A new report from Siemens has found that the UK metals and aggregates manufacturing sector is making 'tangible progress' in managing energy consumption and experiencing a 'benificial impact' on the bottom line as a result.

The report, which canvassed the views of 600 board directors, senior management and energy managers from UK manufacturers operating across all sectors, found that 83% view energy as a business critical issue and that 72% planned to increase investment in energy management over the next 12 months. Reducing carbon footprint and meeting regulatory requirements were cited as the key motivational factors.

Comparing metals and aggregates to other industrial sectors found that the former leads the way in terms of energy management training for employees and investment in energy saving technologies. The metals and aggregates industry, claims the report, viewed energy management as on a par with other strategic decisions.

The sector fared less well when compared with chemicals and pharmaceuticals, aerospace, glass and solar, food and beverage and automotive when it came to having a five or 10-year energy management plan in place and this was based on uncertainty surrounding return on investment.

Siemens Industry's head of energy efficiency and environmental care, Steve Barker, said the findings indicated that the industry has a 'high awareness of energy issues' but is held back by its approach to investment opportunities.He said that progress made in terms of active and formalised training programmes and recognising the strategic importance of managing energy risk was to be applauded and added that the real reward was the 76% of respondents claiming bottom line improvements as a result of implementing energy management measures.

"Some are still struggling to recognise the benefits, but often the perceived barriers to investing in energy management can be easily overcome with the right information," he said, adding that the challenges for UK industry will only intensify and that doing nothing 'is not an option for businesses that want to thrive'.

The Future of Energy: The UK Manufacturing Opportunity by Siemens Industry.