Climate change is already having visible effects; the world is warming, rainfall patterns are changing and sea levels are rising. Unless we radically reduce our direct contribution to climate change and play our part in limiting global warming to within 1.5ºC, we will all experience dramatic changes to our lives.
We’ve been successful in tackling our carbon emissions over the past ten years. Since 2012 we’ve been net zero carbon (or carbon neutral) in our own operations. We’ve done this by investing in verified carbon reduction projects overseas to offset our own emissions.
In 2020, we set our new science-based target, aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5ºC, to become zero carbon in our operations by 2030.
Our aim is to reduce our own emissions to zero so that we will no longer need to offset our carbon footprint.
- All our sites will be fossil fuel free
- We will reduce site cabin electricity use by 65%
- We will reduce absolute mileage by 65% and have an 100% electric fleet
- We will demonstrate our leadership position with transparent carbon emissions reporting externally supported by clear internal actions and performance reporting
- All our offices will be zero-carbon in operation
- We will generate renewable electricity for our own use
We report our performance against our targets every year as part of our Sustainable Development Review. You can see our performance here.
In 2020, we became the first construction company and the 10th company globally to sign-up to all three of The Climate Group’s business campaigns, EV100, EP100 and RE100.
Managing carbon: transport
We have 20 offices across the UK and around 130 building sites at any one time. The nature of our business means that our people need to travel for work, with transport emissions accounting for over 40% of our overall carbon footprint. Vehicle selection and sustainable travel planning play a significant role in minimising our impact.
We collect business and commuting mileage information through The Miles Consultancy (TMC). This includes information about all company car and grey fleet vehicles, and all our people submit information on their monthly business and commuting mileage.
Over the years we have introduced policies and initiatives to help us reduce our transport costs, mileage and emissions. These include, encouraging opportunities for homeworking and enhancing our suite of IT tools to enable this, implementing a new car benefit scheme which incentivises selection of ultra-low carbon emissions vehicles and installing electric vehicle charge points at all our offices and construction sites.
We encourage and incentivise other methods of commute and business travel, such as walking and bicycle use, through mileage reimbursement and utilising schemes such as Bike4Work.
Managing carbon: construction sites
Around 50% of our emissions come from our sites. We use energy and fuel to power our site cabins, the plant and machinery we need to construct and refurbish buildings. We have installed energy monitoring equipment on site, so that we can better understand the impact of our projects.
We are focussing on eliminating fossil fuels from our construction sites – one way we’re achieving this is through procuring electricity that is 100% natural renewable.
We use eco-cabins on all our projects and continue to seek the most efficient cabins possible. We ensure our cabins are equipped with a range of energy-saving technologies such as lighting controls, timed heating controls and better insulation. Our cabins are set up in a way that makes it possible to switch off equipment overnight and at weekends, without turning off equipment that needs to stay on.
Wherever we can, we use plant and equipment powered by electricity rather than diesel, since it produces fewer emissions. Sometimes this can be a challenge – it can take a while to get a site connected to the grid, so we encourage our people to make early grid connections.
When we hire equipment, we have a preference for kit which is less than 18 months old, because the newer the equipment, the more energy efficient it is.
Managing carbon: offices
We currently occupy 20 office buildings - all of which are leased. Although the emissions amount to less than 6% of our total carbon emissions, we are committed to working with our landlords, so that by 2030, at the latest, we only occupy offices that are zero carbon in operation. Each of our offices is developing a Sustainability Management Plan.
Each of our offices has its own sustainable travel plan, which encourages visitors and employees to make sustainable travel decisions. A key area of focus is installing EV charge points at all our offices.
As well as introducing initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint, for every tonne of carbon from our own operations that we emit and that we cannot avoid, we invest in a project overseas which is reducing carbon emissions by the same amount. This means we can say that we are a carbon neutral business.
All the projects we invest in undergo a rigorous assessment to ensure that they achieve measurable and permanent reductions in emissions. We self-declare our carbon neutrality according to PAS 2060 guidelines.
The PAS 2060 carbon neutrality standard is a specification standard detailing how to demonstrate carbon neutrality, produced and published by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
Our carbon emissions data is verified annually by Bureau Veritas as an independent third party, in order to substantiate the quantity of carbon credits required for purchase to offset our emissions, in-line with our commitment to be a carbon neutral business.
In addition, we are one of only a handful of companies in our sector to be certified to the Carbon Trust Standard.