Turning risks into carbon opportunities
For the second year running BAM has been ranked in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index in the Benelux region, topping our sector (industrials) and second only to Philips. We improved our disclosure score from 93 to 96 points and retained our performance ranking of B. Although there is still some work to do as we aim to reduce our direct emissions further year on year, this is great progress.
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a key part of the Royal BAM Group strategy since 2008. As well as a benchmark for companies reducing their carbon emissions, it helps identify opportunities posed by climate change.
We hear a lot about the risks and impacts of climate change, and the recent polar vortex is a perfect example of the severe weather caused by it. And new studies (like this one from Nature last year) are demonstrating the kinds of temperature rises we can expect from inevitable changes to our climate.
But there are also significant opportunities in responding to these challenges. For those working in the built environment, moving to a lower carbon economy presents massive opportunities.
At BAM, in 2012 we generated 1.3 billion EUR of our turnover from projects that have been registered with third-party green building or sustainable construction certifications, like BREEAM and LEED, and we expect this number to increase in the future.
In addition to reducing our own emissions, we’re working with forward thinking clients to deliver low and zero carbon buildings, like One Angel Square in Manchester for The Co-operative Group and the first zero carbon passivhaus primary school in the UK. In the Netherlands we’ve developed and delivered our own concepts for low and zero carbon housing, and we’re working with clients to develop innovative refurbishment programmes to improve the quality and sustainability of existing buildings (see our video). We’ve also developed energy efficient asphalt, LEAB, providing the same qualities but with 40% less energy and 25%-40% less CO2.
Adapting to inevitable climate changes means increased investment in infrastructure. We’ve identified around 3 billion EUR of new opportunities by 2020 for our business. We’re already developing new products to meet these demands, such as X-Bloc breakwaters which are being used on the Gorgon project in Australia, SouterRain system to collect rainwater underneath roads, and boxbarriers to use as temporary dykes.
We’ve also developed products for the growing offshore wind market, with the design, manufacture and installation of reinforced concrete gravity base foundations (GBFs) for offshore wind farms.
For us the next challenge is to scale up our work with our supply chain to address wider, indirect impacts associated with buildings and infrastructure over their life. That’s a big challenge but one that’s sure to be filled with all kinds of opportunities too.
Jesse Putzel is a Senior Sustainability Manager at BAM.
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