Laing O’Rourke sets ambitious sustainability goals

Laing O'Rourke's centre of excellence for modern construction. The company has set ambitious sustainability goals, aiming to become net zero and achieve gender balance among its 5,500 global staff.

Laing O’Rourke has announced far-reaching new global sustainability targets, including a commitment to decarbonise its own operations by 2030 and achieve equal numbers of men and women among its 5,500 global staff.

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

The company says its new goals are critical to its mission to be the recognised leader for innovation and excellence, while seeing off-site manufacturing-led construction as the catalyst for safe, inclusive, long-term careers.

The ambitious targets were unveiled as Samantha Hoe-Richardson was appointed as Laing O’Rourke’s group advisor on climate change and sustainability. Ray O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke group CEO, said: “As a family owned business, we have long been focused on delivering lasting benefits to our clients, our people and the communities our 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.

“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.

“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 group director, Madeleina Loughrey-Grant, said: “The people across our business are driven by a strong sense of purpose, innovation and curiosity and, through the power of our collective experience, we will find the solutions needed to solve some of the biggest issues of our time. We will continue to challenge ourselves as we redefine how we deliver for our clients and for society, and in how we care for our people.”

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see Laing O’Rourke stepping up its public sustainability commitments at this point in time – and to become a net zero carbon firm across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2050. Accompanying this carbon commitment with highly ambitious targets on diversity, wellbeing and jobs through innovative construction methods should also ensure the firm plays its part in delivering a just and fair decarbonisation transition. UKGBC looks forward to supporting Laing O’Rourke achieve its goals and collaborate with others along the way.”

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