Environmental performance

33 - Ambition: to achieve a net positive impact on climate and natural resources

Management summary

BAM’s CO2 footprint strongly depends on BAM’s project portfolio. Due to an increase in civil engineering projects, BAM’s reduction in CO2 emissions remained slightly behind the company’s 2020 reduction target. In order to still meet this ambitious target, BAM needs to accelerate CO2 reduction initiatives and measures in the coming years.

2018 provided more examples of ‘zero carbon products’ and ‘circular projects’ initiated in parts of the company. The Group aspires to scale up these successful initiatives and roll out more products and projects throughout the business.

BAM managed both to reduce the amount of construction and office waste and to increase share of construction and office waste being recycled or reused. The improved performance reduces waste management costs and the environmental burden, and brings the company closer to its goal of zero construction and office waste to landfill and incineration by 2025. 

BAM increased the completeness of its sustainable timber analysis in 2018, yet there are still parts of the business where there is limited insight in sustainable timber use. BAM will continue to focus on improving the completeness of reporting and procurement of sustainable timber to be able to source 100 per cent sustainable timber by 2020.

Sustainability strategy

BAM aims to have a net positive impact on the environment and people in the long term (towards 2050), by collaborating with the supply chain, encouraging innovative and digital thinking through our products, and realising benefits of circular business models. This chapter describes BAM’s performance towards creating a sustainable built environment from an environmental perspective. The sustainability strategy emphasises both climate change (climate positive strand) and resource constraints (resource positive strand). 

BAM is preparing for a low-carbon economy and needs to reduce its own emissions as well as supply chain emissions. BAM has a large impact on reductions in life-cycle carbon impact of buildings and infrastructure (through material selection, design and/or asset management), deploying renewable energy systems or energy reduction measures for our clients or communities. 

The company is working towards a circular economy and believes the industry will be able to leave a positive legacy to the environment if they are able to work from reversible designs that are regenerative. BAM has made significant progress on reducing construction waste by becoming more efficient, utilising off-site manufacturing and by working with its supply chain to eliminate waste throughout the life cycle of its projects. 

Climate positive


BAM aims to have a net positive impact on the climate by 2050, by reducing its own carbon emissions and helping others to reduce emissions more widely. This means BAM will: 

  • Reduce the energy it uses by digitalising its business and by improving the efficiency of its operations.
  • Use as much power, fuel and heat from renewable or non-polluting sources as possible.
  • Work with clients and supply chain partners to reduce carbon emissions in the value chain.
  • Bring low or zero carbon products and services to the market to scale up its positive impact.

BAM monitors its carbon footprint by measuring its carbon emissions using the greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol. The GHG protocol defines three scopes for greenhouse gas accounting and reporting purposes. BAM includes greenhouse gas directly emitted from the company’s own activities (scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heating and cooling (scope 2) and indirect emissions up- and downstream in the value chain (scope 3). BAM reports all material scope 1 and 2 emissions and scope 3 employee transport emissions.

34 - CO2 emissions intensity
(in tonnes per €1 million revenue)

35 - Total absolute CO2 emissions
(in kilotonnes)

To reduce direct impact on climate change, BAM has set a target to reduce CO2 emission intensity by 25 per cent by 2020 compared to 2015 levels (scope 1, 2 and travel-related scope 3). The CO2 intensity decreased to 26.8 tonnes per million revenue, a 5 per cent reduction to 2017 and a 13 per cent reduction to 2015. The company is slightly behind in meeting its 2020 target of 25 per cent reduction to 2015. Absolute CO2 emissions increased by 4 per cent to 193 kilotonnes (2017: 186 kilotonnes), which is mainly caused by the higher revenue and corresponding increase in construction activity.

BAM’s energy intensity was 0.38 TJ per million revenue (2017: 0.40). To reduce its carbon footprint, BAM continuously initiates energy reduction measures. This is driven by both its own policies and the European energy efficiency directive (EED), a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20 per cent energy efficiency target by 2020.

In 2018, emissions from BAM’s offices decreased by 18 per cent compared to 2017, as a result of the merging of offices throughout BAM, a continued focus on energy efficiency improvements across BAM operations and the procurement of green electricity. In 2018, BAM used 123 kWh per square metre in its buildings in the Netherlands (2017: 119 kWh). The CO2 emissions intensity of BAM’s office buildings in the Netherlands was 13.7 kilograms CO2 per square metre (2017: 13.1).

The emissions from BAM’s vehicle fleet, which account for 29 per cent of BAM’s total CO2 emissions, increased by 3 per cent compared to 2017. The increase is smaller than the rise in revenue and activity, as BAM continues to pursue a more efficient and sustainable vehicle fleet. In 2018, BAM updated its leasing policy in the Netherlands promoting low-carbon driving with a range of measures. BAM furthermore deploys electric vehicles to reduce fuel consumptions, carbon emissions and improve air quality. Electric driving is promoted and employees are financially incentivised to choose smaller and more fuel-efficient cars (below 90 grams per kilometre). More than 4.6 million kilometres were driven in 2018 by the company’s fully electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars (4.2 million kilometres in 2017). 

36 - CO2 emissions per business line
(in kilotonnes)

The largest source of carbon emissions lies in BAM’s construction sites, this is further sub-divided into 'building' and 'civil engineering', of which the latter is by far the most carbon intensive. In 2018 absolute emissions from construction sites increased by 11 per cent due to a shift in revenue towards civil engineering activities and a high carbon output on a limited number of heavy civil projects. This is also shown by the CO2 emissions per sector (  figure 36), where the increase in CO2 emissions only occurs in civil engineering. BAM continues efforts to reduce the reliance on diesel and gasoil on construction sites, this is led by steering groups in the business and best practices are shared throughout the Group. These efforts include an early connection to the grid and more efficient equipment, and helped to reduce BAM's CO2 intensity despite the slight shift towards civil engineering activities. 

37 - CO2 emissions per source
(in kilotonnes)

BAM supports its clients to reduce their footprint and environmental impact. In 2018, 19 per cent of BAM’s revenue, approximately €1.4 billion (€1.6 billion in 2017), came from projects that have been registered with third-party green building or sustainable construction rating organisations, such as the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the UK’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), Germany’s Passivhaus standards and other objective and third-party standards or BAM’s green building products. 

BAM has again obtained a leadership status on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) climate change benchmark (score A-). This global ranking evaluates the corporate efforts to address and mitigate climate change. The index is produced by CDP, the international NGO that promotes sustainable economies, at the request of over 650 investors (representing more than a third of the invested capital in the world). Information provided by more than 7,000 companies has been independently assessed on the basis of the CDP scoring methodology and ranked accordingly. BAM is recognised for its actions to reduce carbon emissions and assessing the potential role of climate change on the business strategy and performance. Since 2012, BAM has been a leader in transparent reporting on impact on climate change issues. BAM supports the focus on more ambitious targets to drive longer-term progress towards a low-carbon future.

In 2018, BAM further improved its assessment of scope 3 emissions in collaboration with a third party. The assessment showed that the majority of the emissions in the value chain are scope 3 emissions and improved the understanding of BAM’s wider climate change impacts. The areas ‘purchased goods and services’ and ‘use of sold products’ contribute most to BAM’s scope 3 emissions and BAM started to engage with suppliers exploring reduction measurements focusing on these areas. In 2019, BAM will continue to engage with suppliers, partners and clients in order to further develop a strategy and action plan to enhance its scope 3 carbon emissions measurement and reduction initiatives. 

38 - CO2 emissions per scope 

In 2018, BAM developed its science-based target to ensure CO2 reduction is in line with the latest climate change science. The target is set for 2030 and provides a pathway towards the long-term climate positive ambition. In 2030, BAM targets to: 

  • Reduce scope 1 and scope 2 CO2 intensity by 50 per cent compared to 2015
  • Reduce scope 3 CO2 emissions by 20 per cent compared to 2017 (the first year BAM estimated its entire scope 3 emissions).

BAM aims to have its target accepted by the Science Based Target Initiative by April 2019. BAM also plans to develop more tangible performance indicators related to embodied CO2 of key materials (concrete, steel and asphalt) to update its scope 3 reduction target in 2020. These new performance indicators will also help to more effectively engage with suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions in the ‘purchased goods and services’ area. 

Resource positive


BAM strives to achieve a net positive impact on resources by 2050, eliminating waste over the life cycle of developments by the way it designs and builds projects. 

BAM aims to preserve raw materials and resources over the life cycle of our built environment and deliver projects using safe, healthy and natural materials. BAM intends to: 

  • Eliminate wasteful construction practices, and deliver projects that will produce less waste in operation 
  • Promote the circular economy by using products and materials than can easily be maintained, reused or repurposed in the future, avoiding low grade recycling wherever possible
  • Procure materials from certified responsible sources.

Circular economy
BAM’s activities in pursuing the objectives of the circular economy in 2018 included: 

  • Collaboration with Horizon 2020’s BAMB (Buildings as Material Banks) by assisting with the detailed design requirements of the Green Transformable Building Lab and developing a methodology to calculate the social value metrics attributable to Circular economy business models
  • The organisation by BAM Construct UK of a series of circular economy supply chain workshops. BAM is working as an advisor on circular economic opportunities for the Greater London Authority (GLA) planning policy guidance in the UK
  • Involvement in committees and programmes: 
    The Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 programme
    - London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), supporting organisation for the Advance London Accelerator programme to promote Circular economy investments and funding streams for start-up companies in the field of construction
    - Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, ‘towards a circular city’ participant organisation
    - The Green Construction Board Circular Economy working group. 

39 - Circular Business Models

In addition to the above, BAM has developed a minimum viable product for a circular building platform (CBP) together with IBM. The CBP serves as marketplace for supply and demand of used construction materials or assets. BAM wants to stimulate circular business models within the construction industry and is currently discussing opportunities for its development with key stakeholders.

BAM’s waste typically consists of excavation, demolition, construction and office waste. In 2018, BAM saw an increase in the excavation and demolition waste, mainly in the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany. BAM considers excavation and demolition waste to be less relevant indicators of operational performance and sustainability as these types of waste are present at sites before BAM takes on a project. BAM has limited impact in the amounts of this waste types and it is merely a part of BAM’s business model to efficiently reuse or remove these materials.

BAM focuses on construction and office waste as indicators of operational performance, since these outputs are based on the Group’s own processes and procurement. All construction and office materials are initially brought to BAM’s sites and offices on its behalf, in contrast to excavation and demolition waste. In 2018, BAM reduced its construction and office waste by 4 per cent compared to 2017, from 134 kilotonnes to 129 kilotonnes. The construction and office waste intensity was reduced to 17.9 tonnes per million revenue (2017: 20.3).

A large contribution to this year’s reduction was due to the completion of several large construction projects in the United Kingdom and in BAM’s International activities. Efficiencies in BAM’s production process were achieved through the use of prefabricated building elements. Moreover, digital construction technologies are helping to reduce construction waste by integrating material use in the early design stage.

BAM has set an objective to improve the separation of construction waste and to completely avoid landfilling and incineration by 2025. In 2018, 14 per cent of BAM’s construction and office waste, a total of 18 kilotonnes (2017: 39 kilotonnes) was landfilled or incinerated.

The large reduction of landfilling or incineration is largely the result of an increased share in waste to energy incineration. By engaging with its waste contractors, BAM pursues to improve the waste treatment process and further reduce landfilling and incineration.

40 - Material consumption in the Netherlands








Ready-mix concrete


























Recycled content







Ready-mix concrete




























41 - Total waste production per source
(in kilotonnes)

42 - Construction and office waste production per destination category
(in kilotonnes)

BAM also managed to increase the recycle rate of its construction and office waste to 93 per cent in 2018 (2017: 87 per cent) by engaging with waste contractors and increasing waste separation ratios. In 2018, 28per cent of the Group’s construction waste in the Netherlands was separated, compared with 23 per cent in 2017. 

Construction materials 
BAM has identified the quantities of materials used in its construction projects in the Netherlands since 2011. The Group has identified the main categories of procured materials as shown in  table 40. The material quantities and recycled content are based on supplier data, industry averages and data from BAM’s asphalt plants.

Sustainable timber 
BAM considers sustainable timber a valuable construction material to support the transition to a circular economy. BAM signed a covenant with FSC Netherlands in 2007 and committed to exclusively use certified sustainable timber, as the use of sustainable timber supports forest conservation and biodiversity and helps to combat climate change. In cooperation with FSC Netherlands, BAM continues engage with suppliers to encourage them to improve the identification and reporting of certified timber. 

BAM has reported on certified sustainable timber use in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for many years. In 2018, BAM also started to report certified timber use in Belgium and for BAM International, increasing the coverage (based on revenue) of BAM's operations to 79 per cent. In the Netherlands, BAM requests information from suppliers on the application of certified timber twice a year. The supplied information covers 82 per cent of all timber use in construction works carried out by BAM in the Netherlands, but does not include timber consumption for subcontracted projects. Based on the information received from 16 Dutch suppliers, BAM estimates that 99 per cent of its timber use was certified (84 per cent FSC and 10 per cent PEFC).  

43 - Certified sustainable timber use by BAM Group

In the United Kingdom, the origin of certified sustainable timber from both FSC and PEFC sources is registered in BAM’s online data monitoring system BAM SMART. In 2018, 98 per cent of timber used in the United Kingdom was from verified legal and sustainable sources, of which 91 per cent was delivered with full FSC or PEFC Chain of Custody certification. BAM Belgium started measuring its sustainable timber use in 2018 by engaging with their suppliers: 69 per cent of its timber use was certified (PEFC). BAM International started to measure its timber use in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa: based on supplier reports, BAM estimates that 19 per cent of its timber use was certified.

In 2018, BAM obtained leadership status on the CDP forest timber benchmark (score A-). This global ranking evaluates the corporate efforts to address and mitigate deforestation and forest degradation. The company is recognised for its business strategy to only use certified sustainable timber, transparent reporting and progress towards achieving this target. 

Asphalt production 
The production of asphalt is a process that typically requires large amounts of natural resources and energy. BAM developed a low-energy asphalt concrete (LEAB, after the Dutch name: ‘laag energie asfalt beton’), an innovative type of asphalt that requires less energy and fewer natural resources and results in lower CO2 emissions than conventional asphalt. In 2018, BAM applied 69,000 tonnes of LEAB (6 per cent of the total asphalt production).

Following the ambition to further reduce the environmental impact of asphalt production, BAM continued the development and testing of low energy and emission asphalt pavement (LE2AP) with support of the EU LIFE+ program. LE2AP is the next circular milestone towards developing silent (sonic) and sustainable roads that optimise traffic flow. It is produced and paved at a low temperature of 80 degrees Celsius and reduces traffic noise by an average of 7 decibel. In 2018, the application of LE2AP was tested at two provincial roads in the Netherlands, for which 26,000 tonnes of LE2AP was used. The use of LE2AP saved more than 400 tonnes of CO2 compared to the use of conventional asphalt (15.7 kg CO2 per tonnes asphalt) and reduced the environmental impacts related to asphalt production (figure 44).

In 2018 BAM and Heijmans announced that they would investigate the possibility to transfer their current asphalt plants in the Netherlands to a new joint asphalt company. By establishing the new asphalt company, the knowledge, expertise and investments in innovation of both companies can be combined. Increasing sustainability of the asphalt chain is an important objective, from lowering CO2 emissions to circularity and reuse of raw materials and semi-finished products. Collaboration offers opportunities to make better use of the available capacity and to improve the utilisation rate of the asphalt plants, aimed at efficiency and better returns. 

44 - The positive environmental impact of the applied LE2AP in 2018 compared to conventional asphalt

The availability of freshwater is a relevant environmental topic for BAM, mainly in the United Kingdom. In 2018, construction sites and offices consumed 124.000 cubic metres of potable water in the United Kingdom (2017: 138.000 cubic metres). Water use on projects is volatile, depending on the need of water-intensive activities such as drilling and hydro-demolition. BAM aims to limit its water consumption by implementing water recycling or rain water harvesting as much as possible where high volumes are predicted. 

45 - Potable water usage in the United Kingdom
(x 1,000 m³)