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Laing O’Rourke sets new sustainability targets

The Victorian Government has credited its Big Build as one of the drivers of its job creation boom.

Laing O’Rourke has launched new global sustainability targets with an aim of decarbonising its own operations by 2030.

The target, which will see the company develop a plan to tackle scope 3 emissions before 2050, is aligned with the latest climate science and the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The company also aims to achieve equal numbers of men and women among its 5500 global staff.

Laing O’Rourke Group CEO, Ray O’Rourke said the business is focused on delivering lasting benefits to its clients, its people and the communities its projects serve.

“We’ve made progress delivering our environmental plan, but the simple fact is the climate emergency demands we do more and with greater urgency. The same is true of diversity, which remains unacceptably low in our sector,” O’Rourke said.

“The construction industry has some difficult challenges to solve, most notably that of reducing the embodied carbon in concrete. But I know our people have the passion to make a real difference and the experience to work with others, including our clients and partners, to deliver the progress required.

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“The challenge is substantial, and I am therefore pleased to announce the appointment of Samantha Hoe-Richardson as Group Advisor on Climate Change and Sustainability. She will advise the company’s environmental and technical leaders and challenge the Board and Group Executive on progress towards our new targets.”

Laing O’Rourke will work to reduce its carbon emissions from its directly controlled operations (scope one and two emissions) of at least 75 per cent by 2030. The remainder, a maximum of 25 per cent, will be achieved through carbon removal activities or offsetting.

The company has started to reduce demand for energy across its operations, and achieved a 1.5 million kilowatt hour reduction in its electricity usage in the year to March 2020.

Teams are developing plans to further improve energy efficiency and to transition to biofuels as a stepping-stone to the full electrification of operations (including car fleet and plant).

Laing O’Rourke said in a statement that to achieve net zero it must work with clients, suppliers and academic partners to innovate and develop ways to reduce scope 3 (supply chain) emissions.

Through the Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology at Cambridge University, the business will increase research into decarbonising construction and advance the knowledge of its own employees and others.

The majority of the business’s emissions relate to purchased materials, in particular concrete and steel.

Laing O’Rourke will work with its suppliers to embed scope 3 data capture and reporting across all projects globally, develop emissions reduction targets with strategic suppliers, and continue to invest in research and development.

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