Amdea conference sets out agenda for achieving net-zero goals

Amdea’s 2050: Appliances of the Future – The Road to Net Zero conference saw speakers from manufacturing, retail, regulation and policy focus on the next steps for achieving a sustainable home appliance industry.

Organised by trade body The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (Amdea), the event on Thursday, September 21, the event came just a day after UK prime minister Rishi Sunak announced a U-turn on the Government’s climate commitments.

Now in its third year, the event in London was hosted by broadcaster and tech expert Maggie Philbin, and was supported by City, University of London and the OPSS (Office for Product Safety and Standards)

There were three main sessions. ‘How Are Manufacturers Advancing on the Road to Net Zero?’; ‘How Are We Supporting Sustainable Householder Choices?’, and ‘How Will Regulation Enable the Delivery of Net Zero?’ Each comprised a keynote speech followed by a panel discussion.

Kevin Hollinrake, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business, gave an opening keynote address via video. He said that achieving net-zero targets and ambitions would impact on every aspect of our lives – home, work and play – and would have implications for the lifecycle and the safety of the products we use, including how we operate, produce, dispose of and recycle them.

“Now that the UK has left the EU,” said Hollinrake, “we have a unique opportunity to design and implement a framework that prioritises the needs of UK consumers and reduces the burden on business.”

Amdea chief executive Paul Hide said: “There’s no doubt that appliances have a big role to play in supporting the achievement of net zero homes. Estimates suggest that within the 29 million UK homes, there are at least 130 million large appliances and over 300 million small appliances.

“More than 98% of UK homes have at least one large appliance and annual UK sales of this industry exceed 12 million large appliances and 50 million small appliances. This equates to a UK market worth close to £8 billion a year at retail and supports many thousands of UK jobs.”

Speaking as part of the manufacturer panel session, which included senior representatives from Beko UK, BSH Home Appliances, Haier Europe and Miele UK, Teresa Arbuckle, who is Amdea chair and managing director of Beko UK and Ireland, said she was pleased that energy efficiency is high on appliance manufacturers’ agendas and in their marketing.

She cited the recent IFA trade show in Berlin as a good example of how eco messaging is everywhere, saying: “This year it was energy efficiency to the max – every single manufacturer was showing off recycled materials in their products.

“It made me so happy because it says that we all as manufacturers – and human beings – are realising that we have to do something, and that we have to contribute to some part of net zero to get there.”

Commenting on the conference, Amdea’s Hide said: “There is no other UK event that brings together such a wide range of stakeholders and it allows us to pause and reflect on our joint progress in delivering net zero homes, to consider how far we’ve come in the past 12 months, and to discuss the priorities and milestones – both near-term and on the pathway to 2050.”

Earlier this year, Amdea called for more action from Government on repairing appliances.

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