Manufacture 2030 helps businesses reduce emissions in their supply chains by measuring, managing, and reducing climate impacts with supplier-specific climate action plans. Innovate UK EDGE helped it to accelerate the development of a smart recommendations engine that helps companies more easily understand what they could and should be doing to reduce their carbon footprint.
Many companies spend a lot of time and money on data collection and reporting on that data. What they aren’t doing, according to Martin Chilcott, Chairman and CEO at Manufacture 2030 (M2030) is acting on that data to decarbonise their supply chains quickly enough. “Many companies are still just focused on historical data collection. But if all you’re doing is collecting historical data, it’s like trying to drive forwards while looking in the rear-view mirror. Organisations need to generate forward-looking data and they need to proactively support their suppliers to reduce impacts if they are going to hit their climate targets on time. That’s what we do – collect data and build plans to reduce emissions, based on that data.”
M2030 has clients from over 70 countries across the globe, including big names such as Roche, Toyota, Co-op, Asda, Bayer and GSK. Chilcott says many organisations want to reduce their carbon footprint and decarbonize their supply chain, but don’t know how to do it or where to start, so they defer it and keep collecting data. “A lot of them also don’t have deep expertise around carbon reduction. And think about the size of the challenge for them. How do you work with thousands, or in some cases hundreds of thousands, of suppliers to reduce their footprint?”
How does M2030 do it? It works directly with suppliers, usually at site level. It provides tools such as carbon calculators and datasets to help factories determine their carbon footprint. That data is then turned into climate action plans, supported by the smart recommendations engine.
Accelerating the development of its AI carbon footprint reduction platform through help with funding
In February 2021, Innovate UK EDGE helped M2030 accelerate the development of its platform. The company wanted to build a smart recommendations engine using natural language AI processing. Doing this would enable M2030 to provide more accurate, customised, site-specific and dynamic recommendations to individual companies in a supply chain, helping unlock operational barriers to them taking more urgent climate action. It would also give the company (and the UK) a significant competitive edge over international peers.
Achieving this edge meant speeding up the time to market, which necessitated a cash injection to create the smart platform. Innovation and Growth Specialist Christopher Buckland helped Chilcott navigate the public funding landscape to access the much-needed funds. “Christopher guided us through the process – he advised us on how to apply, what to apply for and he reviewed our submission,” says Chilcott. “His expertise was so useful and made it all so much easier.”
The result was a £116,000 OxLEP (The Business Investment Fund) Grant and M2030 has been able to use that funding to accelerate the product development roadmap and deliver more rapidly on its wider company objectives. It has also created nine new permanent roles and three contractor roles.