BUILDING RESPONSIBILITY INTO THE STRATEGY
More and more, responsible companies are realising how aligning business activities with sustainable practices can bring value. In many cases, it may be difficult tto quantify how the subjective added value of sustainability can affect the bottom line; however, the construction industry, which relies heavily on materials, has a variety of opportunities to demonstrate how this can be achieved.
Peter Evans, Finance Director at Barnwood Group Ltd, explained how their companies make the most of the opportunities available to be a responsible, sustainable business within the construction industry.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS IN YOUR COMPANY?
The construction industry has a substantial cost base and operates on slim margins, with the industry’s ten largest contractors having an average pre-tax profit margin of -0.5% in 2017, according to the World Green Building Council.
Barnwood Construction focuses on the responsible sourcing of materials to guide procurement for all construction projects. This includes procurement of those materials and production techniques that will have minimal environmental impact and using sustainable sources of energy wherever possible.
The aim is to identify environmentally sustainable energy strategies early on in each project, enabling features such as solar energy, combined heat and power systems, rainwater harvesting and wind turbines to be integrated into the design.
In efforts to minimise transportation emissions, Barnwood Construction also sources as much of its materials from local manufacturers and suppliers as possible.
Waste management and energy efficiency are common areas through which businesses generate operational cost savings. Each site has a waste management and recycling plan for every new construction scheme. These plans can save on direct costs as well as opening up additional measures of cost saving, such as reusing building materials that may have otherwise gone to waste.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS IN YOUR COMPANY?
The belief that being a sustainable business or sourcing responsibly will cost more is a hurdle that many businesses need to overcome. The Barnwood model shows that effective planning in this area can actually deliver cost savings. There will always be a conflict between environmental and economic performance, and balancing the two is the main challenge; businesses that can achieve this will be better placed to move with future changes in their industries.
WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS WILL PLAY IN THE FUTURE?
Construction companies must deliver effective environmental strategies at corporate and operational levels, as part of their overall strategy and objectives. The impact that day-to-day business operations have on the environment will only grow in importance in years to come and so a focus on sustainability must become integrated across the business, not introduced as a side-line activity.
Barnwood Construction believes it has a strong foundation in sustainability from which to develop a successful and responsible business for the future.
MEET THE FINANCE DIRECTOR
Peter Evans – Finance Director
- Peter is a CIMA-qualified daccountant and has been working in the construction and property sectors for 32 years.
- He is just one of 240 employees at Barnwood Group and he has spent 20 years working with the company.
- Peter has served as Financial Controller and most recently Finance Director.
- Barnwood Group had a turnover of £85 million in 2017.