The savings were accumulated from all over the business, said chief sustainability officer David Picton, thanks to a company-wide culture of making green decisions.

“We had a lot of initiatives generated at contract and project level,” Picton told edie.

“Our employees know that sustainability is a big part of our business, and they come up with a lot of these ideas which we can then implement and share around the other business units.”

Initiatives in the last year have included simple things like reclaiming bricks from construction sites, refurbishing cabins on-site rather than getting new ones, and harvesting rainwater at projects.

However Carilllion has also embraced more ambitious programmes such as using plastic mats to construct access-roads rather than importing concrete. A plan to completely change the way the company used water in the Middle East, also saved hundreds of thousands of pounds on its own, according to Picton.

“In water-scarce area, using less water has the double benefit of resource husbandry, and saving us a lot of money,” said Picton. He added that reducing waste had probably contributed the most to the £27.2m profit figure.

‘Cant afford not to’

The report also revealed a normalised carbon-footprint reduction of 17% since 2011, a 28% reduction in water consumption since 2012, and 95% diversion-from-landfill rate.

Commenting on the progress made in 2014, Picton, said: “We’re showing that sustainability is not a ‘nice-to-have’ or something that companies have to find a way to afford – it’s actually something they can’t afford not to do.

“Sustainability is critical for long-term, stable business and needs a strong, integrated approach which delivers on the Three CBs – changing behaviours, for commercial benefit, through a challenging balance.”

“Looking ahead, we’re still ambitious with what we want to achieve through our sustainability expectations and targets. The achievements to date have set a firm platform of evidence and benchmarks in place – so much so, that we often take many of these achievements for granted as our daily business and Carillion’s values.”

The 2013 Carillion Sustainability report claimed that green initiatives had contributed around £22m of profit.

Video: Carillion chief executive Richard Howson explains the 2014 Sustainability Report

 Brad Allen

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