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UK Infrastructure firms reduce carbon emissions by 30%*

UK Infrastructure firms reduce carbon emissions by 30%*

19 Oct 2016

Almost 30 of the UK’s leading infrastructure companies have collectively saved the equivalent carbon emissions generated by more than 700,000 return passenger trips from Heathrow to JFK New York.**

Twenty nine large companies from across the construction, rail, utilities, manufacturing and public sectors have saved a total of 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents year on year over the last six years, by following a systematic carbon reduction programme. Companies from Anglian Water to United Utilities deployed a range of techniques included modernising fleet, implementing smart technologies, using renewable energies and encouraging the whole supply chain to reduce emissions.

Results were reported, and independently verified, via the Carbon & Energy Management and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) – one of the world’s most rigorous carbon reduction programmes. The achievement was revealed as more than 80 countries ratified the Paris Agreement – the international agreement to reduce emissions and global warming. The agreement is due to come into force on November 6.

Jay Katzen, Chief Executive of Achilles which holds the licence to run CEMARS in the UK, said: “In a landmark week, when the Paris Agreement will be coming into force and carbon reduction is hitting headlines across the world, UK infrastructure companies have proven themselves to be global role models in responsible and sustainable business”.

“On average, the companies participating in the CEMARS programme have reduced absolute carbon emissions by just over 30%, over the last six years. That is a great achievement in any industry – but particularly infrastructure, which is traditionally energy-intensive. Achilles is extremely proud to have supported their carbon reduction efforts”.

Later this month, Mr Katzen will be joined by Sir Lockwood Smith, New Zealand High Commissioner at the New Zealand High Commission in London where they will present gold CEMARS certificates to the successful businesses in recognition of their efforts. The CEMARS scheme was developed for Achilles by Enviro-Mark Solutions which is a subsidiary of a New Zealand government owned research institute.

Dr Ann Smith, Chief Executive of Enviro-Mark Solutions said: “The challenge of reducing emissions to stay within the limits set by the Paris Agreement will set new requirements for accountability based on monitoring, reporting and verification. CEMARS was designed to deliver these accountabilities and has been rated as world leading for its robustness, transparency and impartiality. I am delighted to be partnering with Achilles to provide world-class tools that help UK companies to contribute to reducing their national footprint with credibility and integrity”.

Also present will be Gudrun Cartwright, ‎Environment Director at Business in the Community, who added: “The global agreement reached at COP21 Paris in 2015 raised the bar for climate action. As we approach the first-year anniversary it is encouraging to see progress being made by UK Infrastructure companies to significantly reduce carbon. An average reduction of 30%, in 6 years is an impressive achievement that will inspire many more companies to take action. However, there’s a still a long way to go and we will only succeed by setting robust targets, implementing a rigorous action plan and holding business to account through independent monitoring and verification through schemes such as CEMARS. This report sends a clear message that tackling climate change is good for business”.

What the companies said:

Graham Edgell, Morgan Sindall Group Director of Sustainability and Procurement, said: “Achilles’ assessments are both independent and rigorous, meaning there is no scope for ‘greenwashing’. As a result of CEMARS, Morgan Sindall Group can now identify new ways to reduce carbon emissions and have made reductions though a range of measures. Morgan Sindall Group has succeeded in embedding low-carbon ways of working across all divisions. We have not only met, but exceeded the targets we have set ourselves, and I have no doubt we will continue to drive environmental improvements”.

Paul Minchin, Managing Director Saint-Gobain PAM UK, said: “We are hugely proud to be one of the few UK businesses to achieve the UK gold certification for CEMARS. This award is testament to the amount of work and commitment invested by various teams across the company over the last six years. If as a country we are to achieve our carbon reduction targets, then it is about time that measures like CEMARS are made mandatory for all organisations. As a socially responsible business, Saint-Gobain PAM looks beyond our immediate commercial needs and constantly questions how we can contribute to a sustainable future for our wider community”.

Eddy Taylor, Head of Sustainability at Laing O’Rourke added: “Our CEMARS-certified carbon footprint has dropped by 52% since our base year of 2008-09. The certification process has helped motivate step-change improvements in the efficiency of our construction plant and processes, as well as drive incremental improvement and behaviour change”.

Jesse Putzel, Head of Sustainability at BAM Construct, added: “CEMARS has really helped to focus our efforts over the last six years. We’ve systematically worked through our carbon reduction plan and have improved the way we deliver projects, reducing carbon, costs and also improving health and wellbeing of our teams”.

Paul Gibbs, Director Water Recycling Anglian Water, said: “Along with many organisations within our supply chain, the scheme illustrates success in effectively measuring, managing and reducing our carbon emissions since 2009 and the cost benefits that have been delivered through energy efficiency, renewables and designing out carbon within our asset investment programme”.

Martin Gisbourne, Managing Director, GPS PE Pipe Systems, said: “As a responsible manufacturing business we felt it was important to sign up to the CEMARS scheme and challenge ourselves to continually reduce our carbon footprint. We have identified and implemented many initiatives over the years that have been successful in achieving this goal, and we are extremely proud to receive this recognition of our performance”.

David Whelan, Technical Director of Blackburn Starling & Company Limited, said: “By modernising our manufacturing processes, making building improvements and introducing environmental employee awareness schemes we were able to exceed our targets and all expectations in reducing our carbon emissions over the past five years. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved as an SME and would encourage more businesses to introduce simple changes to collectively make a huge environmental impact”.

Keith Corcoran, Technical Director at Aughton Automation, said: “Decreasing carbon emissions is currently a world-wide focal point with more and more businesses seeing the importance of their role in how this will be achieved. Aughton Automation is delighted to have played our part in reducing both our organisations’ and in turn our customers’ carbon emissions. It’s an issue that won’t go away and as a team we are constantly looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. To have achieved the CEMARS “Gold Certificate” is something that we’re immensely proud of and we will continue to be advocates for moving this agenda forward”.

David Picton, Chief Sustainability Officer for Carillion, added: “Carillion continues to tackle climate change and emissions reduction, backed up by our sixth successive CEMARS accreditation and our place on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s global A-list. One of only 2 UK Industrial companies that made it to the CDP’s A-List, we are absolutely focused on cutting carbon. Climate change remains rightly high on the global agenda after the historic Paris agreements, and we are committed to transparent, trusted reporting and to working with customers, suppliers and the communities where we work and live as we shape a better tomorrow”.

John Kinirons, SHESQ director at Murphy, said: “Having a gold CEMARS award is a real achievement and proves that we understand how vital having a sustainable business is – that means encouraging low-carbon technologies and reducing emissions. Since 2010, we’ve achieved a 32% reduction in carbon emissions by introducing a greener fleet of vehicles, a driver behaviour programme, hybrid power pods and by improving our on-site plant, lighting and equipment. We have more work to do and our next major target is to reduce emissions further, by 40% by 2020”.

Emma Ward, Group Sustainability Manager for McNicholas, said: “McNicholas were one of the very first adopters of CEMARS, with 2008-2009 being our first year of certified emissions verification. CEMARS offered us a well-structured approach to emissions identification but most importantly, to ongoing management and reduction. As a result of its implementation we were able to open up wider conversations regarding how we can further reduce our impact and how this will benefit the company as a whole. Having reduced our carbon footprint whilst growing our business, we will continue to use CEMARS as a key tool to ensure emissions management is a part of our strategic decision making and innovation programmes”.

Peter Zelenovic, Group SHEQ Manager, Morrison Utility Services, said: “As part of our approach to promoting responsible environmental practice and minimising environmental impact on the communities we work in, we recognise that we have a responsibility not just to manage and minimise the environmental impacts of our day to day operations but also to share good practices and positively influence our clients and supply chain partners towards more sustainable processes and behaviours. Benchmarking our company-wide carbon emissions via CEMARS enables us to monitor, measure and understand our carbon footprint and is pivotal to our carbon emission reduction scheme”.

John Kinirons, SHESQ director at Murphy, said: “Having a gold CEMARS award is a real achievement and proves that we understand how vital having a sustainable business is – that means encouraging low-carbon technologies and reducing emissions. Since 2010, we’ve achieved a 32% reduction in carbon emissions by introducing a greener fleet of vehicles, a driver behaviour programme, hybrid power pods and by improving our on-site plant, lighting and equipment. We have more work to do and our next major target is to reduce emissions further, by 40% by 2020”.

Among the companies which achieved the CEMARS gold certificate are:

  • Anglian Water
  • Aughton Automation Limited
  • Balfour Beatty
  • BAM Group (UK)
  • Black and Veatch Limited
  • Blackburn Starling and Company Limited
  • Carillion UK
  • CCS Group PLC
  • CEB UK
  • Elster Water Metering Limited (Luton)
  • Europcar
  • GPS-PE Pipe Systems (Glynwed Pipe Systems Limited
  • J Murphy & Sons Limited
  • Knowlton and Newman Limited
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • McNicholas Construction Holdings
  • Morgan Sindall
  • Morrison Utility Services Limited
  • MWH UK Limited
  • PJD Group
  • RS Components Limited
  • Saint-Gobain PAM UK Limited
  • Skanska UK PLC
  • South West Water
  • The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body
  • University of Bristol
  • United Utilities, Limited

*As at 30 June 2016, companies participating in CEMARS reduced over 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, an average of 30.8% reduction over their combined base year.

** Using the Enviro-Mark Solutions publicly available travel calculator.

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