Sustainability charter agreed

By Sandy Guthrie23 June 2011

A joint corporate sustainability statement has been drawn up by 20 of Europe's leading construction companies, under the European Network of Construction Companies for Research & Development (ENCORD) banner.

The charter expresses the vision that research, development and innovation in the construction sector can make a significant contribution to a sustainable world.

The participating companies include such names as Vinci, Bouygues, Hochtief, FCC, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Bilfinger Berger and Bam. They say they will integrate the principles laid down in the new charter, which was ratified on 21 June, in their operations and will exchange best practice experience.

Among the commitments in the charter are that the companies will focus their R&D&I (research and development and innovation) efforts on realising sustainable innovation in the sector, and finding solutions to meet future sustainability challenges.

They have also committed to build on their knowledge of measuring their own sustainability performance in order to improve comparability, and share the results among themselves, with their clients and broader stakeholders.

Sustainable development throughout the lifecycle is another part of the charter, with the commitment, "Eco-efficiency of our solutions and products through the lifecycle, including a decrease in resource and carbon intensity in the construction process and during operation. Support and influence our clients in adopting lifecycle opportunities. Recover, reuse and recycle waste in our processes."

Other elements of the charter include making the companies a "great place to work", promoting initiatives that show respect for local communities, and high ethical standards. The companies have pledged to engage stakeholders and independent third parties in constructive dialogue to help fulfil their sustainable development commitments.

They will also aim to be open and active in communications "and help construction companies and other organisations in our supply chain to implement sustainable practices". Value for stakeholders is also on the charter, as companies say they will operate their businesses in an efficient and financially sustainable way, in order to provide construction solutions that satisfy customer needs and provide value to stakeholders.

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