Melissa will see first hand how the company's investment in carbon offsetting is benefiting people

Willmott Dixon is underlining its commitment to being a carbon neutral company by sending out the winner of its sustainability champion award to Uganda to see a carbon offsetting project it is helping to fund.

Melissa Corser, environmental manager for Willmott Partnership Homes, is visiting the African country to see first-hand the Improved Cookstoves Project, one of three projects Willmott Dixon is investing to offset its 2015 carbon emissions. By subsidising the sale of cleaner, more efficient cookstoves, the project not only reduces carbon emissions, but also has a big impact on people’s health, by improving indoor air quality.

Melissa is finding out how the cookstoves are made and funded, and talking to people who have benefited. She is documenting the project for her colleagues back home, to give them a better awareness of what carbon offsetting is, and why Willmott Dixon does it.

The opportunity came about after she was named the company’s sustainability champion at its inaugural awards in May for her work in the UK promoting eco-friendly practices on projects in the Midlands.

Carbon neutral

Willmott Dixon has been a carbon neutral company since 2012, which has been through a mix of reducing its energy use and carbon emissions across its operations, as well as investing significantly in a carbon offsetting programmes oversees.

Melissa said:

“Carbon offsetting is an important part of our low carbon message, helping to make the world a more sustainable place for future generations. I’m really looking forward to finding out how our investment is helping people in Uganda, so that I can tell my colleagues, clients and supply chain partners all about it when I get back.”

Willmott Dixon intends to halve its carbon emissions intensity by 2020, compared with 2010. In 2014, it exceeded its 2010 carbon emissions reduction target by over 100%, and in 2015 it reported that carbon emissions (relative to turnover) were now 31% lower than 2010 baseline.

Rick Willmott, Group Chief Executive: “While we have robust carbon and energy management measures in place, it is not possible for us to stop using energy altogether. Investing in offsetting our unavoidable carbon emissions helps mitigate our impact on the environment, while making a real difference to people's lives.

Melissa wins her title as company sustainability champion 2016. She is joined by Jonathon Porritt and Rick Willmott

“Melissa’s visit will help to bring the project to life for all of our people and raise awareness, beyond our business, of the benefits of carbon offsetting. We’d like to thank Natural Capital Partners, our offset partners, for organising this fantastic experience for Melissa.”

You can find out more about Willmott Dixon’s sustainability journey here and its key achievements from last year in its sustainable development review here

You can get all the updates from Melissa’s trip on Twitter @willmottdixon #MelissaInUganda