Carbon Trust Case Study of WJ Group's Carbon Footprint Reduction

28 October, 2021 - News - WJ Group

Summary

WJ Group have a strong focus on sustainability and we are successfully reducing our operational carbon footprint year on year throughout our UK operations.

We recognised the most important step for energy reduction plans was to first understand and quantify our impacts and establish a baseline to work from, this was 9,784 tCO2e for the year 2017.

By working collaboratively with the Carbon Trust, we understood that the largest source of emissions was our fleet’s diesel consumption, which presented the biggest opportunity for improvement. A planned reduction was approached in several ways and included consultation, fleet design, innovation and upgrade, vehicle type, driver training, and driver incentives. This has resulted in year on year improvements and is an important milestone in developing a science-based a strategy for a net zero future.

Challenges

The road marking industry in which we operates is very traditional and until now had no benchmark. Consequently, we have worked with the Carbon Trust to fully understand and measure our environmental impacts, which could then be evidenced to our stakeholders.

Once the baseline was established, using quantifiable methods to reduce these impacts became the next challenge, as we operate a fleet of >200 in-house manufactured, specialist LGV road marking and safety surfacing vehicles, it represented a significant task.

The exercise is collaborative and involves listening to staff, engaging with the supply chain, having practical discussions with key customers, such as National Highways, Transport Scotland and local authorities about their needs and involving stakeholders that care deeply about efficient low carbon programme delivery.

Solution

To learn and adopt best practice on measurement and reduction, we consulted several stakeholder organisations including the Carbon Trust. Working closely with them, our carbon impacts were identified, measured, continuously monitored, independently verified, and then targeted for reduction.

To reduce emissions, we designed and built innovative, carbon efficient vehicle systems. In some instances, the utilisation of these systems has halved vehicle movements and in other circumstances we have developed new vehicles which combine the work that was previously completed by two vehicles into one for efficient delivery.

Additionally, we have implemented various systems of energy reduction including utilising onsite renewables at key depots and addressing driver behaviour by employing psychology, training, and telematics systems.

Results and Future Plans

By working collaboratively with the Carbon Trust, utilising their enormous experience and qualitative feedback, we now have a reliable and globally recognised system for carbon footprint reporting.  This system recognises our carbon impacts and their sources as well as areas for improvement where a comprehensive framework of actions was created and carried out.

This has enabled us to collaborate further with stakeholders, to focus and deliver effective year on year reduction of emissions on an intensity basis. From this, a 9.7% reduction in carbon emissions against turnover was achieved.

This was made possible through collaboration, which is at the heart of any sustainable highway project and works within the value chain to maximise efficiency and minimise emissions. WJ are engaged with highway authorities, clients, suppliers, communities, and international working groups to promote the low carbon high efficiency agenda.

What we all do within the next 10 years will shape what the planet looks like in the next 10,000 years, the Transport sector must play a positive role in shaping this. WJ are playing a part in this by reshaping processes, innovating, strategising, developing, enhancing, implementing, and delivering against net zero plans.

Additionally, we are committed to continue industry wide initiatives and collaboration with stakeholders to develop good cultural awareness for people and communities. We also plan to further advance low carbon engineering innovation in our specialist trucks and have introduced biogenic solutions in our material manufacturing processes to reduce embodied carbon in road marking materials by circa 80%. This initiative is being monitored and continuously improved to further reduce our products’ carbon footprint.

“Carbon reduction should be an integral part of the procurement process in the highways sector, encouraging more companies to significantly reduce carbon as part of any future projects.” – Paul Aldridge, Sustainability Director WJ Group

“We have been working with WJ since 2015 on its sustainability agenda and its great that the whole group has now achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon. Its achievement demonstrates the group’s commitment to sustainability.” – Laura Timlin, Director, Business Services at the Carbon Trust.