Focus on supply chain carbon emissions

Two weeks after Willmott Dixon Group chief executive Rick Willmott said cutting carbon had benefited the company’s bottom line, Willmott Dixon wants its supply chain to enjoy similar financial success by reducing carbon emissions.

The company’s framework to measure, manage and cut carbon emissions within its supply chain has seen it become the first in its sector to achieve The Carbon Trust’s new supply chain certification. Willmott Dixon is one of seven companies to achieve the new standard; the others are Aviva, PWC UK, Central England Co-operative, Nationwide, ABP and Deloitte UK.

Rob Lambe, managing director at Willmott Dixon’s Sustainability business, Re-Thinking, explained why addressing supply chain emissions is so important:

“Over the past five years we significantly cut the carbon intensity of our operations as there is a clear link between being commercially successful and being sustainable. We plan to halve the amount of carbon we emit by 2020 compared to 2010 and already hold The Carbon Trust Standard, yet appreciate that the emissions over which we have complete control (so-called Scope 1 and 2 emissions) are dwarfed by those emitted by our supply chain.”

“The 17,000 tonnes of Scope 1 and 2 emissions which we reported in 2014 represents just 1% of total emissions associated with our activities to develop, construct, maintain and retrofit property. The Carbon Trust’s new Supply Chain certification framework is a mechanism to support supply chain partners in reducing emissions, which should allow them to benefit from financial savings.”

Willmott Dixon is already carbon neutral and is now saving around £3m a year in fuel and energy costs as a result of implementing its 2010-2014 Carbon Management Plan, and will take a targeted approach to its supply chain emissions by prioritising the 97 Category A suppliers responsible for most of the company’s supply chain carbon footprint. Of its suppliers, cement, lime and plaster represent the largest source of emissions, so these will be a particular focus for the Group going forward.

Willmott Dixon has seen a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emission intensity (emissions relative to turnover) compared to 2010. Reasons for the operational improvements include a range of initiatives to improve site energy efficiency, paying over £400,000 in green bonuses since 2008 for staff choosing low emission company cars and offering financial rewards for car sharing.

Rick Willmott recently commented on the long-term focus on carbon reduction: “We have an acute understanding of the value of sustainability to our overall success and this focus will not be diminished by other priorities. Reducing the carbon produced by our operations is an essential long-term strategic aim and one that all our team are totally committed to in their day-to-day work.”