Interserve to halve carbon footprint by 2020

22nd March 2013


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  • Pollution & Waste Management

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IEMA

Construction firm Interserve has pledged to cut its absolute emissions by 50%, reduce water use by 20% and introduce closed-loop systems for materials before the end of the decade

The stretching environmental goals form part of the company’s new sustainability plan, which sets 48 targets related to Interserve’s environmental and social impacts.

Under the plan the company commits itself to reusing at least 15% of construction waste by 2014; curbing carbon emissions from business travel and energy use at building sites by 30% by 2016; and increasing the recycled content of materials by 50% by 2018.

The new plan centres on five key sustainability aims – which include having a positive impact on the environment and achieving sustainable growth. The programme will ensure Interserve’s ongoing business strategy incorporates sustainability, confirmed Tim Haywood, the group’s finance director and head of sustainability.

“The plan puts sustainability at the forefront of our decision making. It will define how we work the decision that we take as a business and create a new culture among our employees and management,” he said. “It will be critical to our future success as a business.”

Giving the environmental and social issues same prominence as the financial imperatives is important to embed sustainability into an organisation, according to Haywood.

“A business plan has to be rigorous, measurable, consistent and able to be validated. Previously, for a lot of our non-financial achievements this wasn’t true,” he told the environmentalist.

“With our new sustainability plan we will measure success against four ‘capitals’: natural capital, social capital, knowledge capital and financial capital.

“Each of the four will have the same stature within our organisation, because the data is as valid, is as consistently collected and as well reported as the financial data.”

Alongside specific targets to lower Interserve’s environmental impacts, the plan includes goals to ensure the organisation, and its clients, are resilient to risks such as energy security, access to water and natural resources.

By 2018, for example, Interserve aims to have at least 10 energy security projects underway and have assessed clients’ vulnerability to water scarcity.

By 2020, it aims to have introduced closed-loop systems for resources throughout its value-chain and be working with its largest suppliers to report against its four “capitals”.

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