In continuing to lead the march on climate change, June 2019 saw the UK government set out new legislation designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050. The target is the first set by any major economy in the world and a significant progression on the original one proposed in the 2008 Climate Change Act – a reduction of 80 per cent.
For the UK construction industry this means there will be an increased pressure to reduce, if not eradicate altogether, environmental impact – a task which, according to Aggregate Industries, should be embraced as a positive stimulus for greater change.
Guy Edwards, Chief Executive Officer at Aggregate Industries UK, said: “With the government committing to producing ‘net zero’ greenhouse gases by 2050, the construction industry’s role in safeguarding the future of our planet has never been more prevalent. In short, it means that, along with other sectors, emissions will have to be avoided completely or offset by planting trees or removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
“Yes, it is a huge task but the sector has been working hard in recent years to address these issues - we believe that having more stringent local targets in place will only work to drive the industry to cut emissions further and faster.”
As a forerunner in its commitment to the sustainability plight, Aggregate Industries continues to apply an increasingly eco-friendly approach to all business areas; from introducing new product innovations and ensuring responsible sourcing through to its continued biodiversity efforts, alternative energy sources and smart logistics.
Testament to this, Aggregate Industries was the first company to be certified to BES 6001, The Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products, developed by the BRE, and the first construction materials supplier to achieve the BSI PAS 2080 verification for its commitment to supply low carbon solutions to infrastructure projects.
Moreover, the business currently purchases the entirety of its electrical grid demand from 100 percent renewable sources; largely from wind, and endeavours – like much of the industry – to use alternative fuels in various production processes.
On an overarching level this is supported with an on-going progression towards a regenerative circular economy framework designed to ensure material longevity, which saw 800,000 tonnes of recycled asphalt pavement alone reused last year; along with a sustainable logistics approach, which helped reduce lorry movements by 381,500 journeys last year through greater use of ships and rail.
Alongside this, Aggregate Industries continues to offer a wide choice of sustainable products and services designed to help customers avoid CO2 emissions released from buildings and infrastructure over the whole life-cycle of a project.
Guy adds: “There is no question about it; the construction industry must become more radical and holistic in its approach to sustainability. In this way, we must deliver the infrastructure overhaul we need to establish real change; from optimising energy efficiencies, embracing new power sources and adopting sustainable supply chains, helping to achieve nearly zero energy buildings (NZEBs) and in turn work towards realising the government’s new pledge.
“While the magnitude of the task facing us in achieving ‘net zero’ is clear, we’re confident that a forward-thinking, progressive industry like ours will take up the mantel and lead the way in demonstrating the lengths we can go to reduce our environmental impact, which will positively impact us all.”