Sustainability strategy update

by Paul Lacey, head of sustainability

Our aim is to be a leading sustainable business, trusted and respected by our stakeholders for the ethics we adopt and the products and services we supply. We continue to collaborate and engage with our customers to build better relationships, develop our products and services and enable low carbon sustainable construction.

We have recently completed a detailed review of our sustainability strategy and targets to ensure they meet the requirements of both our stakeholders and our parent company HeidelbergCement’s sustainability ambitions to 2020 and beyond. This was a nine month programme which involved discussions with customers, industry associations and NGOs and a review of the government’s thinking around a range of initiatives from Construction 2025 and the Green Construction Board to the low carbon construction action plan and route map. We also looked at carbon and energy legislation (ESOS) and wider issues such as population and climate change.

The output from this is summarised in the chart (below) and has reinforced our belief that the sustainability strategy we launched in 2010 remains fit for purpose and that our targets generally still meet the needs of the business and our stakeholders. However, some areas for improvement have been identified and we plan to expand our reporting on communities, energy and product quality and to refine some of our targets to reflect this approach.

To facilitate this we have set up working groups led by business line managing directors to create improvement plans in six defined areas.

In the meantime our 2015 report continues to focus on:

  • People - creating sustainable communities and working with our stakeholders
  • Carbon - climate change and energy
  • Waste and raw materials - sustainable consumption and production
  • Water and biodiversity - natural resource protection and enhancing the environment
  • Systems - management systems for continual improvement

To support this we provide training and guidance for employees to understand our key objectives and encourage them to take responsibility for performance and improve competency.We continue to develop our Integrated Management System (IMS) as a mechanism to implement our sustainability strategy and ensure compliance with legislation, accurate reporting and continual improvement, and we remain committed to publishing an annual report in July on the prior year’s performance to the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Our other core strategic aims are to develop new products that enhance our credentials and the sustainable built environment to meet the needs of our customers, to achieve our sustainability targets and to lead by example.

Sustainability chart.

Managing sustainability

Our safety, health, environment and marketing functions are managed within a single sustainability department to provide increased focus both internally and externally. The department delivers a professional regulatory and advisory service to all business lines, audits and develops the Integrated Management System (IMS), and leads the drive to develop a trained and competent workforce.

It covers:

  • Energy and natural resources - focusing on energy, carbon and natural resource management, reporting and communication, and product profiling.
  • Safety, health and environmental leadership – delivered through a team of safety, health and environment professionals
  • Training and competence – through co-ordination and delivery of our in-house and external training programmes.
  • Audit and review – combining internal audit with maintenance and development of the IMS.
  • Communications and engagement – promoting key safety, health and environmental messages to our employees, contractors and visitors, and the sustainability credentials of our business and products to all stakeholders.