Date published 15 July 2021

Due to years of dedicated and hard work Marshalls has reduced its carbon footprint by 50% since 2008.
We first published our carbon data back in 2004 and we’re currently the only UK construction materials manufacturer to have targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. To continue this good work, this week we have launched the Marshalls Climate Challenge e‐book, challenging our competitors and the rest of the construction industry to join us on the road to net‐zero.
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a joint initiative by CDP, the UN Global Compact, the
World Resources Institute and WWF whose aim is to increase corporate ambition on climate action by mobilising companies to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets consistent with the level of decarbonisation required by science to limit warming to well below 2°C compared to preindustrial temperatures and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
As a manufacturer of over 5,000 hard landscaping and building products, we are now calling on our competitors and other construction businesses to take meaningful action and set true, deliverable targets on reducing the industry’s carbon production, which currently makes up 19% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Marshalls’ Group Sustainability Director, Chris Harrop OBE, said: “We know the construction industry is one of the biggest global producers of carbon. We have an enormous role to play in helping to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, which is why we have set science‐based targets that are stretching but achievable and will make a real difference.
The story in the UK for construction is not a good one. Just when we should be making serious inroads into carbon emissions, the sector has seen its emissions rise by 45% since 1990.
Currently the earth is expected to reach a temperature increase of 1.5°C in less than 12 years, the consequences of which will ultimately lead to significant, detrimental and irreversible change to the planet we live on. The construction industry must act now.”
As the UK’s leading concrete and natural stone product manufacturer, we have been aware of our potential impact for a long time. Since 2004, we have strived to reduce carbon intensive cement in our concrete products without impacting on the lifespan of the product. Our initiatives to date have included:
  • Introducing renewable energy across all production sites
  • Reducing cement content in concrete block paving products by 60%
  • Introducing Euro 6 vehicles as standard across our fleet
  • Introducing solar panels at two sites, with a commitment to one major solar project per year going forward
Alongside setting our own science‐based targets, we have also called for the industry to put an end to greenwashing by setting its own targets for mitigating climate change and to publishing validated results.
As Chris Harrop explains, a lack of use of the consistent, industry‐wide standards can lead to misleading information for customers and end users. He says: "If a manufacturer offers a product that has a worse carbon footprint than one measured against a standard methodology to calculate carbon footprints, it's easy for them to simply create a methodology for measuring that product."
That’s why Marshalls is such a strong proponent of PAS2050, the specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services sponsored by the UK Government with the co‐operation of organisations such as The World Resources Institute/ The World Business
Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD), ISO (International Organisation for
Standardization) and the European Commission.
It is that lack of consistency that we believe leads some organisations to implement well intentioned policies and launch products that have little real impact on climate change and carbon reduction while other, less scrupulous organisations actively greenwash messages for short term commercial advantage.
Chris Harrop continues: "The biggest single thing that would make it easier to make an informed decision is consistency. We need to get to a point where everybody is on an even playing field, where everybody is open, honest, transparent and consistent about what they're measuring."
We share more details about our Climate Challenge on our website.