Willmott Dixon cuts carbon emissions by 13% in a year

Construction firm Willmott Dixon has called on the industry to "strive to find less carbon-intensive ways to operate", as the company's latest sustainability report details a 13% reduction in carbon emissions over the last 12 months.

Wilmott Dixon released its latest performance figures for carbon, waste and broader sustainability on Monday (4 September). The report noted that the company has reduced emissions relative to turnover by 40% since 2010, as it closes in on a 50% reduction target for 2020.

As part of the launch of the report, the company’s chief executive Rick Willmott called on the construction industry to view carbon management as a key focus area.

“Climate change will have a profound impact on the way of life for future generations, with implications for health, food production and access to resources if we don’t curb now the effect of excessive carbon emissions into our atmosphere and the consequence that has for global warming,” Willmott said. “Any company committed to leaving a lasting legacy in the built environment must view carbon management as a key focus area.

“With around half of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from the construction and operation of buildings, we must strive to find less carbon-intensive ways to operate as an industry. And this includes getting better at building energy efficient buildings, which will stand up to the more extreme temperatures we can expect in the coming decades.”

Performance progress

Willmott Dixon notes that is has been operating as a carbon neutral company since 2012, when it first began offsetting its unavoidable emissions by purchasing credits in various biomass and reforestation projects in Uganda and Kenya.

Carbon performance is verified by external environmental consultants Bureau Veritas. As well as teaming with SmartestEnergy to power offices with renewable energy, Willmott Dixon is also incentivising staff members to use cleaner transport methods to and from work. For example, the company paid out £17,000 in bonuses to employees who chose low-emission company or private cars to travel in.

Willmott Dixon also has a target in place to reduce construction waste intensity by 60% by 2020 compared to 2012 levels. The latest report highlights a 14% reduction in waste intensity relative to project turnover. In total, Willmott Dixon has reduced waste intensity by 47% since 2012 and 95% of construction waste is diverted from landfill.

Willmott Dixon is a previous winner of the Sustainable Business of the Year at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards, which are currently open for entry. The company was also behind the largest non-residential Passivhaus development at Leicester University’s new Centre for Medicine and WWF’s Living Planet Centre.

Matt Mace

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