Balfour Beatty Group’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose last year, official documents have revealed.
The business, a major subsidiary of the UK’s largest contractor, reported an 18 per cent rise in its scope 1 and 2 emissions.
This figure, calculated using the standard market-based approach, means the entity was responsible for almost a fifth more direct and indirect releases of greenhouse gases in 2022 than in the prior year.
It was revealed in full accounts published by the principal operating company of Balfour Beatty Plc this week.
Balfour Beatty Group said it had slashed total scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 54 per cent since 2010.
But it added that GHG releases were up by 18 per cent from 2021, using the market-based approach, and up 15 per cent during the same period according to the location-based method.
This demonstrated that the construction industry was still “heavily reliant” on fossil fuels, Balfour said in the report.
“These increases in its scope 1 and 2 emissions incentivise the group to go further and deeper with alternative low- or no-carbon technologies, implementing these as standard, adopting modern methods of construction and influencing the supply chain to provide low- or no-carbon solutions,” it added.
Scope 1 emissions are those a company is directly responsible for while scope 2 are those it creates indirectly, by purchasing electricity for example.
A Balfour Beatty spokesperson told Construction News: “Balfour Beatty’s approach is guided by its sustainability strategy, ‘Building New Futures’, which includes a firm 2030 target of halving its 2020 carbon emissions, including scope 3 emissions, and a 2040 ambition of ‘Going Beyond Net Zero’.
“Despite considerable progress in applying innovative technologies and accessing renewable energy sources, the group has seen an increase in its carbon emissions in scopes 1 and 2 in 2022.
“There are a number of reasons for this increase: the impact of global supply chain issues, rising energy prices and the fallout from Covid, which have reduced opportunities to drive low-carbon solutions as the group has sought to keep costs down for customers; and an increase in workload involving tunnelling and earthworks, which are among the most carbon-intensive elements of construction.”
The latest results show that Balfour Beatty Group made a £116m pre-tax profit in 2022 on a turnover of £3.79bn.
Interim figures released last week revealed that the overall organisation had turnover of £4.53bn in the first half of 2023, with £97m in pre-tax profit.