ESG Initiatives

Environment

Sustainable

use of reserves and resources;

Responsible

use of key resources including raw material, mineral and water; 

Optimise

energy use and minimise impact of our operations on the environment;

Contribute

to sustainable construction and address environmental aspects either through production or consumption.

Sustainable

use of reserves and resources;

Responsible

use of key resources including raw material, mineral and water; 

Optimise

energy use and minimise impact of our operations on the environment;

Contribute

to sustainable construction and address environmental aspects either through production or consumption.

Biodiversity

As our extractive operations continue, areas that have been long since mined have been nurtured overtime. In 2020, we were proud to be able to give a large restored part of a previously working site back to the community where walking and cycling trails can be set up for the local communities to enjoy. We also conducted land swaps where areas of our ownership have been swapped with local farmers, thereby allowing them more land whilst in return giving us better access to mineral with less environmental impact. We also participated in smaller projects with more remote communities such as the planting of over 1,000 trees and the successful translocation of blue grass following ongoing operations at one of our sites.

Climate Change

2020 was our first year of SECR reporting and whilst this is limited to the UK, in the interests of full disclosure, we are voluntarily exceeding the minimum requirements set out in the 2018 Regulations by also including energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for operations outside of the UK. Further SECR details can be found in the next section.

Continuing our commitment to renewable energy where possible, we have signed the contract for the third phase of the solar photovoltaic extension, to be installed in 2021, increasing energy generation from 950MWh to 3,800MWh. We continuously look at alternative energy options across our other sites and are in discussions with various energy suppliers for the installation of solar farms to feed our plants with surplus being added to the grid.

With regards to energy use, we continue to extend our change over to LED lighting, and have already successfully completed most sites, with others still transitioning. We are also extending our focus on energy to our mobile plant, with several aging machines being upgraded to more fuel-efficient models, and one of our primary haulage contractors upgrading their fleet to Euro 6 HGV. As we show commitment, so do our employees, with several identifying the UK Government backed cycle scheme which we have supported.

To ensure we are not using fuel unnecessarily we roll out MachineMax that allows monitoring and management of our assets thereby reducing idle times and unnecessary operation.

Pollution & Resources

We regularly review our production processes to minimise resource use and waste generation. In 2020, we ensured where we do not already harvest rain water, we do so, thereby reducing the impact on water tables or potable water supply. In Belgium this has been taken one step further by ensuring a closed circuit which includes the supply of 40,000 families in the local community. 

Where waste does occur, we continue to have dedicated recycling functions and actively look to reuse it by feeding waste material back into our process.  

In additional to our own waste, we also review other industries waste to see what opportunities exist, such as for substitution in full or part of raw materials to minimise environmental impact. This includes working in conjunction with Natural UK to replace the use of conventional fibres in asphalt to using recycled, clean nappies from local recycling facilities.

In 2020 we developed Greenbloc, a cement free block that reduces the CO2 footprint of a traditional block by up to 77%. Further to this we also looked at our products to see how they themselves can reduce pollution and improve the environment. Through research and working in close partnerships with others, we are working with product ranges that not only offset aspects such as carbon, but also remove pollutions such as CO2, NOx and SOx.

Streamlined Energy
and Carbon Reporting (SECR)

Reporting Period

The annual reporting period is 1 January to 31 December each year and the energy and carbon emissions are aligned to this period. GD Harries was fully acquired on 21 September 2020, meaning energy and emissions are only included for this subsidiary from the date of full control as per the operational control approach. 

Organisational Boundary

In the interests of full disclosure, SigmaRoc has voluntarily exceeded the minimum requirements set out in the 2018 Regulations by also including energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for operations outside of the UK. Therefore, energy use and emissions are reported for assets and operations in the UK, the Channel Islands and Belgium, covering the entire Group as defined by the operational control approach.

Quantification & Reporting Methodologies

The 2019 UK Government Environmental Reporting Guidelines and the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition) were followed. The 2020 UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting were used in the majority of emission calculations with the exception of electricity emission factors for Belgium, Jersey and Guernsey. These ‘location-based’ factors were sourced from the Association of Issuing Bodies, Jersey Electricity and Guernsey Electricity respectively and exclude transmission and distribution losses. The report has been reviewed independently by Briar Consulting Engineers Limited. Electricity and gas consumption records were based on invoices, with some pro-rata and benchmark estimations carried out to complete missing data. Transport emissions were calculated from a combination of mileage and fuel records. Fuel used for off-highway fleet vehicles were reported separately from fuel used for other stationary machinery where possible. Gross calorific values were used except for mileage energy calculations as per Government GHG Conversion Factors.

The associated emissions are divided into mandatory and voluntary emissions according to the 2018 Regulations. For large unquoted organisations, the 2018 Regulations define mandatory emissions as purchased electricity, gas combustion and transport fuel purchased by the organisation (including company cars, off-highway fleet and expense claims for business mileage in personal
or hire cars). Reporting energy and emission sources outside of these sources is considered voluntary and reported separately.

The emissions are further divided into their relevant scopes as per the GHG Protocol. The scopes are defined as:

The intensity ratio is total gross emissions in metric tonnes CO2 equivalent per total million-pound (£m) turnover. This is calculated separately for ‘mandatory’ emissions and ‘mandatory & voluntary’ emissions for the UK, Channel Islands and Belgium. This financial metric is considered the most relevant to the company’s energy consuming activities and provides a good comparison of performance over time and across different organisations and sectors.

In the period 1 January to 31 December 2020 for UK operations, no specific energy efficiency actions were undertaken; however, in Belgium we have signed the contract for the third phase of the solar photovoltaic extension to be installed in 2021. This is set to increase energy generation from 950MWh to 3,800MWh.

Worker at CCP

Social

Ensure

people leave work in the same or better condition than when they arrived

Support

the physical and mental health of employees and their families

Attract

train, retain, and engage our workforce

Be a good neighbour

Source local, buy local, sell local, invest local

Ensure

people leave work in the same or better condition than when they arrived

Support

the physical and mental health of employees and their families

Attract

train, retain, and engage our workforce

Be a good neighbour

Source local, buy local, sell local, invest local

Health and Safety

November 2019 saw the re-issue of the group Health & Safety policy and framework, and during 2020 all then supervisor and managers put through IOSH and or NEBOSH training to support them and their commitment to the new Health & Safety policy and framework.  

We can take comfort in that our overall incident rate has reduced by 6% and that our LTIFR has reduced again in 2020 by 22% and that one of our businesses was one of the first in our industry to achieve the new ISO 45001. This year, at least 2 other businesses should achieve ISO 45001, subject to any ongoing travel restriction. 

Health and safety engagement sees positive trends both locally with local management teams engaged with worker representatives, unions and local government and across the groups with the recent introduction of HighVizz, a mobile engagement and safety management system, as well as monthly cross business safety meetings and the Group safety committee. 

The Group safety committee is chaired by our CEO, Max Vermorken and as of 2021 will be joined by Non-Executive Director Tim Hall. The committee:

During a time of unprecedented global pandemic, we have leveraged our various programs such as Employee Assistance Programs, cash plans with access to medical and counselling services, buddy systems that allow peers to call each other even if it is to just say “hi, how are you doing” and Rehabilitation programs that allow people to be returned to work, regardless if they are hurt at home or not to ensure that not only are our staff’s physical and mental health proactively supported, but also their loved ones at home.  

As of 2020 we have engaged programs to review our entire employee benefits such as life assurance and healthcare to expand out offering throughout the businesses and through 2021 we remain committed to continuing to improve the health, mental wellbeing and safety of our staff, contractors and visitors.

Our approach to health and safety extends beyond our own walls; by engaging our communities, we can help minimise health and safety matters with regards to visitors, contractors and customers coming on to our sites. After serving the maximum nine years term as a voluntary Board member of the Jersey Safety Council, Mike Osborne stood down during 2020 with Kirsten du Heaume being elected independently to serve on the council, keeping Ronez at the front of the behavioural safety agenda in Jersey. In Guernsey we are proud to have Seamus Gillespie as a committee member of Guernsey Occupational Safety and Health Association.

Employees and Communities Engagement

It is essential that we attract and recruit the best candidates for our jobs by focusing on their overall potential both in terms of technical capability but equally importantly in terms of their soft skills. By offering autonomy within our businesses, each employee can not only become part of the business, but they can help the business become part of the community. By being locally focused, each business can focus on what is important to their communities, be it support with local schools, sports teams or charities.

In 2020, we saw many of our staff achieve service levels that are a testament to the culture we look to have and retain in our businesses; a working environment where people feel part of a family. Across a business of close to 1,000 employees 32% have dedicated 15 years to our businesses. 

As proud as it is to have such long serving members of staff, we also focus on ensuring that those at the very start of their working lives have the opportunity to become long serving members of the team. This starts at the very beginning, even before people are job hunting and are in school looking at career directions. 

Across our businesses we engage with informal and formal work experience such as Project Trident in 2020 providing work experience for school students under the mentorship of technical and operational staff; and cooperation with Universities and industrial training centers in the UK, Europe and America. 

Nearly all of our workforce are directly employed by our businesses with almost 80% working in operational and manufacturing roles.

In 2020, our local presence and commitment led us to become aware of, engage with, and help support approximately 50 people facing redundancy in unprecedent times for a high-profile project who otherwise would have been made redundant. Since the end of the project, we have retained people and helped others with finding jobs elsewhere. 

Our support takes many forms from supporting local charities, be it fundraising, material or services, to our teams volunteering their time, knowledge and skills.

It is our industry and our people that have led us to be where we are today, and it is testimony to our employees that they want to continue to support where they have come from, often volunteering time outside of normal working hours; Industry working parties, Board member of national industrial federations, director and committee roles of business councils and associations as well as offering educational commitments ranging from schools to universities.

Governance

Promote

QCA and Corporate Governance Codes

Ensure

proactive Board oversight and independence of committees

Focus

on risk management & mitigation (including cyber) and conversion of risk into generation of opportunity

Ensure

transparency and disclosure on both reporting and tax

Corporate Governance

Two independent non-executive directors, including new independent chairs for the audit, remuneration and nominations committees (see page 68), and a highly qualified inhouse general counsel, with a specialty in ECM were appointed in 2020.

This has led to a full review of all existing corporate governance handbook and going forward will ensure not only our compliance with the QCA Corporate Governance Code but alignment with best practice wherever possible.

In addition to the formal boards and committees we have also engaged an independent advisory board in Belgium, consisting of Emmanuel Maes (former CEO DeCloedt), Pascal Lesoinne (former CEO Heidelberg Belgium), Christophe de Limburg Stirum (Investor and entrepreneur specialising in Industrial companies) and Patrick Dolberg (former CEO Holcim Europe). The function of this board is to ensure that within Belgium and Europe we have a governance structure that can work on a local level where there are jurisdictional differences.

Risk Management

In the current business climate, where remote working and communication has become essential, we have reviewed our cyber protection with both insurance policies in place as well as cyber risk management software that allow for testing and training of cyber security. In addition, through our service providers, security checks are performed on a regular basis both at Group and subsidiary level. 

Transparency

Engagement of a full time CFO to ensure adequate time has been dedicated to ensuring accurate and transparent reporting as well as overall compliance. This has included the separation of our tax and audit partners as well as the appointment of a training provider on Criminal Finances Act 2017 that was undertaken in early 2021.  

We maintain our policies such as Anti Bribery & Corruption, which is overseen by the Board and trained annually and cascaded throughout the business, as well as our Whistleblowing policy. The Whistleblowing policy gives its employees, or indeed any other third party, the means to raise concerns in confidence and (if they wish) anonymously. The Audit Committee reviews reports on notifications received and ensures that arrangements are in place for the proportionate and independent investigation of such matters and for follow up action. 

We are also committed to having transparency with all of our Shareholders and as per last annual reports and interim reports we will continue to give a presentation webinar to all Shareholders with an online or moderated Q&A session.

Sustainability Roadmap

In 2020 we committed to define SigmaRoc’s framework following review of international and industry standards. We agreed commitment statements have already started work and disclosure on various aspects, including safety and CO2 emissions and launch of sustainable products such as Greenbloc. Through ongoing engagement with investors we continue to identify areas of focus and disclosure.

2020 was our first year of collating information for SECR. We will continue to set up practical and meaningful measuring processes to help determine more relevant and quantifiable targets as well as our ongoing contribution to national industry bodies.

Having captured all practical and meaningful data, we can identify those areas of focus that can bring the biggest wins for the overall position and performance of the company. Short and long term targets can be captured and disclosed.

We continue to monitor, disclose and drive
continual improvement.