Willmott Dixon to become zero-carbon business by 2030

Construction firm Willmott Dixon has committed that all new build and refurbishment projects it delivers from 2030 onwards will be net-zero carbon in operation, as part of a new sustainability strategy that will see the company become zero-carbon in its own operations over the next decade.

Willmott Dixon to become zero-carbon business by 2030

The strategy will also aim for the company’s supply chain partners to be net-zero carbon in operation by 2040

Willmott Dixon has been a carbon-neutral business since 2012 and has today made bold new commitments in relation to carbon as part of a 2030 sustainability strategy. As well as committing to all new build and refurbishment projects to be delivered as net-zero carbon in operation, the company will become zero carbon by the same date.

Whereas Willmott Dixon had offset unavoidable carbon via global carbon reduction projects, the new commitment will see the company cut all operational carbon emissions to zero by 2030. Willmott Dixon has reduced carbon emissions intensity from its operations by 61% since 2010.

The strategy will also aim for the company’s supply chain partners to be net-zero carbon in operation by 2040, which would deliver a net reduction in embodied carbon of 55% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.

Willmott Dixon’s group chief executive Rick Willmott said: “We’ve set some ambitious targets, some of the toughest for the construction sector, as we feel that now is the time for bold action if we are to bequeath future generations a planet not suffering from the consequences of past inaction in tackling the causes of climate change, but instead is one that they can live and thrive in.

“In laying out our road map for the next decade, we are also setting out how we are going to work with customers, supply chain partners and industry colleagues in creating a carbon-free construction sector, as this is an issue that impacts on everyone, and we’ll need to work together to achieve our common aspirations for a ‘greener’ built environment.”

The new targets are underpinned by goals aligned to climate science, which have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as being in line with an overall need to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Additionally, 100,000 trees will be planted by 2030.

The commitments come as the Government looks set to ramp up efforts to retrofit existing houses.

As part of the Government’s Green Homes Grants scheme, the Green Finance Institute has this week launched its Green Home Retrofit Finance Principles (GHRFPs), produced in collaboration with the Loan Market Association (LMA), to help inject capital into the retrofit market.

Finance will back industry-accepted standards for green buildings and retrofits by creating new frameworks for financial institutions to use. The principles have been backed by the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest Group, Ecology Building Society, UK Finance and the Building Societies Association.

Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive of the Green Finance Institute, says, “Drawing experience from the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles and the ICMA’s Green Bond Principles, which showed the catalysing effects of having a set of financial standards ratified by the industry, the Green Home Retrofit Finance Principles will give the market clear guidelines on how to process and track lending for energy-efficiency works.

“The formulation of the Principles is a key enabler for many of the Green Finance Institute’s Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings’ initiatives, to be presented later this year in a second-phase report alongside outputs from the recently-convened Zero Carbon Heating Taskforce.”

The Institute has found that scaling up green retrofitting of the UK’s existing housing stock would require investments of up to £65bn while supporting the economic recovery.

Enter the Sustainability Leaders Awards

Willmott Dixon won the Team of the Year award at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards earlier this year, cementing the company’s approach to sustainable business as one of the best working examples.

Entries for the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards are now open. The edie Sustainability Leaders Awards are back, bigger and better than ever for 2021 with a host of new categories, new judges and an exciting virtual ceremony dedicated to accelerating the green recovery and solving the climate emergency.

The official entry deadline is Friday 30 October 2020. The Awards will then take place as a special virtual ceremony on Wednesday 3 February 2021.


Matt Mace

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