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Environmental Contractor of the Year: Winner

Winner: Sir Robert McAlpine

Sir Robert McAlpine has made impressive strides to becoming a more environmentally friendly contractor by putting sustainability at the heart of its business.

The firm’s focus on environmental performance intensified three years ago when it identified increasing demand among clients for better sustainability credentials.

To achieve this, Sir Robert McAlpine developed its Roadmap to Sustainable Contractor of Choice, which is embedded in its business strategy and sets sustainability targets for every level of the company.

More and more data is being collected by the firm on its environmental performance, which gives the whole organisation a clear understanding of how well it is progressing.

Progress in this area is reported to the executive board, not just the sustainability team.

This drive has seen the firm’s carbon emissions decline significantly, the amount of waste diverted from landfill increase, and the proportion of key building materials that are responsibly sourced rise to 87 per cent.

As a tier one contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine is working to improve the environmental performance of its suppliers through the Supply Chain Sustainability School, which it co-founded.

The company is collaborating with the mayor of London’s office to study the effect on the capital’s air quality from non-road mobile machinery and plant, and how this is managed at a site level.

Sir Robert McAlpine’s quest for sustainability excellence was tried and tested in its work on Bloomberg’s new headquarters in London.

“The company’s embracing of Scope 3 emissions goals is impressive, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the industry” 

Judges’ comment

Working with architect Foster + Partners, the contractor took the lead on pushing sustainability standards for the building to the limit.

The HQ was awarded what is said to be the highest ever design-stage BREEAM Outstanding score for a major office development, and is also shortlisted for the BREEAM 2018 awards.

As well as Bloomberg, McAlpine delivered the new US Embassy building in south London last year, which is also set to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating.

The company has come a long way in a relatively short time and is now focused on going even further.

It has begun talking to clients about Scope 3: an account and reporting standard that considers indirect emissions from sources such as purchased goods and leased assets.

Scope 3 also focuses on reducing embodied carbon, which takes account of CO2 emitted during material manufacturing – two factors that McAlpine plans to target moving forward.

The judges said: “The company’s embracing of Scope 3 emissions goals is impressive, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the industry.” 

McAlpine’s processes for turning its sustainability goals into results drew similar praise, as did the company’s efforts to challenge itself and others to hit higher targets. 

Highly commended: Keltbray Environmental

Keltbray’s use of barges to move excavated material was a simple yet effective measure to reduce plant emissions in an economical fashion, the judges noted.

The company estimates that one barge can do the work of 50 lorries in a single load. Also catching the judge’s attention was Keltbray’s investment in its restoration facility at Thames Wharf, which treats the excavated material so it can be reused or, if necessary, disposed of safely.

The judges said Keltbray’s entry showed “impressive technical knowledge” regarding its restoration process, as well as a commitment to lead the industry in this area of sustainability.


  • Aarsleff Ground Engineering
  • Bam Construct UK
  • Canary Wharf Contractors
  • Wates Group


Imtech logo 1

Imtech logo 1

Sponsored by: Imtech

Imtech is one of the largest independent technical service providers in the UK and Ireland.

The firm has extensive expertise and experience in engineering services, technical facilities management and systems integration. In 2017 it reported a turnover of £370m.

Imtech undertakes wide-ranging mechanical and electrical installation projects and maintenance contracts, working in numerous sectors including commercial, retail and government.

Working closely with its clients, the company aims to develop the right solutions by understanding the intricacies of each project.


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