Company aims to reduce waste from construction sites by 60% within four years

Willmott Dixon’s focus on meeting tough targets was underlined this week when Rob Lambe, one of the driving forces behind the company’s sustainability achievements, was named Sustainability Executive of the Year at the BusinessGreen Leaders awards.

Rob, MD of the company’s sustainability team Re-Thinking, was praised by the judges for his “long-standing work to promote energy efficiency, his consistent delivery against a host of environmental targets, and his cross industry work in support of a greener building sector and a wider low carbon economy.”

The company’s 2016 Sustainable Development Review, published this week, sets out its ambitions to 2020, which include targeting a 60% reduction in construction waste intensity (compared to 2012) and a stated aim to enhance the life chances of 10,000 young people. In 2015 the company announced its intention to halve its carbon emissions intensity by 2020, compared with 2010.

Group chief executive Rick Willmott explains why his company continues to set some of the most robust targets in the sector;

“Businesses which set ambitious targets can make a bigger difference than they might think. “Our business thrives on challenge and setting stretched goals gives us the impetus to apply ourselves to find solutions.”

Willmott Dixon’s focus on sustainability and contributing towards achieving a cleaner, healthier and more productive economy has already seen it become the first carbon neutral company in the sector. In 2014, it exceeded its 2010 carbon emissions reduction target by over 100%, while in 2015 it delivered a 38% reduction in construction waste relative to turnover. It also surpassed its target to transform the lives of 3,000 young people by 14%.

2015 Highlights:

  • Carbon emissions (relative to turnover) now 31% lower than 2010 baseline
  • 38% reduction in construction waste relative to project value since 2012
  • Diverted 95% of construction waste from landfill
  • Ambition to achieve 50% carbon reduction by 2020 against 2010 baseline
  • Water use on construction sites down 20% between 2011-2015
  • Three year focus on site safety through ‘All Safe’ programme has resulted in accident frequency rate of 0.23
  • 1st in sector to achieve The Carbon Trust’s Supply Chain Standard – world’s first accreditation for companies monitoring and managing supply chain carbon emissions

Willmott Dixon has already established a formidable record for building property that meets the most exacting standards for low carbon and thermal performance.

It recently completed the UK’s largest non-residential Passivhaus facility, University of Leicester’s Centre for Medicine and is currently building a new home for the Met Office’s supercomputer in Exeter targeting BREEAM Outstanding. In July, it was appointed to deliver Bristol’s first offices to be BREEAM 2014 Outstanding, the Aurora building for Cubex at its Finzels Reach development.

While Rick Willmott is proud of the company’s sustainability achievements, he is clear that there is still a lot of work to do. “The next few years will see us empower our people further to identify new and exciting ways of achieving our sustainable ambitions. We will be working harder to foster innovation across our business and supply chain, through awards schemes, conferences and networking opportunities, and we’ll be doing more to align incentives to sustainability performance.”