Saint-Gobain urged to step up CSR commitments by external advisory panel

Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland should be setting more ambitious targets in the areas of energy and waste, and could take its sustainability reporting a step further by reporting more clearly on its overall environmental performance.

That’s the view of a newly-appointed sustainable development advisory panel, which Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland brought in earlier this year to provide critical advice, guidance and feedback to the habitat and construction company in order to improve its CSR advancement. (Scroll down for full report).

In its latest 2013 CSR report, Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland has published the comments of the panel – which consists of customers, NGOs, charities and sustainability experts – as well as the company’s responses to those comments. 

Chair of the advisory panel Dr Alan Knight said: “Establishing an external panel has been a brave move for the business which embraced dialogue and challenge in a positive way, with transparently publishing the panel’s feedback a key part of this. This is a strong positive step on its sustainability reporting journey.”

Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland laid out 2020 targets in energy and carbon, waste, and water. The company pledged to ‘exceed the national carbon emissions reduction targets’; committed to ‘zero waste to landfill’; and promised to ‘be the best in class in water reduction and conservation’.

More ambitious targets

But the report states that the company’s total direct CO2 emissions actually rose by 2990 tonnes between 2012 and 2013. There has also been an increase of approximately 2000 tonnes in waste to landfill over the past year.

Reviewing the CSR report, Knight added: “We believe more ambitious targets could be set in important areas such as carbon and energy; waste, particularly customer/site waste; sustainable products, and we would also like to see Saint-Gobain go further in setting out how it can contribute to circularity of its products, through eco- innovation.”

On a positive note, the amount of water withdrawal by the company has seen a 14.4% reduction since 2010, with an 18% water discharge reduction in the past 12 months and a 49% reduction since 2010.

Knight concluded: “While we believe good progress has been made on presenting a more balanced picture of genuine sustainability progress, recognising success and openly sharing areas of continued challenge, we believe this needs to be an area of continued focus. It’s clear that Saint-Gobain could go further here especially with comparisons to previous performance and current targets.”

REPORT: Saint-Gobain’s CSR update 2013

Lois Vallely

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie