Fit for the future: Ibstock discusses sustainability

Fit for the future: Ibstock discusses sustainability

With a focus on the new build market, Michael McGowan, Group Sustainability Manager at Ibstock, explains how the business is working to deliver a more sustainable future.

Across the UK the built environment is responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UK Green Building Council. Whilst there are many initiatives and frameworks to reduce emissions from buildings during their lifetime it is clear that more can, and should, be done. Significant action is already being taken to achieve this as the sector responds to the challenge, but there is no time to waste.

Many of our European counterparts, such as France and the Netherlands, have already established mandatory whole-life carbon assessments for buildings. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) recently warned that the lack of impetus or policy levers to assess and reduce emissions from the construction of residential and commercial buildings could leave the UK lagging behind.

Homes for the future

Legislation in one of the key influencing factors for designing and constructing homes that are more sustainable. Under changes to Building Regulations in June, CO2 emissions from new build homes in England need to be around 30% lower than previous standards to help the country move towards net zero. Such changes have been viewed as an important step towards a cleaner, greener built environment, paving the way for the Future Homes and Buildings Standard in 2025.

Housebuilders are responding to these changes, using modern methods of construction and more sustainably manufactured traditional building products. And with the growing movement in data transparency, this will enable the sector to demonstrate the difference it is making.

Examples of homes that are fit for the future are already springing up across the country three years ahead of schedule as developers get to grips with how to deliver homes that meet new regulations. For example, Midland Heart Group has delivered 12 homes in Birmingham that meet the Future Homes Standard as part of Project 80, whilst Barratt Developments has launched its flagship zero carbon concept home, the Z House in Salford.

At a time when there is a real and tangible demand for transparency, our ESG Strategy to 2030 defines a new era of responsible business and manufacturing. The focus of this is on Addressing Climate Change; Improving lives; and, possibly the most important for our housebuilder customers, Manufacturing Materials for life.

With the increasing focus on the whole life impact of materials we’ve taken active steps to evolve our core range so we can deliver more sustainable building products. We’re exploring new methods of manufacturing, reducing virgin materials and utilising secondary aggregates, eliminating plastics and seeking lower carbon alternatives to reduce the embodied carbon and weight of our products.

For example, by introducing SustainaCem into our concrete roof tiles we can offer a product which has equal strength and durability with a 15% lower carbon cement.

With a focus on the new build market, Ibstock's Michael McGowan explains how the business is working to deliver a more sustainable future.

Longer term goals

With 11% of global carbon emissions attributed to construction products and processes, our responsibilities are clear. To fully decarbonise the sector requires eliminating both embodied carbon emissions and operational emissions. Accordingly, with our original target to of 15% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of production achieved ahead of time, we have set a new objective of a 40% reduction in absolute scope 1 and 2 carbon by 2030 and will be a Net Zero business by 2040.

Working towards our long-term goal of decarbonising our operations, we’ve invested more than £115m in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. For example, Our West Midlands-based Atlas factory will be a pathfinder project to test and pilot operational efficiencies which we believe will lead it to become the world’s only scope 1 & 2 Net Zero brick factory, whilst the Nostell site in Yorkshire will incorporate the latest manufacturing technology to significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Fostering collaboration

Sustainability cannot be achieved in isolation and collaboration is a linchpin of success. As such, we have found it imperative to work closely with stakeholders, suppliers and customers on common challenges and priorities.

In doing so it has provided a platform for us to co-create solutions and catalyse leading-edge innovation not only within production processes but also in the development of future building products. This way of working benefits both us and our partners and ultimately adds value to our customers.

Being members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School highlights the importance we place on having a common approach to addressing sustainability throughout the value chain. Not only does it allow us to keep track of continuous improvement, but it shows our customers that we are on a sustainability journey with them.

There is no doubt sustainability and climate challenges will remain for many years to come. Yet we have our eyes firmly set on the future and see it as an opportunity to think differently. By working with our customers, we’re focused on helping them deliver homes that are fit for today, and tomorrow.

Click the link for more information on Ibstock’s range of products and support services.

Ibstock plc has raised £170,000 over the last three years to support its charity partner Shelter. As the supplier’s first ever corporate charity partnership, the relationship reflects its desire to help overcome injustices within the housing market as part of its ESG Strategy 2030, which outlines a commitment to support and strengthen communities.

The original two-year partnership, formed in 2019, was extended for an additional year due to the pandemic and earlier this year, the fundraising commitment was extended even further with a unique incentive that offered businesses and individuals the opportunity to purchase a limited edition, personalised engraved brick.

Each brick will be used as part of the construction of Ibstock’s new kiln at the “world’s first ever Net Zero carbon brick factory” at its Atlas site in the West Midlands, and the initiative has already raised over £18,000 so far.

Ibstock plc has raised £170,000 over the last three years to support its charity partner Shelter.

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