Climate change and its related effects have been described as the biggest challenge facing mankind. Our business uses sustainable materials to address this through energy efficient buildings, urban water drainage, and urban biodiversity and access to green spaces.
Our raw materials are chosen for their blend of performance characteristics, low lifetime environmental impact and ease of recycling. The principal materials we use are aluminium, iron and steel in our Building Envelope and Water Management divisions and polyethylene and polypropylene in our Building Materials division. These materials are all supported by a circular economy where our products are readily recycled at the end of their life. We are committed to using recycled materials in our manufacturing process, where possible, conserving resources and reducing the energy cost of its production by our suppliers. By value, approximately 30% of our products are manufactured using recycled materials and over 75% of the material used in our products is fully recyclable at end-of-life.
The demand for energy efficient buildings is increasing, underpinned by more rigorous building standards and global and national climate change commitments. Our products help our customers meet these standards, by supplying efficient insulation and ventilation products, and solar shading to control building temperatures and reduce air conditioning and heating use. We supply many products to site pre-manufactured, reducing our customers’ health and safety risks and energy costs. Our Olivine roofs even help to reduce atmospheric carbon by mineralising CO2 held in rainwater.
Extreme weather events, including severe rainfall and periods of drought, are becoming increasingly common. Our products help to mitigate this, forming part of sustainable urban drainage systems, managing the passage of water from rain to drain. Our drainage products and our green and blue roofs also attenuate stormwater and reduce flooding risks.
Green spaces in the urban environment are important, not only for preserving fauna and flora that would otherwise be excluded, but for the wellbeing of residents. There is increasing recognition of the benefits to mental and physical health of access to green spaces and a sense of connection to the natural world. Our roofing and balcony products provide green spaces and areas of amenity for urban building. Our drainage products assist with the efficient diversion of rainfall for urban irrigation.
We are committed to reducing the impact of our operations on the environment. We have continued our work with Carbon Footprint Limited to monitor and report our GHG emissions and to identify opportunities to reduce them. We encourage our businesses to improve energy efficiency and monitor progress at monthly Board meetings.
Our most significant emissions come from our owned vehicle fleet (Scope 1) and the consumption of electricity and gas in our manufacturing operations (Scopes 1 and 2). We aim to reduce vehicle fleet emissions through our travel policy, which encourages the use of video conferencing in preference to physical meetings and our company vehicle policy encourages the selection of electric vehicles where appropriate. We are continually making efforts to improve operational efficiency through our capital investment programmes and by implementing recommendations from the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme. All but three of our businesses have ISO 14001:2015 accredited environmental management systems, with plans to certify the remainder over the next financial year. Our internal programme to maintain these includes environmental audits certified by external consultants. The improvement measures identified by these audits are communicated to management and employees.
We plan to set targets to reduce our carbon intensity (greenhouse gas emissions relative to our turnover) every two years. Our current target is a 10% reduction by 2022 relative to our 2020 emission intensity.
We recognise however that a proper appreciation of our environmental impact requires consideration of our entire value chain, and wish to take positive action towards the Government’s target of net zero carbon by 2050. Accordingly in 2021 we will look to develop a science-based target for the Group to support the implementation of a low-carbon economy.
We also seek to reduce our electricity and gas from renewable energy sources, and in the year achieved our target of deriving 100% of total consumption from renewable sources.
Alumasc appointed Carbon Footprint Ltd 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 2020 emission conversion factors published by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The assessment follows the GHG Protocol methodology by reporting both the location-based and market-based emissions from electricity usage and electricity transmission and distribution.
The table on page 33 summarises the GHG emissions for reporting year: 1 July 2020 to 30th June 2021. As a business we have been assessing our carbon emissions using the Carbon Footprint Sustrax II since 2017. This year we have assessed both our location-based and market-based emissions to account for the change to a 100% renewable energy tariff. The location-based emissions for the baseline year, last year and current year assessment results are shown in the table on page 33 of the 2021 Annual Report & Accounts for comparison.
Alumasc has implemented several energy and carbon savings measures during the 2020/21 assessment period. These include:
- Switching the Timloc site to a 100% renewable electricity tariff. This is the site which consumes the greatest amount of electricity, so market-based emissions show a considerable reduction in emissions for electricity use.
- Transition of all other Alumasc Water Management sites onto 100% renewable electricity.
- Continued reduction of unnecessary travel and utilisation of remote meetings as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
During 2019 we also completed a detailed Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) energy audit of our energy use, and we are now in the process of implementing a number of the recommendations provided.
Wade also reduced its electricity consumption in the period by 35%, through an investment in a new-technology fibre laser, and by replacing two old CO2 lasers. It also moved its slot drain production from two separate buildings into an existing building in Halstead.
We look to reduce waste, packaging and single use plastics and to use recycled packaging where possible. We are a member of Valpak for compliance reporting and comply with our commitments under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) regulations.
Our manufacturing operations produce very little raw material waste, as the majority is re-processed and re-used. Investments in the paint line at our Burton Latimer site reduced this further. During the year, our Building Products business, Timloc, signed up to Operation Clean Sweep®, an industry-led programme to prevent plastic particulates from reaching the environment.
The majority of waste we produce is in the form of packaging. We have successfully targeted both an increase in the proportion of recycled packaging we produce, and a reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill. During the year we have diverted substantially all of our waste streams away from landfill. Over the coming year we will look to introduce metrics to monitor the quality of packaging we use and its recyclability.
Health & Safety is Alumasc’s primary focus, and this is reflected in how we operate our business in a highly regulated environment. The Board member responsible for Health & Safety is our CEO, who is responsible for our Health & Safety Policy statement. Group policy on Health & Safety requires that it is the first agenda item for Group and operating subsidiary board meetings, where the Health & Safety policy implementation, near miss reporting and learning from incidents are discussed. Our target is for zero harm. This has informed our Health & Safety programme and has helped us develop our compliance with industry best practice and focus on continuous improvement.
We promote manager and worker awareness of their responsibilities, the hazards and risks associated with operations and safe ways of working, through targeted training including e-learning programmes, workshops for supervisors, best practice sharing, hazard alerts, toolbox talks, Gemba walks and safety/compliance checklists.
Operating businesses and sites have Health & Safety Committees. External consultants conduct regular Health & Safety audits. Action plans from Health & Safety audits are monitored by management and progress reviewed at Board meetings.
Near miss reporting has remained at the same high level of the prior year. In addition, the number of days lost in the workplace relating to accidents was 83 compared to 39 in the prior year. The number of incidents, where days were lost in the workplace, decreased to five compared to seven in the prior year. The cumulative PRI score was 4.94 compared to 2.82 in 2019/20.
Our principal Health & Safety KPI, the performance rate index (a relative measure capturing the total number of lost time and other safety incidents, relating the result to the overall number of hours worked).
Alumasc’s Health & Safety performance was good over the last year, and there is a longer-term trend of overall improvement, due to focus on a zero harm outcome and continuous improvement by both management and employees. Our risks arise from working with machinery, materials, handling, operating lift trucks and car and lorry travel. Health & Safety initiatives include robust risk assessments and we work continuously to ensure that improvements are implemented.
Employees are kept informed of divisional and Group matters, through briefing sessions and presentations. We are always looking at ways to engage with our employees to improve communications. During Covid-19 the business kept in touch with staff and ensured that people who live on their own were safe and well. Alumasc values the views of its employees and consults with them about matters that affect them and the business some sites issue quarterly internal newsletters with company updates, community/charitable events and employee related news.
A confidential employee assistance helpline is available free to all staff. We publicise the telephone number on our notice boards and make staff aware of this service. The helpline has been obtained from a supplier that operates 24/7. Counselling and wellbeing services can be accessed via an app.
We also recognise the need to train and develop our employees. Our annual appraisal process informs our employee training programme and we seek to support our employees as they develop the skills required to progress in the business.
We recognise the importance of engaging constructively with the communities in which we live and work. The Group’s devolved operating model encourages our businesses and their employees to support their local community organisations and charities, for the benefit of both.
Our approach to governance is embedded in our Code of Conduct, which sets out the ethical standards and expected behaviours from all employees. The Code requires employees to act honestly and be responsible and trustworthy, and forms part of the handbook given to all employees as part of their induction process.
These are supported by Group policies on diversity and equal opportunities, anti-modern slavery and human trafficking, anti-bribery, tax and other laws and regulations; online training programmes are offered to all relevant employees.
Alumasc is an equal opportunities employer and its policies for recruitment, training, career development and promotion are based on the aptitude and abilities of the individual regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Employees with disabilities are afforded equality of opportunity in respect of entering and continuing employment with us. 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 employment continues, and appropriate training is given. A formal Equality and Diversity Policy has been approved by the Group Board and applies to all our businesses.
We are committed to promoting diversity and equal opportunities from recruitment, employment and career progression to learning and development. We recognise the benefit of calling on the widest range of experience, knowledge and skills. Management review staff performance and career progression is important to us. Promotions are announced after the end of the financial year. We are proud to support staff with training and in qualifications, as appropriate and we will look to take appropriate action to address it.
Alumasc treats people fairly and we are honest and straightforward in all our business relationships. We have established long-term relationships built on trust and reliability.
Following the enactment of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, Alumasc introduced a Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy. The Alumasc Group plc has a zero tolerance approach to modern slavery and is committed to act ethically and comply with all laws and regulations. The Group Modern Slavery Statement is published on our website: www.alumasc.co.uk in line with Home Office guidance. Alumasc works with its supply chain to ensure that there is a zero tolerance to modern slavery. The 2020 statement will be published on our website in compliance with the requirements before the deadline.
During the year Alumasc enhanced its Policy by adding the ILO’s signs for forced labour and we have a training programme to ensure that this is brought to the attention of all employees.
Alumasc expects its suppliers and those in the supply chain, where possible, to confirm that they have the same or similar policies. The latest Modern Slavery Statement and previous disclosures are available on our website.
Alumasc has a zero-tolerance approach towards bribery and corruption. The Group’s Anti-Bribery Policy gives clear guidance on the ethical standards and compliance required. Training is provided to employees either via an online training module and/or by face-to-face training. We encourage all employees to be vigilant and to report any suspicions to their line manager or in accordance with the Group’s Whistleblowing Policy.
Alumasc seeks to create long-term sustainable value while complying with both the letter and the spirit of its Code of Conduct. This means complying with, or exceeding, the requirements of all applicable laws and regulations. In line with the Group’s Tax Policy, we pay tax in full and in a timely manner when due; we are open and transparent in our dealings with tax authorities, and undertake our commercial transactions in a tax-efficient manner, taking advantage of all appropriate allowances and reliefs. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards tax evasion and its facilitation. The Group Finance Director is responsible for implementation of this policy, which is supported by advice and training from external advisers.