14 July 2004
Go green or stop altogether
AROUND 2500 UK workers making non-recyclable parts for the car industry face unemployment, according to a Midlands' academic.
If the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for which they work do not clean up their act to comply with new environmental laws, car makers will be forced to look elsewhere for parts.
Aston Business School's (ABS) Dr Jo Crotty is currently looking at the likely effects of new laws stating that 85 per cent of all car components must be recyclable by January 2006.
She says that it is the manufacturing minnows that will feel the brunt of the new legislation.
'We contacted all 209 companies identified by the DTI as being almost wholly reliant on the big car firms. Of those that took part in our in-depth analysis, around 25 per cent face bankruptcy if they fail to make the necessary changes before January 2006. This group has done absolutely nothing to comply with the forthcoming legislation,' Dr Crotty continued.
Some of this group said that they did not know about the new legislation, despite communications from the DTI. Others said that they knew about it and had been invited to seminars to find out more details. This group either decided not to go to the seminars or had decided that in going they had complied with the new laws.
'We estimate that there are around 2500 people working in those small manufacturers that have as yet done nothing to comply with the new legislation,' she said. 'The carmakers' hands are tied as they will be forced to comply with the new rules,' she continued.
'If their suppliers' products are non-compliant then car makers will have to look elsewhere for products that do meet the stringent new rules. It's unlikely to matter to such companies whether or not their suppliers are based in the UK as they are competing in a global market,' she said.
Along with her co-researcher, Dr Mark Smith from the University of Central England, Dr Crotty is currently applying for further funding to extend her research to discover if the problem is restricted to the UK or is prevalent throughout Europe.
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