BAM UK & Ireland sets 2026 net-zero target

Pictured: BAM staff working on the Sighthill Bridge in Glasgow

The firm had previously been working to reduce its operational emissions intensity by 80% between 2015 and 2026. It was on track to meet or exceed this target, with a reduction of more than 40% recorded so far.

Globally, the group had also set a target to halve direct emissions intensity between 2015 and 2030 and had this verified by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). It is on track to achieve this reduction seven years early and, as such, said an increase in ambition was needed.

The new target requires a steep reduction in emissions in absolute terms, with BAM stating that it will “not rely heavily on carbon offsets” as its stance is that offsetting can “disguise” an organisation’s true progress. Any offsets that do need to be offset in 2026 and beyond will be addressed using a mix of nature-based and man-made solutions.

BAM UK & Ireland’s chief operating officer John Wilkinson said: “There is no room for or advantage in disguising or hiding performance. Vague data is useless, so science-based, transparent information and a healthy dose of honesty are part of the medicine.

“The other red herring is offsetting. We cannot rely on planting trees elsewhere in the world to cover up our own emissions. Although these have a role to play in the short term, we must drive these down ourselves and face up to our responsibilities.”

Emission scopes covered by the new target include direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) emissions, as well as some key sources of Scope 3 (indirect) emissions where the business believes it has “significant influence”. These include staff transport and hotel use, water consumption, energy use by third parties and upstream emissions.

Regarding Scope 2 emissions, BAM UK & Ireland uses certificate-backed energy contracts to cover the majority of its electricity procurement, under Ofgem’s Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certification scheme. However, the business is looking to go further and support additional renewable electricity generation to come online.

On Scope 3 emissions, the business has been working with the Carbon Trust and the Sustainable FM Index to help improve emissions measurements.

“The data baseline this has created and our investment in data collection and analysis is a key enabler in confidently setting this new demanding 2026 target,” said BAM’s carbon reduction lead Sarah Jolliffe.

How can the built environment sector collaborate for net-zero?

Last month, experts from Grosvenor, Clayco, Mott MacDonald and Kingspan joined an edie webinar on collaborating for net-zero in the built environment.

The webinar is now available to watch on-demand and will be of interest to readers who enjoyed this article. Click here to watch the webinar on-demand or click here to read our roundup of the speakers’ key takeaways.


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