A collaborative approach to a Net Zero future

We’re now in the fourth year of our Now or Never sustainability strategy, and National Head of Sustainability Mike Cross shares what’s been achieved so far.

This is my first year as Willmott Dixon’s National Head of Sustainability, so our latest Now or Never update is an important milestone for me as well as our company, customers, communities and supply chain.

That fact that 2023 was the hottest year since records began in 1850 underscored the urgency of the climate crisis. With the world's average surface temperature edging towards being 1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial levels, we must continue leading by example and delivering better sustainability performance year-on-year.

Willmott Dixon continues to make good progress toward our zero-carbon, zero-waste ambition. Since 2010, we’ve slashed our carbon intensity by 80%, while the amount of absolute construction waste has reduced by 57%. This saves thousands of tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere and takes millions of pounds off our operating costs.

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Supporting supply chain carbon reductions

However, one of the biggest challenges lies ahead in addressing the emissions from our supply chain, which outstrip our own by 99 to 1. We are supporting our supply chain partners to measure and reduce their emissions with the aim of halving scope 3 emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero across our supply chain by 2040. There is more work to do here, and we need to make it easier for them to reduce their impact on our changing climate.

Rising temperatures not only have environmental and economic costs. They pose significant threats, especially to the most vulnerable in society. Helping to improve people’s wellbeing and prospects is a key part of our ethos. For the first time in 2023, each customer has been involved in co-creating plans to deliver social value that meets the needs of their communities. We’ve delivered a £577m social return on investment, and 90% of those we’ve worked with who’ve provided feedback say our activities have positively impacted their lives.

Willmott Dixon was recognised with a King’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity in 2023. You can read about some of those activities and hear from the people we’ve supported in our Now or Never case studies section.

Now or Never is not simply about doing the right thing; the economic case for sustainability is clearer than ever. Since its launch in 2020, our sustainable project order book has grown, driven by demand for net zero in operation and Passivhaus projects. In 2023, 54% of projects incorporated our suggested design routes to net zero operational carbon. We currently have over £1 billion in net zero-related work in preconstruction, with another £200 million at bid stage and a further £500m of schemes to be bid this year. This shows how our values align with those of our customers, who see us as a partner for collaborative sustainable development.