BAM has delivered on its climate positive 2020 targets, as the CO2 intensity was well below the target and BAM was again included in the prestigious CDP A List. Covid-19 impacts such as working from home and temporary closures of construction sites have significantly contributed to the large reduction in CO2, but BAM has estimated that even without Covid-19 impacts the 2020 target for CO2 reduction would have been achieved.
The amount of construction waste also decreased substantially in 2020, mostly due to a shift in project phases. The reduction is also partly caused by the wind-down of BAM International and temporaryl closures of construction sites due to Covid-19. The recycle or re-use rate slightly increased to 76 per cent. Improving waste management and further pursuing reduction measures will be required to bring the Company closer to its goal of zero construction and office waste to landfill and incineration by 2025.
BAM did not meet the target of developing zero carbon products and services in all operating companies. So far, these products and services have only been developed in the Construction and Property sector in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. BAM delivered circular projects in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. BAM expects the market demand for zero carbon and circular products to grow across the business, and aims to continue to develop and scale up successful solutions.
Although BAM did manage to increase the coverage and sustainable timber use in the past years, BAM did not meet its target of 100 per cent as parts of BAM’s operations in Germany and Ireland have not yet been included. BAM aims to continue to put effort in working towards sourcing of 100 per cent sustainable timber.
BAM’s ambition is to have a net positive impact on climate and resources in 2050. The Company aims to reduce its impact on the environment and people, by collaborating with the supply chain, encouraging innovative and digital thinking through its products, and realising benefits of circular business models. This chapter describes the Company’s performance towards creating a sustainable built environment from an environmental perspective. The sustainability strategy emphasises both climate change (see ‘Climate positive’) and resource constraints (see ‘Resource positive’).
BAM is preparing for a low-carbon economy and intends to reduce its own emissions as well as supply chain emissions. BAM can have a large impact on the lifecycle carbon footprint of buildings and infrastructure, for example through material selection, design and/or asset management. The Company is working towards a circular economy and believes the industry could leave a positive legacy to the environment if it is able to work from reversible designs that are regenerative. BAM aims to reduce construction waste by becoming more efficient, utilising off-site manufacturing and by working with its supply chain to eliminate waste throughout the lifecycle of its projects.
Impact of Covid-19
Covid-19 has also impacted BAM’s sustainability performance. Most measures to contain Covid-19 directly led to a reduction of the Company’s environmental footprint. The temporary closure of construction sites in countries which implemented a lockdown (Belgium, Ireland and partially the United Kingdom), led to a reduction in activity but also to less energy consumption and waste production on these sites. Travel restrictions and working-from-home policies have reduced CO2 emissions. These reductions might be more structural as the increase in people working from home and the number of digital meetings is expected to (partly) remain after Covid-19.
In total, Covid-19 has been responsible for circa 60 per cent of BAM’s CO2 footprint reduction in 2020. Temporary closures of some construction sites have slightly lowered the amount of waste coming from these sites, but overall the effects of Covid-19 affected the total amount of construction and office waste only to a limited extent.
BAM focuses on reducing its own carbon emissions and helping others to reduce emissions more widely. Its carbon footprint is monitored by measuring carbon emissions using the greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol. The GHG protocol defines three scopes for greenhouse gas accounting and reporting purposes:
- Greenhouse gas directly emitted from the Company’s own activities (scope 1);
- Indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heating and cooling (scope 2) ;
- Indirect emissions up and downstream in the value chain (scope 3). BAM reports all material emissions (scopes 1 and 2) and employee transport emissions (scope 3).
CO2 reduction targets
To reduce its direct impact on climate change, BAM has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions intensity by 25 per cent by 2020 compared to 2015 levels (scope 1, 2 and travel-related scope 3).
A longer-term science-based target is also in place to ensure that the CO2 reduction ambition is in line with climate change science. This science-based target has been set for 2030 and provides a pathway towards BAM’s long-term climate positive ambition. By 2030, BAM aims 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 assessed its entire scope 3 emissions).
CO2 reduction initiatives
BAM is continiously pursuing CO2 reduction measures to lower its CO2 footprint and to meet its CO2 reduction targets, the Company’s main efforts to reduce CO2 emissions include:
- Improve energy efficiency at project sites, offices and asphalt plants;
- Work towards procurement of 100 per cent renewable electricity in all offices, facilities and project sites;
- Reduce diesel use in generators by establishing early-stage grid connections in all projects where this is possible;
- Reduce the use of energy by digitalising business operations and by improving the efficiency of the operations;
- 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.
25 - CO2 emissions intensity
(in tonnes per € million revenue)
26 - Total absolute CO2 emissions
The CO2 intensity decreased to 20.0 tonnes per € million revenue, a 15 per cent reduction compared to 2019. With a 35 per cent reduction compared to 2015, BAM has exceeded its 2020 target of 25 per cent reduction. Covid-19 impacts have significantly contributed to the achieved reduction in 2020. However, BAM analysed a scenario without Covid-19 impacts and concluded that the 2020 target would also have been met in this scenario: the CO2 intensity would have been approximately 2 tonnes per € million higher (22.0 tonnes per € million) without Covid-19 impacts. In total, absolute CO2 emissions decreased by 20 per cent to 136 kilotonnes (2019: 170 kilotonnes).
Ongoing CO2 reduction activities, an increased share of green electricity use (63 per cent in 2020 versus 53 per cent in 2019), Covid-19 impacts and a less energy-intensive project in the civil business line were the main reasons for the CO2 footprint reduction. BAM’s energy intensity was 0.30 TJ per million revenue (2019: 0.34). The absolute energy consumption decreased to 2,047 TJ (2019: 2,442).
Emissions from construction sites
The largest source of carbon emissions lies in BAM’s construction sites, this is sub-divided into ‘Construction and Property’ and ‘Civil engineering’, of which the latter is by far the most energy and carbon intensive. In 2020, absolute emissions from construction sites decreased by 20 per cent compared to 2019 due to carrying out less energy-intensive civil engineering projects in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the wind-down of BAM International, Covid-19 impacts and ongoing CO2 reduction efforts. Key aspects of BAM’s CO2 reduction strategy are to lower the reliance on diesel and gasoil and to procure renewable electricity.
Emissions from vehicle fleet
The emissions from the vehicle fleet, which account for 31 per cent of BAM’s total CO2 emissions, decreased by 22 per cent compared to 2019. This decrease can mainly be attributed to working from home and employee travel reductions as a result of Covid-19. BAM also continued to pursue a more efficient and sustainable vehicle fleet, by optimising travel distances of employees and deploying more energy-efficient vehicles. BAM has almost doubled the amount of fully electric vehicles in its lease fleet: from 143 in 2019 to 269 in 2020 (a share of five per cent of the total lease fleet).
27 - CO2 emissions per business activity
Emissions from asphalt plants
The emissions from asphalt production account for 17 per cent of BAM’s total CO2 emissions. In 2020, CO2 emissions were six per cent lower than in 2019. Even though more asphalt was produced in 2020, ongoing efforts to improve energy efficiency and the use of less carbon-intensive fuels led to a reduction of CO2 emissions in asphalt plants.
Emissions from offices and air travel
Working from home policies due to Covid-19 led to a CO2 emission reduction in offices of circa 10 per cent compared to 2019. The largest impact of Covid-19 on BAM’s CO2 footprint was on air travel: CO2 emissions from air travel were 57 per cent lower than in 2019.
BAM supports clients in the reduction of footprint and environmental impact. In 2020, 19 per cent of BAM’s revenue, approximately €1.3 billion (€1.5 billion in 2019), came from projects that were 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 United Kingdom’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’s climate action acknowledged
BAM was again acknowledged for its climate initiatives in 2020, as it achieved a place on CDP’s prestigious ‘A List’ for climate change. This global ranking evaluates corporate efforts to address and mitigate climate change. The index is produced by CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts at the request of 515 investors. Information provided by almost 10,000 companies was independently assessed on the basis of the CDP scoring methodology and ranked accordingly. BAM was recognised for its actions to reduce carbon emissions and assess the potential role of climate change on the business strategy and performance.
28 - CO2 emissions per source
BAM supports the focus on more ambitious targets to drive longer-term progress towards a low-carbon future. Emissions in the value chain outside BAM’s activities are an important aspect of a low-carbon future. BAM discloses these so-called scope 3 emissions as part of its CDP submission every year, which is publicly available on CDP’s website. The scope 3 assessment underlines the importance of scope 3 emissions and improves 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 the Company engages with suppliers in exploring reduction measurements that focus on these areas.
Climate adaptation is gaining attention as an important aspect of corporate climate strategy. It relates to how companies deal with risks and opportunities associated with climate change. BAM addresses climate adaptation trough the assessment of climate change risks at project and business level and through its stage gate procedure. BAM discloses the full details of its climate change risk assessment in its CDP submission.
Identified key risks and opportunities in 2020 include:
- Market-related risks and opportunities (e.g. changing client behaviour leading to an increased demand for low carbon products and zero energy solutions);
- Products- and services-related risks and opportunities (e.g. development of lower-carbon construction materials pushing the market to innovate and develop a lower carbon footprint);
- Physical weather conditions (e.g. adaptation to sea level rise by exploring potential future additional demands on water-land infrastructure, which is a core element of BAMs products and operations).
Reducing nitrogen emissions
By signing the Dutch ‘Malieveld’ agreement in 2019, BAM committed to nitrogen emission-free property development, design and construction. A challenge BAM identified in aiming to tackle nitrogen emissions is multidisciplinary cooperation throughout the construction sector (architects, real estate developers, construction companies and suppliers).
29 - Total waste production per source
Within the taskforce PAS/PFAS that BAM started within its Dutch Civil engineering business line, analyses at project level are made to assess the potential impact of nitrogen on the projects BAM undertakes. Measures to reduce nitrogen and carbon emissions, such as electrification of equipment, are implemented at individual level both in the design and construction phase.
BAM strives to achieve a net positive impact on resources by 2050, eliminating waste over the lifecycle of developments by the way it designs and builds projects.
BAM aims to preserve raw materials and resources over the lifecycle of its 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 that can easily be maintained, re-used or repurposed in the future, avoiding low grade recycling wherever possible;
- Procure materials from certified responsible sources.
BAM distinguishes its waste in excavation, demolition, construction and office waste. The Company 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 the Company takes on a project. BAM has limited impact on the amounts of these waste types and it is merely a part of its business model to efficiently re-use or remove these materials.
BAM focuses on construction and office waste as performance indicators. 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 2020, BAM produced less construction and office waste than in 2019, at 100 kilotonnes (2019:128 kilotonnes). The construction and office waste intensity was 14.6 tonnes per € million revenue, a 17% decrease compared to 2019 (construction and office waste intensity in 2019: 17.7).
30 - Construction and office waste production per destination category (in kilotonnes)
The largest contribution to this decrease was made in Belgium, and was caused by a more common project portfolio compared to 2019: 2019 was a year of exceptionnally large waste volumes due to many large projects being in their finalisation phase at the same time. The wind-down of BAM International and temporary closure of construction sites due to Covid-19 also contributed to the decrease in construction waste. In most other countries, construction waste levels were only slightly lower in 2020 compared to 2019. Efforts to improve the efficiency of the production process by the use of prefabricated building elements are ongoing.
BAM has set an objective to completely recycle or re-use its construction and office waste by 2025. In 2020, 76 per cent of BAM’s construction and office waste was recycled or re-used (2018: 75 per cent). A total of 15 kilotonnes (2019: 18 kilotonnes) was landfilled or incinerated without energy recovery. By engaging with its waste contractors, BAM pursues to improve the waste treatment process and further increase recycling and re-usage ratios. BAM also stimulates its projects and offices to improve waste separation and recycling/re-usage.
BAM has identified the quantities of materials used in its construction projects in the Netherlands, its largest home market, since 2011. The Company has identified the main categories of procured materials as shown in table 32. The material quantities and recycled content are based on supplier data, industry averages and data from BAM’s asphalt plants.
Circularity is becoming an important topic in the construction sector and BAM is well placed in the industry to build on its past circular economic achievements. Within the Company, circularity is an upcoming theme with opportunities for new market potential, primarily in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. BAM is in the process of further defining its strategy towards circularity to demonstrate the opportunities and benefits through design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure assets using new circular economic business models. BAM’s main challenge is how to realise the transition from linear to circular patterns and increase the scale of circularity. Close collaboration with clients and supply chain partners is essential for BAM to seize circular opportunities.
An example of a circular initiative is the Taskforce Circular Development, which was started with the goal to investigate the circular challenge for the Dutch Construction and Property business. The taskforce researched circular trends and focus areas and created a benchmark to compare BAM’s current position with innovative disruptors in the industry. Within the Dutch Civil engineering business line, BAM is actively working on the development of integrated circular concepts and showcasing the benefits to clients.
In 2020, different circularity initiatives and products were rolled out. A few significant initiatives are described below:
- Circular design and construction new head office CURE In November 2020, BAM realised the new headquarter office for CURE waste management in the Netherlands. Waste is given a new lease of life in this new building. Innovative solutions in the field of re-use have been chosen. For example, the façade is cladded with recycled pallet wood and glass panels are made of partly recycled glass. In the façade, innumerable old concrete tiles have been sawn into masonry stones and the inner walls consist of recycled wood. The new CURE office is energy neutral: it can independently generate and distribute energy thanks to the 340 square metres of solar panels on the roof. A heat pump is also used that can heat and cool.
- King’s Cross Sports Hall, BAM’s first all-timber building This all-timber sports hall in King’s Cross, built by BAM Construct UK, is primarily constructed using a cross-laminated timber (CLT) frame and glulam timber columns, a natural alternative to steel and concrete that is both lightweight and carbon friendly. It is clad in zinc and has a super-lightweight concrete substructure.
31 - Material consumption in the Netherlands
Designed to meet a near-zero carbon target, the building has several innovative features, including various methods of ventilation and the use of glazing to provide daylight while reducing heat gains. The building also benefits from its connection to the King’s Cross Central District Heating and Cooling Network, an efficient system for heating all the buildings at King’s Cross, which means that conventional boilers are not required.
Circular asphalt mixture LEAB
BAM’s sustainable process to produce low-energy asphalt concrete (LEAB) received the official seal of approval of CROW, the Dutch technology platform for transport, infrastructure and public space in April 2020. This certification by the experts of CROW’s asphalt quality steering group validates BAMs claims regarding reduced CO2 emissions, costs of environmental impact, civil engineering qualities and processability.
BAM’s asphalt plants have the capacity for large-scale sustainable production of almost every type of asphalt mixture, including circular LEAB. In 2020, BAM applied 56,706 tonnes of LEAB in the Netherlands, corresponding to five per cent of the total asphalt production (2019: 32,500 and three per cent). In total, BAM has already applied more than 680,000 tonnes of LEAB-produced asphalt in its projects in the Netherlands, thanks to the close collaboration with clients who are equally convinced of the value of this innovative and sustainable method of asphalt production.
The application of LEAB is also increasingly being considered in BAM’s other home markets, most noticeably in the United Kingdom. A research trajectory with Highways England was successfully completed in 2020: English asphalt mixtures can be produced following the LEAB method with equal characteristics and quality as conventional asphalt mixtures. This is an important first step to apply LEAB asphalt in the United Kingdom.
In 2020, BAM and Heijmans agreed to transfer their existing asphalt plants in the Netherlands to a new joint asphalt company. By establishing this new asphalt company, the knowledge, expertise and investments in innovation of both companies will be combined. Increasing sustainability of the asphalt chain is an important objective, from lowering CO2 emissions to circularity and re-use 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.
BAM considers sustainable timber a valuable construction material to support the transition to a circular economy. Besides, using sustainable timber is key to support forest conservation and biodiversity and helps to combat climate change. The Company has committed to FSC Netherlands to exclusively use certified sustainable timber for its projects. In cooperation with FSC Netherlands, BAM continues to engage with suppliers to encourage them to improve the identification and reporting of certified timber.
In 2020, BAM again reached a certified sustainable timber use of 99 per cent. Although this is very close to the 2020 target of 100 per cent sustainable timber use, BAM has not met this target as not yet all operations are covered. Over the past few years, BAM has improved the coverage of its timber use measurement to over 80 per cent of its operations (based on revenue) in 2020. All home countries are covered, except Germany and Ireland. BAM has started measuring (sustainable) timber use in Germany in 2020, but the obtained figures are not yet sufficiently reliable to include in BAM’s overall figures. Obtaining certifications for sustainable timber in Germany and especially Ireland remains challenging, as the use of sustainable certificates as FSC and PEFC are not yet as common in those countries as in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Sourcing only certified sustainable timber will remain an important sustainability target for BAM, and BAM aims continue its efforts to increase its coverage to 100 per cent.
In 2020, BAM used 99.5 per cent certified sustainable timber in the Netherlands (90 per cent FSC). Timber use by subcontractors and in subcontracted projects is not included. In the United Kingdom, 98.5 per cent of timber was from verified legal and sustainable sources, of which 91 per cent per cent was delivered with full FSC or PEFC Chain of Custody certification. Certified sustainable timber use in Belgium is estimated at 96.0 per cent and BAM International’s projects used 91.2 per cent sustainable timber.
In 2020, BAM obtained leadership status on the CDP forest timber benchmark (score A-). This global ranking evaluates 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.
32 - Certified sustainable timber use
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