This week, with calls for a ‘green reset’ to industry one Derbyshire businessman operating at heart of PPE production during the crisis, believes the re-launch of British manufacturing is the silver bullet that can boost the economy, protect the environment while continuing to support the NHS.
In March, fashion firm David Nieper Ltd switched production to help the national effort and is now supplying reusable PPE to 21 British hospitals and has just received its biggest order to date.
Christopher Nieper, CEO David Nieper Ltd commented; “Rebuilding Britain’s manufacturing must be central to the strategy to move out of economic lockdown.
Bringing our manufacturing home can in a single shot, launch our economic future, end this country’s reliance on unsustainable, overseas supply chains and protect the environment.
Based on our own manufacturing figures and current NHS surgical gown usage, we estimate that we can save 170,000 tonnes CO2 emissions per year, (the equivalent of heating 63,000 households) by making reusable gowns in the UK rather than disposable ones overseas, which is exponentially better for the environment.
And, this is for one line of gowns only. Consider the savings that could be made given the NHS requirements for scrubs, tunics, gloves, visors, aprons, gowns and hoods in such vast quantities.”
The NHS currently uses 150,000 disposable gowns a day, equating to 54.75 million gowns being discarded each year. This synthetic fabric waste could stretch across an area the size of 23,000 football pitches – all going to landfill.
This figure can be cut dramatically by swapping disposable gowns for reusable gowns, which can be washed up to 100 times and safely reworn – reducing both waste generated and associated disposal costs.
Last year, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, David Nieper carried out an academic report into the environmental impact of offshore manufacturing, which concluded that 47% less emissions are created by manufacturing textiles in the UK, in comparison to a similar operation overseas.
Christopher continued; “Our report showed that environmental standards in manufacturing are not the same in all countries, and the carbon intensity of local networks differ enormously.
For example, according to our report a textiles manufacturer in Turkey would typically release around 70% more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while using the same energy as an operator in the UK.
This figure combined with unreliable supply and quality issues from overseas suppliers makes the current procurement system entirely unsustainable and is testament to the fact that manufacturing in the UK is much more viable option.
Christopher, whose company has this year been awarded both the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Manufacturer of the Year by MAKE UK, also believes that the fallout from COVID 19 presents a huge business opportunity for British manufacturing.
“Again based on our own manufacturing figures, we estimate that the production of reusable surgical gowns alone could provide a £22 million boost to the economy per year and support 1000 jobs.
The on-going demand for PPE in the management of the virus is immense. This is an exceptional opportunity that British manufacturers cannot afford to let slip through their fingers.
In the last 30 years we’ve lost two thirds of the UK’s manufacturing capacity, it now represents less than 10% GDP, yet manufacturing sector is one of the highest value adding sector for our economy.
A green jump-start for industry in the form of commitment to British manufacturing can help ensure a safer and more prosperous future for us all.”
For more information please visit the David Nieper website here