Construction contractor Carillion tailors each client’s sustainability goals before passing them down its supply chain.
Debbie Bewley, sustainability and assurance manager at Carillion, said the firm takes the goals its client sets and breaks them down into more appropriate and achievable targets for each of its contractors. This means suppliers can focus on measuring and acting on the metrics to which they contribute the most.
“Just as Network Rail expects us to support them to deliver [sustainability] requirements, we look to our supply chain to support us,” she said. “However, as a main contractor we appreciate that to cascade all our objectives to our supply chain is not always the best approach.”
“That’s an area we’re really focusing on, supporting our supply chain, signposting to them, ‘What is applicable to you in our projects? How can you add value and support us to deliver our requirements?’”
Speaking at a supplier day run by the Supply Chain School in London on Wednesday, Bewley said Carillion uses “very much business-as-usual KPI metrics” to measure sustainability, but works with suppliers to make data collection more appropriate. “It’s actually making it specific to them,” she said.
For example, Carillion has developed “a very simple log” to track its top 10 materials, said Bewley. But instead of asking all suppliers to log where they source all their construction materials, “it’s about [asking] ‘What is the key material you’re supplying as part of your work to us?’”
This also makes it easier to measure sustainability on smaller contracts, an important part of Carillion’s goals. “It’s not just for the large schemes. This should be the way that we do it, on the smaller schemes also if we’re really going to be sustainable,” said Bewley.
Engaging suppliers and stakeholders is also a key factor in Carillion’s sustainability plans. “Embedding a culture of improving sustainability starts with the people that work for us and our suppliers,” said Bewley. “To really successfully deliver and measure and evidence our achievements, we need to engage people working with us.”
To do this, signs were installed on one of Carillion’s sites promoting the firm’s sustainability outcomes. “People actually stepped up and started to support collection of the data, and actually also suggested ways of improving that and making it more robust,” said Bewley.
The Supply Chain School is an industry initiative by major contractors to make the construction supply chain more competitive on sustainability and social value.
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