Marshalls recognised as one of Europe’s climate change champions

Marshalls, the major landscaping product public limited company (PLC), has been recognised as a European Climate Leader in a list published by the Financial Times and Statista.

Marshalls is the only UK-based building materials company to feature on the list, although other companies that supply the UK are included – for example French-based St Gobain, among others.

You can see the whole list, plus an explanation of it, on the FT website at www.ft.com/climate-leaders-europe-2021.

The table is interactive and can be arranged according to various criteria, but on the basis of core CO2 emission reductions aligned with revenue growth year on year between 2014 and 2019, Marshalls comes out a respectable 218th. What are called core emissions are what the company itself produces plus those produced by the generation of the energy it uses.

There are 300 companies listed in total. They are those that, according to the FT and Statista, achieved the greatest reduction in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity in the five years to 2019.

Emissions intensity is defined as tonnes of emissions of CO2e per €1million of revenue. Co2e gives all greenhouse gasses a common number based on the amount of CO2 that would be needed to contribute an equivalent amount to global warming. 

Marshalls’ reduction of core GHG emissions 2014-2019 aligned with revenue growth was 8.1%, leaving it producing 82.2 tonnes of CO2e per €1million revenue.

Marshalls Group Sustainability Director Chris Harrop OBE (the OBE was in recognition of his role in championing ethical trading) says: “Being a European Climate Leader is such an achievement. This is a testament to the hard work we’ve been doing for a number of years now; sustainability is a big part of who we are and what we do. This is really significant for Marshalls and I’m proud that we are making big changes to tackle climate change.

“This achievement comes as we share that we have reduced our total carbon footprint by 50% since 2008.

“Climate change is very real for all of us – for us as a business but also for our customers. At Marshalls, we understand the role we have to play and we’ve taken some really big steps to reduce our carbon emissions, including getting approved science-based carbon reduction targets, installing solar panels and switching to green electricity.

“We also know that it’s vital that we help our customers make an active choice to reduce the impact of their purchasing decisions. In some of the sectors we operate in, our products have a footprint 50% lower than those of direct and substitute products.”

Marshalls supplies a range of natural stone and man-made hard landscaping products. It has been working with the Carbon Trust since 2008, using methodology outlined in PAS 2050 to calculate full cradle to grave carbon footprints for all its manufactured products.

Thomas Clark, Senior Partner, at Statista said: “Climate change is clearly the dominant long-term topic for us as a world community. Yet it is still very abstract for most people. That’s why the Financial Times and Statista decided to tackle it with the intention to make it more approachable.”

In 2020, Marshalls had carbon emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative – an organisation set up by the UN and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to set the standard for carbon reductions.

Working towards these targets, the latest move has been the installation of  250kW solar panels at the company’s Sittingbourne site in Kent, projected to generate 10-15% of the site’s overall energy needs.

Priority areas for carbon reduction include product innovation, fleet replacement and non-essential plastic reduction.