We are facing a climate crisis on an unprecedented scale.

Gary Danson

More UK businesses are looking to ‘go green’ as a way to reduce their impact on the environment, but for many, sustainability means extra costs in an already fragile economy.

The construction industry, in particular, has felt the squeeze, as housebuilders, civil engineering firms and commercial building contractors recorded their worst monthly performance in more than a decade in June, blaming Brexit uncertainty for the lack of new work.

So how can construction firms achieve both a sustainable operational approach and thrive under current circumstances?

The ‘big five’ areas of sustainability are transport, waste, energy, workplace and purchasing. By measuring your environmental footprint in these core areas, you will be able to identify the key issues and develop a sustainable strategy to minimise future carbon impacts.

New opportunities

In the long term, by minimising environmental and social impacts, construction businesses can reduce costs, control risk, improve reputation and create new business opportunities.

At Plastic Surgeon, we have seen our turnover increase by 94% in the last four years from £6.7m in 2014 to £13.1m in 2018 and much of this is because we have taken a stronger stance in helping UK housebuilders and construction firms reduce their environmental impact.

Zero-carbon home

Source: Shutterstock/Chinnapong

As the UK’s largest surface repair specialist, we have helped save 3,783 tonnes of waste in the last year from heading to landfill – that’s equivalent to 299 double-decker buses and an increase of 9% on the previous year.

Those statistics were achieved simply by repairing damaged items or fixtures on-site rather than replacing them, across the housebuilding and construction trades.

In fact, we work with some of the UK’s largest housebuilders, such as Barratt Developments, Bloor Homes and Taylor Wimpey, helping to repair everything from scratched doors, cracked tiles or worktops or chipped window frames, to stop items being unnecessarily sent to landfill.

Landfill target

The truth is, virtually any interior or exterior surface can be repaired, be it plastic, metal, ceramic or enamel, stone, brick, marble, glass or wood. Our own statistics suggest that every £1 spent on repair tends to save £3 in replacement, helping to keep the UK on track to meet the EU target to restrict biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill to 35% of the 1995 baseline, by 2020.

This commitment to reducing our environmental footprint has led to the business growing during strained economic times, and at a time where dedication to sustainability is scrutinised.

Ultimately, by establishing key sustainable objectives and implementing a strategic management system, UK businesses – including those within the construction sector – can ensure financial stability by minimising environmental and social impacts.

Gary Danson is a director at Plastic Surgeon