‘Halving CO2 emissions is an achievable goal’

Wouter Schakel

With a bachelor’s in physics, a master’s in energy science and a PhD in sustainable energy in his pocket, Sustainability Manager Wouter Schakel feels very much at home at BAM. Since joining in April 2018 he has been closely involved in the development of the Group’s sustainability strategy.

‘One of my responsibilities is to consolidate and report the sustainability data from all operating companies. Our most important benchmark here is the Carbon Disclosure Project, a global organisation that supports businesses, cities and provinces in the way they report the environmental impact of their activities.’

‘In addition, our team is working to develop and implement a sustainability policy based on SBTs, which stands for “science-based targets”. These SBTs provide a scientific framework for our transition towards a low-carbon economy and our efforts to stay within the 2°C temperature rise.’

How sustainable is BAM?

‘Soon after joining BAM I noticed that the level of ambition is high with respect to sustainability, but the planning horizon is often short. Which is probably typical for the construction industry. If you really want to make a change, it’s also important to develop a more comprehensive vision with longer-term objectives. With the SBTs we can bridge the gap between our short-term goals and our long-term vision: to be a net-positive organisation in 2050. The targets are concrete starting points for the development of practical measures.’

BAM wants to halve its CO2 emissions. Is that even possible?

‘Our goal to halve CO2 emissions in 2030 compared to 2015 may seem ambitious, but in fact it will realistically be possible to achieve this even without major investments. BAM has been working to reduce emissions since 2008. Between 2015 and 2018 we have already achieved a 10% reduction, mostly by using our energy sources more efficiently. Now we’re taking this further with measures to reduce energy consumption. One of our goals is to make our offices energy neutral, which will be a clear signal of our commitment. Another is to “green” our vehicle fleet by promoting the use of electric cars.’

‘In operations we are also taking steps, for instance by improving the sustainability of our asphalt plants, building energy-neutral site offices and deploying hybrid equipment. Also, we expect to be able to increasingly electrify our plant and equipment.’

‘But we can’t do it all by ourselves. The science-based targets are helping us to take the lead in our industry. Together with our partners in the chain – think major suppliers of steel and concrete – we will be able to reduce CO2 emissions.’