'One Decade to Act': Multiplex Europe plots course to net-zero

Major construction contractor Multiplex Europe has outlined a string of 2030 climate targets on the road to net-zero by 2050, including measures to cut on-site emissions and embodied carbon.

Image: Multiplex Europe/ Albert Soh

Image: Multiplex Europe/ Albert Soh

Called ‘One Decade to Act’, the plan is designed to put Multiplex on track to comply with net-zero targets set by the EU and UK by changing processes and culture. It is based around five pillars, all designed in recognition of the fact that 98-99% of Multiplex Europe’s climate impact lies outside of its direct operations and within the value chain of the major developments it supports.  

The first pillar commits the firm to zero emissions from all project sites by 2025. Major sources of on-site emissions that will need to be transitioned include generators.

All four other pillars have 2030 deadlines. They cover halving embodied carbon intensity; achieving net-zero buildings in operation; reaching net-zero transport emissions and eliminating all avoidable waste.

Halving embodied carbon intensity will require collaboration with both designers of structures and suppliers of materials. To this latter point, Multiplex is a founding member of the Climate Group’s SteelZero initiative, which unites businesses in a drive to tip market signals in favour of low-carbon steel production methods. Other high-carbon materials include concrete and cement.

The new 2030 targets, Multiplex Europe claims, are aligned with its existing 1.5C-aligned science-based emissions targets. Under these aims, the business will support at least 95% of suppliers to set their own science-based targets by the end of 2023.

To support the delivery of ‘One Decade to Act’, Multiplex Europe has developed a culture and behaviour change programme called ‘Educate, Engage, Empower’. Further details will be revealed to staff, clients and suppliers in the coming months.

“Success will come through actions, not words,” Multiplex Europe’s managing director Callum Tuckett said. “One Decade to Act is based on taking practical, evidence-based steps founded on climate science, research and collaboration. We must promote cultural and behavioural change within and beyond our business, working closely with our clients and supply chain to achieve these goals together.”

Readers interested to find out more about Multiplex Europe’s recent work and its wider views on creating a green recovery for the construction sector are encouraged to watch edie’s 2020 SustyTalk video interview with the firm’s senior sustainability manager Joshua Davies.

Decarbonising construction

While building materials and construction account for around 11% of global annual emissions directly, the sector also contributes to carbon and energy use in other high-emitting sectors including building operations and heavy industry. When the whole value chain is accounted for, the sectors contribute to more than 40% of annual global emissions.

Because construction projects have a long lifespan, the sector has had to move quickly to respond to the net-zero targets being developed by nations, regions, states and cities across the globe. Industry bodies like the World Green Buildings Council, and initiatives like UK Contractors Declare, have helped to support the uptake of aligned targets across the sector while also facilitating greater collaboration.

Other Europe-based construction giants with net-zero targets include Canary Wharf Group, Barratt Developments, Skanska, Morgan Sindall, Mace and Willmott Dixon.

Sarah George



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