Whilst the pandemic has dominated the news and much of the day-to-day aspects of running a business, the last 18 months have also seen numerous organisations making significant strides along their path towards greater sustainability. PBM hears from Ibstock plc, which has recently been named as one of the Construction Leadership Council’s CO2nstructZero Business Champions.
Strengthening its status as “one the most sustainable manufacturers of building products in the UK”, Ibstock plc has been selected by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) as part of its CO2nstructZero campaign. Launched earlier this year, the initiative enables companies to be role models in the “industry change programme” and being named as a CO2nstructZero Business Champion recognises the commitment the business has made to “reduce carbon emissions in the delivery and operation of the built environment”.
Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion and Chair of the CO2nstructZero Advisory Board, said at the time of the scheme’s launch: “This is a hugely significant moment for the UK’s construction industry. As we look towards COP26 later this year, the whole sector must work together to drive real change. From global UK companies to the smallest local businesses, our Business Champions represent the best of the sector and will play a key role in helping to drive transformational change in how we deliver the built environment.
“We cannot deliver our ambitious national Net Zero Carbon ambitions without changing how we build — and our business champions will set a fantastic example for others to follow.”
Construction Leadership Council Co-Chair Andy Mitchell commented: “We all know that tackling carbon will be the single biggest challenge our sector faces over the coming decade. To advance as an industry, we need to learn from those who are leading the way. I am delighted that we have such strong Champions coming on board, providing guidance for companies across UK construction on how they can drive out carbon.”
Investment in decarbonisation measures and production efficiencies at its facilities, thus accelerating its journey to Net Zero carbon emissions, was a key factor in Ibstock’s inclusion in the scheme. Recent examples of this include the construction of a 4.9MW solar farm at its Leicestershire headquarters, procuring 100% of its electricity from renewable sources and confirming investment in a pathfinder project to achieve what the business believes will become the world’s first Net Zero brick factory in the West Midlands — reducing process carbon emissions by circa 50% with the remainder offset for scope 1 and 2 emissions.
The news comes shortly after Ibstock launched its latest Sustainability Report for 2020. Described as its most in-depth to date, the report outlines the decarbonisation initiatives the Group is making across its clay and concrete businesses to reduce the carbon intensity of the manufacturing process as well as providing an open and transparent overview of the progress it is making against is Sustainability Roadmap 2025 targets.
New and sustainable products have already been introduced, with others in development. By 2025 these should account for 20% of sales turnover. Further targets within the Roadmap include zero waste to landfill, 40% reduction in preventable plastic packaging, 5% reduction in mains water usage per tonne of production and 100% of suppliers meeting its Supplier Sustainability Code of Business Conduct.
“We have seen a transformational shift in attitudes from all of our key stakeholders, and there is a sea-change in how our customers, and, in turn, their customers, view environmental issues.”
Joe Hudson, Ibstock plc’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are honoured to be named as a CO2nstructZero Business Champion. There is no doubt that climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face globally. It is part of our DNA to steward our resources and ensure we have a sustainable and positive impact on the world around us.
“As a leading building products manufacturer, we recognise that we have to adapt and respond — and this is reflected in the targets we have set ourselves in our Sustainability Roadmap to 2025.
“We have seen a transformational shift in attitudes from all of our key stakeholders, and there is a sea-change in how our customers, and, in turn, their customers, view environmental issues. Collaboration is a linchpin of achieving carbon reduction targets across the construction sector and we look forward to working alongside the CLC to share best practice, supporting the industry’s move to Net Zero.”
With demand for white and grey softmud bricks with handcreased textures higher than ever before, Ibstock Brick is ensuring merchants can meet this growing trend with the launch of its new Albus, Niveus and Tenebris range.
This style of brick has been growing in popularity, particularly with architects and specifiers over the past few years, but options have been limited primarily to products imported from mainland Europe. The new bricks can now offer the market the aesthetic appeal of continental products, produced locally in the heart of the UK at its Leicester site.
Their distinct texture lends genuine kerb appeal to any property they are used within, making them a suitable choice for a range of high-end developments. The three bricks can be used across Ibstock’s range of components and systems including MechSlip, Nexus and precast units. They are also available as brick slips for both external and internal use, providing a wide range of design options.
Jeremy Simons, Product Manager, said: “New product development is at the heart of our growth plans and we are committed to the continuous enhancement of our product portfolio to strengthen our market leading position. These three new bricks are further evidence of this commitment and are part of an extensive programme of new product development we are currently working on.”
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