Willmott Dixon sets most ambitious science-based target in the construction sector

Last updated: 19th October 2020

We worked with Willmott Dixon to develop incredibly ambitious carbon reduction targets aligned with climate science

Willmott Dixon have set targets for their entire supply chain including:

  • 100% reduction of absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030
  • 55% reduction of absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2040

Willmott Dixon’s sustainability commitment

Willmott Dixon is a privately-owned contracting and interior fit-out group, founded in 1852. They have long embedded sustainability within their operations, from constructing energy efficient buildings to encouraging supply chain partners to reduce their carbon emissions.

Willmott Dixon has committed to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions GHG emissions by 100% by 2030 from a 2018 base year. They have also committed to reduce absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services by 55% by 2030 and 100% by 2040 from a 2018 base year. Making this the most ambitious science-based target in the construction sector.

Demonstrating climate ambition

Science-based targets are one of the strongest and most credible ways a company can demonstrate their commitment to tackling climate change. Setting an approved science-based target requires companies to fully understand their Scope 3 value chain emissions and set a baseline for reduction, which can be challenging.

Gaining full buy-in from across the organisation, particularly from the leadership team, was of utmost importance in moving SBTs beyond a ‘tick-box exercise’ to becoming a strong platform for long lasting sustainability success.

Upskilled and empowered workforce

The process to set these targets involved a collaborative approach between Carbon Intelligence and the Willmott Dixon sustainability team. Our experts conducted workshops and continued to work closely with the team, providing advice and supporting the development of their targets.

This involved reviewing their Scope 3 inventory, calculating gaps, modelling the end targets, and supporting the actual submission to the Science Based Targets initiative. This collaborative approach and focus on upskilling have meant the Willmott Dixon team are empowered to make better informed decisions about their emissions going forward.


From ambition to reality

Achieving this level of ambition will require continued focus and commitment, alongside a robust strategy. For existing Scope 1 and 2 emissions they already procure 100% of their electricity from natural renewable sources, but in order to continue driving reductions they are looking to investigate ways to generate renewable electricity for their own use.

Travel emissions are notoriously tricky to reduce and Willmott Dixon has a strategy to support their employees to work and travel sustainably with incentives to dramatically reduce mileage by 65% by 2030 and for all vehicles driven for business whether company cars or privately ownedto be 100% electric. This includes, for example, installing charge points at all sites and offices.

Another focus will be to eliminate fossil fuels on construction sites, initially by continuing the existing focus on using electric supplies rather than generators with greater use of battery storage and will aim for all offices to be zero carbon in operation.

Key Benefits

  1. Market leadership: Willmott Dixon is paving the way for the construction sector and showing how far climate ambition can be stretched
  2. Upskilled and empowered employees: Employees are now equipped to take these targets forward and turn them into a reality with shared accountability
  3. Stand up to scrutiny: The SBT process ensures robust understanding of baseline emissions and aligning targets to climate science avoids reputational risk associated with greenwash

Emma Watson, Senior Consultant, Carbon Intelligence

 “Willmott Dixon has set the most ambitious science-based target in the global construction sector by aiming for zero emissions in its operations by 2030 and supply chain by 2040. Willmott Dixon will work closely with its supply chain to support those companies towards achieving this goal, and the domino effect their targets will have, with both its suppliers and peers will be a significant step toward reducing the climate impact of the built environment in the UK.” 

Tackling Scope 3

The most challenging element of the target relates to the scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services and this will be an area of focus for the strategy, working collaboratively with their customers and supply chain.

Willmott Dixon has shown incredible leadership by committing to completely eliminate Scope 1 & 2 operational emissions by 2030. The company will use the learnings from the next 10 years to tackle their Scope 3 emissions. The aim is to help suppliers to get to net zero operational emissions and achieve net zero embodied carbon by 2040. This is backed by the science based target to reduce absolute Scope 3 emissions from at least 2/3 of purchased goods and services to zero.

Many of Willmott Dixon’s suppliers are SMEs with limited resource, so transitioning to a zero carbon economy will present a challenge to these companies. Willmott Dixon has promised to support and encourage its suppliers through this process to help create a carbon free construction sector.

Carbon Intelligence has helped 1 in 3 UK companies set their science-based target and supported half of all UK SBTs aligned to 1.5C.

Download The Guide to Science-Based Targets or contact us today to see how we could support your organisation.

N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by the above supplier, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher

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