Sustainability is at the core of our business model. Most of our products are sustainable and are designed to combat environmental challenges facing the built environment. We have a sustainability framework and roadmap that covers our supply chain, businesses, energy, and our conduct. Our sustainability approach allows us to plan for the future, to set targets and metrics as part of our journey to net zero. We have also developed key metrics to help us monitor our ESG journey. Our strategy has three pillars:
- Our Products
- Our Planet
- Our People
We manufacture our products using materials which achieve the desired balance of environmental and operational performance, cost effectiveness, durability, aesthetics and weight.
Our principal materials are metals (primarily aluminium, steel and iron), polymers (polypropylene and PVC) and roofing membranes and insulation.
Using recycled materials is energy and resource efficient. We work with our supply partners to maximise the recycled content of our raw materials, and invest in equipment to allow our manufacturing processes to efficiently use recycled material. The longevity of our products means that products need replacing or repairing less frequently, further reducing the energy needed over a building’s lifespan. The majority of our products are also fully recyclable at the end of their useful lives, contributing to responsible consumption patterns.
Metals tend to be energy intensive to extract and process, but their durability and almost infinite recyclability helps to offset this. Using recycled metals significantly reduces their carbon footprint – in the case of aluminium, recycled material takes up to 95% less energy to produce than primary aluminium. We therefore seek to maximise the proportion of recycled content in our products – as an example, 80% of our aluminium is derived from recycled sources. We use metals in demanding applications where their durability means lower ongoing maintenance and a significantly longer lifespan than competing/ alternative products.
Plastics products are cheaper and less energy intensive than alternative materials such as metals, although they are less durable, subject to environmental degradation, are derived from limited petrochemical resources, and many can only be recycled a number of times before performance deteriorates. Using recycled materials is resource-efficient; 80% of the polymers we use are recycled rather
than virgin material. We use plastic where cost efficiency is paramount, and in applications where the products will typically last as long as the building they are attached to.
Roofing membranes and insulation
The membranes and insulation materials supplied by our Building Envelope division help to protect buildings under some of the industry’s leading warranties while contributing significantly to their energy efficiency. We work with our suppliers to maximise the recycled content and lifespan of our products and systems.
Cold-applied and self-adhesive installation methods reduce health and safety risks and the energy consumed during installation. We also supply olivine mineral membranes which absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and helps to offset a building’s greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside blue roof and green roofing technologies we strive to improve construction performance whilst considering the wellbeing of the people who inhabit and use these buildings. Increasingly we provide non-combustible materials which are being demanded by our client base to improve building safety.
Alumasc appointed Compare Your Footprint/Green Element, a leading carbon and energy management company, to independently assess its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in accordance with the UK Government’s ‘Environmental reporting guidelines: including Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting requirements’.
The assessment has used the 2022 emission conversion factors published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as well as supplier-specific embodied carbon of sold products complemented by average construction materials carbon intensities from the Compare Your Footprint database. The assessment follows the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting methodology specification for dual reporting for Scope 2 – this involves reporting both the location-based and market-based emissions from electricity usage.
GHG emissions and net zero
The table on page 35 summarises the GHG emissions for the reporting year 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023. The figures cover our direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2) and those associated with our business travel (partial Scope 3), and are expressed both in absolute terms and per £ million of revenue, which is the most appropriate method to capture levels of business activity. Capturing full Scope 3 emissions, covering our entire value chain, is more challenging, and there is currently no regulatory requirement to publish these. We have however been working with Green Element to identify and quantify them, to aid our decision making processes and determine our journey to net zero, and will publish them in due course.
We have continued to focus on reducing our GHG emission intensity, and our location-based emissions (which recognise that 100% of our electricity is derived from renewable sources) have reduced by 57% in absolute terms, and 69% in intensity, since 2018. This has resulted from investments in more efficient plant and machinery, the installation of solar PV systems, rationalisation of our sites, a reduction in business travel and the gradual electrification of our vehicle fleet.
We have developed near-term targets, which aim to reduce our current level of GHG emissions by a further 42% by 2030, consistent with the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) targets for limiting global warming to below 1.5C. This will be achieved by further investment in low-carbon plant and machinery and the full conversion of our vehicle fleet (including forklift trucks) to electric, hydrogen or other low-carbon power.
In the coming year we will seek to verify these with the SBTi, while developing plans and targets to achieve company-level net zero by 2050 or earlier.
We are also in the process of preparing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for the Group’s product range. These reports detail a product’s lifetime environmental impact, including its carbon footprint, ecotoxicity and contribution to ozone depletion, and allow customers to compare different suppliers and materials.
Waste and packaging
Scrap and waste
Our manufacturing operations produce very little raw material waste, as it is typically collected, reprocessed and reused in our production processes. Timloc, our most intensive user of plastics, is a signatory to Operation Clean Sweep®, an industry-led programme to prevent plastic particulates from reaching the environment.
Substantially all of our waste streams are now diverted from landfill.
The majority of waste we produce is in the form of packaging. We are a member of Valpak for compliance reporting and comply with our obligations under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) regulations.
We have targeted a reduction in single-use plastics and an increase in the proportion of recycled packaging we use. Our Housebuilding Products division and Wade and Rainclear, within the Water Management division, now exclusively use packaging made from 100% recycled paper for shipping, which is itself 100% recyclable.
We continue to implement measures to reduce the quantity of packaging used and to improve its recyclability.
Health & Safety
Alumasc has a clear primary focus to ensure the Health & Safety of our employees, and this is always the first item at our plc Board and subsidiary meetings. Our CEO is responsible for Health & Safety. All significant incidents are discussed weekly and are reviewed. This ensures that Health & Safety policy implementation and near-miss reporting is discussed. We have a target of zero harm and as part of our targets we report on lost days and the learning from any incident. We recognise the importance of understanding and continually strive to improve our Health & Safety culture. Health & Safety training programmes are delivered to our staff to build on our compliance with industry best practice and to ensure that focus is on continuous improvement.
The culture is to ensure that all employees understand the importance and take shared ownership to enhance our Health & Safety performance. Engaged and informed employees help us improve our Health & Safety and environmental performance.
Targeted role-related training includes, e-learning to promote employee awareness of their responsibilities, hazards associated with operations and safe ways of working. We operate a formal method of reporting and recording near-misses, hazards, and lost days. Near-miss reporting is encouraged across the business at all levels, and has remained at a high level. Reporting assists with continual improvements and provides information to management on how to improve processes and to ensure safe ways of working. The number of days lost due to accidents during the year was 65 (FY2021/22: 89 days).
Our main Health & Safety KPI, the performance rate index (a relative measure capturing the total amount of lost time and other safety incidents, relating the result to the overall number of hours worked). This is used to measure improvements in our Health & Safety performance. The cumulative PRI score in 2023 was 3.79 compared to 5.03 in 2021/22.
Our sites and operations have Health & Safety Committees. We are audited by specialist external Health & Safety consultants and the results of these audits are provided to the plc Board. Any resulting actions are also discussed at the Board and at management meetings.
There has been an overall trend of Health & Safety improvements, due to the focus on our zero-harm target and to continuous improvement by employees and management. The risks encountered arise due to working with machinery, materials handling, operating forklift trucks, and car and lorry use. The business carries out robust Health & Safety risk assessments and oversight ensures that recommendations are implemented.
We have continued to support hybrid and flexible working where appropriate. This has helped employees with flexibility and improves their work-life balance. We have an app to provide help and assistance with wellbeing – Help-at-hand. This app is available to all employees to download and join, it provides a 24/7 GP service, physiotherapy, counselling, and nutrition advice. The Alumasc benefits hub; also provides discount vouchers for a range of services and goods, it is an app that can be downloaded by all staff. We also offered a Mental Health first aider course, that helps to identify and know what to say when people face anxiety, stress or other mental health challenges.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Alumasc is an equal opportunities employer. We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace, encouraging and welcoming diversity, with zero tolerance of harassment or discrimination. Our culture is friendly and welcoming to all. We provide many training opportunities to encourage learning and development for all staff. We are proud to support staff having training and undertaking studies for qualifications to progress their careers.
Recruitment, training and development is regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Employees with disabilities are given equality of opportunity with respect to entering and continuing employment with Alumasc. We have examples in the year where adaptions of the workplace or working environment have facilitated opportunities for disabled staff. The Group aims to provide training opportunities that are identical, as far as possible, for disabled and non-disabled employees. Should employees become disabled after joining the Company, every effort is made to ensure that their employment continues, and appropriate training is given. A formal Equality and Diversity Policy has been approved by the Board and applies to all our businesses.
Alumasc recognises the benefit of having the widest range of experience, knowledge, and skills. Management undertakes reviews of staff performance and recognises their achievements. Career progression is extremely important to us for succession planning. Promotions are usually announced at the end of the financial year.
Code of conduct
Our Governance is built on the expected ethical standards and behaviours of our employees as outlined in our Code of Conduct. We expect employees to have a high degree of integrity and to be honest, responsible, and trustworthy in what they say and do. Upon joining, all employees are provided with the Employee Handbook that incorporates our Code of Conduct. We remind staff of this requirement through training and briefings.
Anti-modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
Our Anti-modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy and an annual statements for the Group on anti-modern slavery is published on the UK government site and our website www.alumasc.co.uk in line with Home Office guidance, along with our previous disclosures. Our Statement for this year will be published in compliance with government requirements before the deadline.
Alumasc expects its suppliers and those in the supply chain to confirm that they have the same or very similar policies in place for anti-modern slavery.
Anti-bribery and corruption
Alumasc has a zero-tolerance approach towards bribery and corruption. Our Anti-bribery Policy gives straightforward and clear advice on the ethical standards and the compliance required. We have long-term relationships with our suppliers that are built on trust and reliability. During the year, Alumasc refreshed its Anti-Fraud Policy and this was reviewed and approved by the Board. A report this year was made on our Anti-bribery programme to the Audit Committee, please see page 75 for further information.
Our Boards and divisions recognise the substantial commitment required within the construction industry, as well as our own responsibility as a manufacturer, to produce an expanded range of climate-resilient building products. Alumasc has evolved to become a leading provider of water management and sustainable building products.
Please see pages 46-51 of our 2023 Annual Report.