Regular followers of Rye Demolition will know about our Sustainable Standard philosophy, which focuses on continual improvement across the business and making sure we make a positive impact everywhere we work.
Initiatives are spread across five pillars: Health & Safety, Environmental, Quality, People and Community.
We have a range of activities across these pillars which are pushing us to be better every day and, in 2021, we placed a major focus on enhancing our environmental credentials, recognising that we have a unique opportunity to contribute towards the UK’s net zero ambitions, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
As an industry, demolition can be perceived as dirty and polluting. Great big diggers and dozers, creating noise, dust, rubble and waste. Disruptive to local communities and potentially dangerous.
Our plea is ‘not guilty’!
There is an inevitability with demolition works. By definition there will be waste materials and heavy machinery is needed to complete the work in a safe and efficient manner. That said, to the uninformed lay-person, demolition contractors are not as polluting as it may initially appear.
At Rye Demolition we re-use or recycle about 98% of materials produced on site. Typically, only contaminated materials and hazardous waste like asbestos goes to landfill.
There is no getting away from the fact though that we do generate emissions through our work and so we are keen to do all we can to reduce them.
The Climate Pledge In November 2021 we signed up to The Climate Pledge, a group of organisations across the world that are committed to achieving net zero by 2040, 10 years ahead of the stated goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Climate Pledge was established in 2019 by Amazon and Global Optimism. Since then over 300 organisations have signed up to the Pledge, committing to emissions reduction, collaboration and investment in green technologies.
Other signatories include companies such as Mercedes Benz, Maersk Shipping, Uber, Siemens and many other blue chip organisations, alongside SMEs from many industries.
What does signing the pledge mean?
As signatories we are making 4 commitments:
For a small organisation such as Rye, while we are able to make a significant difference, this is not a simple process to undertake but we are committed to doing so.
We are currently undergoing our first audit cycle, through which we will have a greater understanding of our carbon footprint. This is an interesting and valuable exercise and has to be carried out within a structure framework, called the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) Protocol. There are set methods of reporting to ensure consistency and clarity.
Reporting is broken down between different emission scopes. A topic for another day, but well worth investigating to understand how we ensure emissions are appropriately categorised and not double counted.
On the back of this audit we will be able to identify the greatest opportunities for improvement. For us it is likely that our greatest opportunity will be based around the use of fuel. As our sites are based around London and the South East of England and much heavy machinery is used, fuel is a significant area of resource utilisation for Rye Demolition.
Intuitively we know this so, rather than wait around for the results of the audit, we have already taken action to reduce emissions in this area, being the first SME demolition organisation in the UK to transition our entire site and road fleet to HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), replacing diesel and thus reducing carbon emissions by up to 90%.
Once we have the confirmed results of our audit we will identify additional areas in which we can improve our environmental impact and take appropriate action.
Each step of the way we will report on these activities and continue seeking advice on how we can improve further.
Only when we’ve reached a point of not being able to eliminate emissions through activity change will we look to offset through credible and sustainable schemes.
Any offsetting must be suitably accredited and make a genuine, lasting impact to carbon reduction / absorption. It is not acceptable to use offsetting as the first port of call and doing so would not make a company net zero.
Over the coming months and years we’ll share our journey, lessons and new initiatives and hope to demonstrate that, not only can demolition be green, but Rye Demolition in particular can set the path for others.