climate change


Design out CO2 from our products and services


30% reduction in CO2 per tonne of product compared to 1990.
(a 15% reduction compared to 2013)

"Climate change presents us with challenges, but our ability to innovate in this area is opening up new business opportunities and new ways to support our customers in the delivery of a low carbon built environment."

Dr Martyn Kenny, Sustainability Director

We are making progress right across our business and supply chain, using a whole life-cycle approach to design CO2 out of our products and services.

This includes working with suppliers to reduce CO2 from the goods and services we buy, cutting CO2 from our operations and transport, innovating lower CO2 products, services and solutions that reduce CO2 from the construction process or during the use of infrastructure and buildings.


CO2 reduction per tonne of product since 1990
Increase in use of waste derived fuels
Thermal input from waste derived fuels
Energy efficiency programmes

We have continued to embed the ISO 50001 energy management system across our entire business throughout 2017. We use this system to drive continuous improvement in energy and CO2 efficiency and to ensure all our operations are compliant with regulatory requirements, such as the UK government’s new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). We set every site a specific energy and CO2 target and require each to generate an energy reduction opportunities assessment. This process is supported the sharing of best practice energy efficiency measures across relevant operations.

In 2017 our company-wide ‘Re-energise’ campaign, which helps employees to identify ways to save energy, continued with the ‘Re-energise Calendar’. The Calendar provides employees with monthly energy efficiency ideas and opportunities to consider and address at their site. Using the Calendar employees are given support in areas such as improving pumping efficiency, fuel management systems and reducing electricity base load.

Dynamic demand

Our Dynamic Demand technology partnership with Open Energi, the UK’s leading Demand Side Response (DSR) Company, has continued throughout 2017. We have Dynamic Demand technology installed on more than 200 bitumen tanks at over 70 of our asphalt plants. When there is a high electricity demand on the national grid, the Dynamic Demand system automatically adjusts power consumption on our bitumen tanks to help manage the spike in demand, while ensuring that bitumen tanks are kept at the required temperature for production.

Using lower CO2 fuels

To help reduce CO2 emissions resulting from our cement manufacturing process, our cement business is increasing the use of waste-derived fuels and biomass fuels. By using waste-derived fuels we not only reduce our CO2 emissions; we conserve valuable natural resources and help to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. In 2017, 32% of the heat input to our cement kilns was produced from waste-derived fuels, including 17% from biomass. The types of fuels used in 2017 included waste tyres (whole or chipped), solid recovered fuel (SRF) from non-hazardous materials including paper, cardboard, plastics, textiles and wood chips, meat and bone meal (MBM), recycled liquid fuel, processed sewage pellets (PSP) and polymer chip. Fuels such as MBM and PSP are 100% biomass while tyres, SRF and polymer chip contain a proportion of biomass. The use of fuels containing biomass makes a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions as biomass is considered carbon neutral.
Within our materials business we have converted many of our asphalt plants to use lower CO2 fuels, for instance switching from the use of gas oil to natural gas or LPG.
Transport efficiency and telematics

A significant proportion of the constituent materials used to make our products are purchased local to source and road transport is often the most appropriate mode of transport. We continue to work hard to improve the way we use our vehicles. This has included maximising payloads to minimise the number of trips required. We also try to ensure where possible that we supply from the nearest available unit and plan delivery routes to avoid congestion. We regularly upgrade our fleet and are encouraging our contract hauliers to move to the latest generation of Euro VI engines. We have also invested in high tech fuel monitoring equipment on our marine dredging vessels to ensure we have the best possible understanding of our fuel use on board.

In 2017 we continued to invest in our rail facilities delivering on our commitment to transport more of our products by rail. In 2017, we opened a brand new rail aggregates handling depot at Garston, South Liverpool. This new operation, created in partnership with Freightliner and Rail Freight Services provides an additional 300,000 tonnes a year aggregate handling capacity, supplying customers in Merseyside and Cheshire. In 2017 we moved over 9 million tonnes of product by rail - the equivalent to removing 450,000 lorries load from our roads.

Working with suppliers

Encouraging suppliers to introduce energy efficiency measures which help to lower the carbon footprint of our business is an important element of our approach to responsible procurement. For example, our work with Flogas to develop a custom built LPG plant to deliver a seamless transition to a smarter, cleaner burning fuel, the first of its kind in the UK. These plants use a liquid LPG pumped system, incorporating fuel burners, to provide a total solution.
Product innovation

We support customers and end users to create more energy efficient, lower carbon buildings and infrastructure by considering the whole-life (capital and operational) carbon associated with our products by redesigning and rethinking the way we make them. Among options we consider are:

  • improving durability, meaning that products need to be replaced or maintained less frequently
  • using recycled or secondary materials in products, such as ground granulated blast furnace slag and fly ash instead of clinker to reduce the capital CO2 in cement or used road surfacing (Recycled Asphalt Planings) instead of primary materials in asphalt
  • creating new products that will produce lower carbon emissions – such as Ultilow, our lower temperature asphalt, which is manufactured at lower temperatures and therefore save on energy and CO2
  • providing customers with product carbon footprint information generated from our calculator tool that measures carbon across a project enabling better choices about design and what materials to use
  • raising awareness of the benefits of our materials in use through Solution Guides. Read our low carbon solution guide here.

Tarmac is a key signatory of the UK Government’s Infrastructure Carbon Review (ICR) which aims to cut 24 million tonnes CO2 from UK infrastructure projects by 2050. In support of the ICR we have played an active role in the development of a new publicly available standard PAS 2080, the world’s first specification for Carbon Management in Infrastructure. Read it here.

Reducing our footprint

By the end of 2017 we had achieved a 25.2% reduction in CO2 per tonne of product compared to 1990, which means we are making progress towards our 2020 target.
We categorise our greenhouse gas emissions into direct and indirect sources in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

What we mean by CO2e

Carbon dioxide is one of six greenhouse gases that are emitted when humans undertake certain activities. Other greenhouse gases include methane, nitrous oxide and ozone – all of which occur naturally in our atmosphere. To take into account the emission of other greenhouse gases when calculating the level of greenhouse gas emissions, scientists have devised an equivalent measure – CO2e (which literally means carbon dioxide equivalent). CO2e allows other greenhouse gas emissions to be expressed in terms of CO2 based on their relative global warming potential (GWP).

So when you see a carbon footprint expressed in terms of CO2e, you can know for sure that all greenhouse gases have been included for each activity under scope, and therefore a fuller picture of an organisation's impact has been captured.

Tarmac: CO2 emissions by scope

1000’s tCO2e %
Scope 1 2,358.5 87.4%
Scope 2 180.3 6.7%
Scope 3 158.6 5.9%
2,697.5 100%

Tarmac: Direct and indirect CO2 emissions

tCO2e %
Process emissions 1,320,810 52.0%
Coal 373,498 14.7%
Electricity 180,300 7.1%
Waste derived fuel (WDF) 192,694 7.6%
Natural gas 168,307 6.6%
Gas oil 152,153 6.0%
Petcoke 55,269 2.2%
Processed fuel oil (PFO) 41,875 1.7%
Kerosene 20,637 0.8%
Marine Diesel 2,043 0.1%
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) 30,217 1.2%

Tarmac: Energy use by source (GJ)

Energy use by source (GJ) %
Coal 3,961,000 25.7%
Electricity 1,846,283 11.9%
Waste derived fuel (WDF) 1,998,000 12.9%
Natural gas 3,340,221 21.7%
Gas oil 2,000,566 12.9%
Petcoke 595,000 3.9%
Processed fuel oil (PFO) 562,693 3.6%
Kerosene 300,154 1.9%
Marine Diesel 291,719 1.9%
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) 506,794 3.3%
Total 15,402,431 100.00%