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Costain is fully committed to Waste to Wealth

Author: Amy Shuffleton , Group Environment Manager

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stark warning: ‘we have just 12 years to mitigate the risk to catastrophic climate change and reverse the destruction of natural habitats’. We must make the most out of precious resources, aim to waste as little as possible and find ways of turning the waste we do create into new wealth.

Costain is proud and well positioned to have signed the BITC’s ‘Waste to Wealth’ initiative to help fight against climate change. We are proactively working with all our stakeholders to ensure we consider the whole-life impacts of operations and the management of assets. This includes resource efficiency targeting carbon and wastage, and the responsible and efficient use of material and energy resources. One of the biggest impacts on ‘waste to wealth’ is that which we do not create!

Costain has set challenging internal targets to ensure our ‘Create a Better Environment’ commitment achieves a positive and lasting environmental legacy. In 2018, we developed and implemented a resource efficiency matrix. Our goal is to reduce the impact Costain and our clients have on the environment. The matrix supports our operations to measure and effectively manage carbon, materials, waste and water, improving our environment performance and reducing impacts. The matrix challenges our teams to utilise existing efficient methods and investigate new methods and technologies to minimise impacts. So far, the matrix has enabled and highlighted significant efficiencies for both Costain and our clients which includes approximately £4.5 million in cost savings, waste reductions and £1.25 million tCO2eq carbon emissions reduction.

Costain also provides proactive advice to clients on how to shift focus, where necessary, to optimising their current asset base to improve asset performance, resilience, benefiting natural capital. A move towards ‘systems thinking’ where the whole end to end process is considered in optimisation can lead to significant asset performance improvement and negate the need for further capital intervention. This shift in focus naturally improves clients’ experience but benefits their business and the environment. For our clients, operational costs are often two thirds of the whole-life asset cost and improving performance not only benefits in business terms but also translates to environmental benefit such as lower energy, less waste, and natural resource demands. With the warnings clear there has never been a greater need to take action to get the best out of our nation’s assets.

Costain supports the whole-life of our clients' infrastructure assets and our operations to ensure assets function and delivery is as effective as possible to deliver an improved service to their customers whilst at the same time enhancing natural capital, using natural resources efficiently and protecting the environment.