set out an ambitious target for this to reach of 70% by 2030. In doing this we have fundamentally committed ourselves to supporting the transition to a lowcarbon economy, reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our customers to do the same.”

Interestingly the research shows that while 64% of Irish manufacturers (80% of which are SMEs) don’t currently have a formal sustainability plan, 64% of companies do plan to implement sustainable practices within the next 12 months while another 20% plan to do so within the next three years.

Encouragingly, while the survey revealed that 62% saw cost as a challenge to implementing sustainable practices, 85% believe an increased focus on sustainability represents a business opportunity while 83% believe it will have a positive effect on their bottom line.

This is a point backed up by IMR’s Director of Sustainable Manufacturing, David McCormack who said:

I think there is a misconception that the cost of embedding sustainability in a business greatly outweighs the benefits. That’s not true and, from our perspective, embedding sustainability at the heart of your business will clearly result in a positive impact on your business by increasing competitive advantage, new markets via new product innovations and cost reductions across materials energy and water,”

David IMR talks about how IMR is working with a range of indigenous and multinational manufacturers, across a number of different sectors, on developing sustainable business strategies with some of the manufacturing sectors it has developed successful solutions for including pharmaceutical, medical devices, food and drink, and automotive.

IMR also work with firms in the whole area of circular economy through our CIRCULÉIRE programme, which aims to help companies demystify the concept and help them transition to a low carbon circular manufacturing business, and IMR is funding projects in this area as part of that programme. David continues

“A good example of the work we are funding under the CIRCULEIRE programme relates to a project which is tackling construction & demolition waste, one of the largest waste streams in Ireland. The project aims to utilise the concept of reverse logistics to return the waste materials back to their facility so that it can be incorporated into new products and ensure that there is no waste to landfill. This and other circular economy strategies are going to be hugely important in the overall context of sustainability and the future of manufacturing,”

IMR’s Chief Technology Officer, Micheal Cassidy writes:

“Working collectively with manufacturers, we try and understand how we can go about creating new knowledge, developing new technologies that are going to solve their problems over the next three to five years. But we also think in the context of the next 10 to 15 years and what the vision might look like. I think it’s important to be working towards something substantive, particularly when it comes to sustainability and the aim to reach net-zero manufacturing,”

Micheal continued:

“For industry, we are a good first port-of-call because we have access to a wide range of information and supports, and we understand and have mapped a lot of the things that will be relevant to them. We have also developed a lot of tools that help them understand what are going to be the most significant things for them to do in terms of embarking upon their journey. For example, we have a lot of audit tools and maturity models that can help them map their journey towards where they need to be, and which steps are relevant for them in terms of their maturity now and where they need to be over time,”

The full AIB Manufacturing Outlook Report 2022 is available to read below.