Brussels, 22 June 2012  The REMake conference ‘Tapping the potential of resource efficiency in the European manufacturing industry’ attracted over 100 participants amongst industrial associations, resource efficiency experts and policy makers on 20 June 2012. Resource efficiency experts from France, Germany, Italy and Spain showcased multiple examples of how to reduce the consumption of materials, water and energy and outlined their recommendations for greater resource efficiency in Europe’s manufacturing industry.

Eco-design, process efficiency and value chain optimisation are key to profitability and competitiveness. Dr Uwe König, CTO of the German Surface Industry Association (ZVO) and REMake Project Coordinator, underlined that, “Material and energy are the most critical costs for manufacturing companies. Their capacities to use resources as efficiently as possible will determine their competitiveness in the global market.”

For manufacturers, it is therefore crucial to better understand the potential of resource efficiency through R&D and analysis of materials and energy flows, product properties, waste recovery and recycling methods. To date, however, lack of data, the complexity of involving all value chain actors and the difficulty of integrating new measures in existing processes, remain barriers to application of resource efficiency measures. The main policy recommendations produced by the experts focus on:

  • Easy-to-handle life-cycle analysis methods adapted to specific sector needs and sector specific performance;
  • Benchmarks for SMEs;
  • Inclusion of life-cycle performance and resource efficiency information in simulation tools, design tools and manufacturing information systems;  
  • Integrated optimisation of energy, material efficiency and recycling;
  • Dedicated R&D projects to improve resource efficiency across entire value chains.

The REMake final conference was followed by a Dinner Debate in the European Parliament which was hosted by Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (Greens/EFA), member of the ITRE committee and former rapporteur of the European Parliament on the own-initiative report on ‘An effective raw materials strategy for Europe’. During the event, three European manufacturers and one innovation agency were awarded for excellent performance in implementing resource efficient measures.

Nexiform, a Welsh SME, was awarded for its cold cure tiles, an innovative 100% recyclable product that created twelve new jobs. Aubineau Constructeur, a French manufacturer of refrigerated and insulated bodies, designed a fuel-efficient truck capable of making over 600 litres of fuel savings per year, while decreasing production costs. Ruhl & Co., a German electroplating enterprise, reduced the consumption of chemicals and water by between 5-8%, and increased its profit by €70,000 with a return of investment in 4 months. Finally, the Region of Valencia, Ministry for Economy, Industry, and Trade was awarded for designing and starting-up a successful innovation voucher scheme capable of reaching and supporting twenty-five SMEs.

REMake is a project that enables manufacturing SMEs to tap into the potential that recycling and resource efficiency can offer in an easy, tailor-made way. With the support of REMake experts, companies can assess their savings potential and can discover in a simple, hands-on manner how material efficiency measures and life-cycle approaches increase their profitability.