BAM UK & Ireland businesses have set an ambitious carbon target to become net zero in their direct operations by 2026, ruling out counting electricity from green energy tariffs towards its net zero emissions.
BAM UK & Ireland net-zero commitment
BAM UK & Ireland’s net-zero commitment encompasses not just direct scope 1 and scope 2 emissions (associated with fuels and energy use) but also select scope 3 emissions, going further than most net zero carbon targets in the sector.
BAM’s scope 3 emissions include water consumption, staff transport (across road, rail and air), emissions arising from using hotels, emissions from third-party fuel and energy use and all well-to-tank (upstream) emissions associated with scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. The company says it has significant influence over all these emissions sources.
BAM becomes the only company in the sector at present not to count its purchase of renewable (REGO-backed) electricity towards zero emissions.
Any remaining emissions from 2026 will be offset using high-quality nature-based solutions such as reforestation or carbon capture technologies.
Whole industry needs to challenge
John Wilkinson, Chief Operating Officer of BAM UK & Ireland, said: “Net zero carbon is the objective we are all seeking because the construction sector still accounts for 39% of all global emissions. We have a serious job on our hands to get that down and to do so fast.
“That’s why we have chosen to accelerate our progress – and we are not fooled that we will be alone. The whole industry needs to challenge itself, work together, and assist its clients and supply chain to make faster progress too.
“There is no room for or advantage in disguising or hiding performance. Vague data is useless, so science-based, transparent information and a healthy dose of honesty are part of the medicine.
“The other red herring is offsetting. We cannot rely on planting trees elsewhere in the world to cover up our own emissions. Although these have a role to play in the short term, we must drive these down ourselves and face up to our responsibilities.
“I believe BAM is now firmly at the forefront of our industry, but it is the sort of arms race we need to collectively bring about change and decarbonise our environment.”
There is also another crucial difference to most other net zero commitments concerning the scope 2 emissions arising from electricity use.
Emissions reduction to date
BAM’s Carbon Reduction Lead, Sarah Jolliffe, added: “We are on a journey here – we have already reduced our emissions intensity by 20% this year compared to the same period last year, mitigating the release of 7 kilotons of carbon.
“We have worked with the Carbon Trust on measuring scope 3 emissions, and our FM business has helped pioneer scope-3 measurement in the facilities management sector working with the SFMI (The Sustainable FM Index). These kinds of collaborations are crucial as we explore more ways to work with our supply chain and clients to decarbonise the built environment.
“The data baseline this has created, and our investment in data collection and analysis is a key enabler in confidently setting this new demanding 2026 target.”
BAM’s track record on emissions includes reducing its direct emissions intensity by just over 40% since 2015. Its science-based target requires a 50% reduction by 2030, but it expects to meet this seven years early. The CDP has ranked BAM as an ‘A’ list company for the past five years.
BAM UK & Ireland emissions reductions
Some examples of BAM’s work to remove and reduce the impact of carbon include:
- Using HVO fuels to replace fossil fuels
- Transition to electric vehicles – BAM has also rolled out an EV charging installation service
- Using lower-carbon concrete as BAM has done for the Dawlish Sea Wall
- Conducting first-of-their-kind independent embodied carbon studies in primary schools and offices, including the new HQ for Meta
- Creating several net-zero projects such as Kings Cross Sports Hall.
- Delivering the National Children’s Hospital in Dublin with a 60-70% lower operational energy use.
About BAM UK and Ireland
BAM UK and Ireland is a division of Royal BAM Group. It delivers services across the built environment sector, including civil engineering, construction, facilities management, and engineering. It has a range of specialist services, including geotechnical, property development and energy consultancy businesses.
BAM’s Irish division placed at No 3 in the Irish Construction News Top contractors in Ireland in 2021.