The family-owned, Hertfordshire-based firm – a finalist for edie’s Sustainable Business of the Year award – is already carbon-neutral but wants to reduce its reliance on carbon offsets.

The new target, announced this week, is to reduce emissions intensity (tonnes of CO2e per £m of turnover) to 9.25 in 2020, down from 18.3 in 2010.

Group chief executive Rick Willmott said: “There is a clear link between being commercially successful and being sustainable; cutting carbon boosts the bottom line.

“As a result of implementing our previous Carbon Management Plan, we are now saving around £3m a year in fuel and energy costs.

“We will shortly be issuing a new Energy and Carbon Management Strategy which will set out how we will cut carbon produced by our construction projects and other business operations by half compared with our 2010 baseline, and save us a similar amount in fuel and energy costs.”

Business sense

Willmott Dixon has already seen a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from the same 2010 baseline.

Green initiatives include a new fleet telemetry system for more efficient movement of commercial vehicles; paying over £400,000 in green bonuses since 2008 for staff choosing low emission company cars and reimbursing staff for 560,293 car share miles.

The company has also upped its usage of temporary grid electricity supplies to minimise use of diesel generators which can emit up to 50% more carbon than grid electricity on a construction site.

Going forward, the company says it will continue tackling high–impact areas like business travel and site emissions.

“We have an acute understanding of the value of sustainability to our overall success and this focus will not be diminished by other priorities,” added Willmott. “Reducing the carbon produced by our operations is an essential long-term strategic aim and one that all our team are totally committed to in their day-to-day work.”

Sustainability Leader

Earlier this year, Willmott Dixon dually regained the Carbon Trust Standard, which recognises best practice in carbon reduction. At the time, Carbon Trust certification managing director Darran Messem said: “Willmott Dixon has demonstrated that the company takes a rigorous and comprehensive approach to sustainability, which includes a substantial focus on reducing energy use and emissions.

“This commitment is setting an example to the wider construction industry.”

Willmott Dixon is one of seven businesses shortlisted for the Sustainable Business of the Year at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015. More information available here.

Earlier this year, Willmott Dixon united with other construction firms to write an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne, highlighting the ‘major economic opportunity’ offered by cutting emissions from the built environment.

Brad Allen

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