News & Views

A sustainable revolution

We only have to look at the extreme weather patterns experienced worldwide in the past year, with unprecedented heatwaves and catastrophic rainfall causing devastating fires and flooding across the globe, to realise that tackling carbon is the single biggest challenge we face over the coming decade.

It is something that the UK construction industry has prioritised, and I’m delighted that an increasing number of BMF member companies are achieving Business Champion status under the Construction Leadership Council’s ConstructZero zero carbon change programme.  To date a third of all the companies that have been assessed against the 9 priority areas highlighted in the ConstructZero programme and achieved Business Champion status are BMF members.

Each of these businesses has demonstrated the work they are undertaking to tackle carbon within their operations and committed to sharing their experience with others in the industry to help everyone gain knowledge and learn from their peers.

This is something that businesses of every size must act upon.  The BMF is not only supporting members on their path to net zero, we are also taking proactive steps to reduce our own impact and have signed up to the SME Climate Commitment to halve the greenhouse gasses we produce by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

As a first step we are reviewing the day to day sustainability of our operations, e.g.  lighting, climate control, printers and toner waste, use of plastics and travel / car use and have already identified simple and relatively low cost ways to reduce our carbon output and create a healthier working environment. We are also speaking to our suppliers and utilities companies to confirm their commitment to zero carbon.

Assessing our carbon impact now, at the outset of our journey, will enable us to accurately measure our progress, which is exactly how the CLC ConstructZero programme’s measurement framework will help the whole industry achieve a common goal.

Earlier this year we introduced a new Sustainability Forum, chaired by Giles Bradford of Bradfords Building Supplies.  The Forum, which next meets on 27 November, brings together merchants and supplier members for regular briefings, discussions and to share progress and best practice.

This is the beginning of a long journey, but it is one that, collectively, we cannot afford to ignore.

Credit: Abridged version of an article published in Builders Merchants News July/August 2021
Guest Blog provided by John Newcomb, Chief Executive, Builders Merchants Federation

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