Laing O’Rourke publishes FY23 Group sustainability report

Laing O’Rourke today published its FY23 Group sustainability report. The report provides detail of the company’s sustainability targets and strategy, its progress to date and features case studies of projects and initiatives that are driving progress.

FY23 has been a pivotal year in evolving the company’s sustainability strategy and setting up the right systems and processes to deliver on its key targets:

  • To be operationally net zero (Scopes 1 and 2) by 2030
  • To be a fully net zero company (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) before 2050
  • To achieve 50/50 gender balance by 2033 among its global staff

The report covers a wide range of sustainability-focused activity, including Laing O’Rourke’s commitments to help limit climate change through carbon reduction, to protect the natural environment, to support a fairer, more equitable society and a diverse, healthy workforce within its business.

Carbon performance

Laing O’Rourke has invested significant time and resource into improving data quality for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions across its global operations. This work has enabled the business to prioritise carbon reduction initiatives that will deliver the biggest impact, and to develop more granular near- and long-term carbon reduction goals aligned with science-based targets, which it intends to submit to the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) this year.

During the period the report covers (12 months to 31 March 2023), the company’s construction activity returned to pre-pandemic levels and this has resulted in a year-on-year increase in indirect emissions associated with materials. although the company has continued to achieve year-on-year reductions in direct emissions. 

In the UK, the business was a founding member of the ConcreteZero initiative. In 2023, Laing O’Rourke became the first contractor to mandate the use of low carbon concrete in its new UK projects. The company is challenging industry norms in Australia as a founding member of the Materials Embodied Carbon Leaders Alliance (MECLA), raising minimum standards on embodied carbon. It’s in-house Technology & Innovation team continues to undertake progressive work on ultra-low carbon materials, carbon efficient designs, products and solutions.

During the reporting period, the business completed its first full statement for the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Contained within its Annual Report, the voluntary statement identifies areas of full compliance, and those where more work is needed. It’s indicative of the steps the company is taking to centre sustainability at its strategic core.

Gender balance

Laing O’Rourke continues to make year-on-year progress towards its gender parity target, while recognising that there remains much work to do. Its Board is 50% female, and the Australia Executive Committee is 45% female. The Australian business has maintained 35% female participation across its staff. Among its UK staff, the proportion of women sits at 25%.

Work programmes are in place to support the 2033 target, including mentoring schemes, STEM programmes aimed at attracting young women into careers in construction and the provision of additional female healthcare benefits through the company’s health and wellbeing schemes.

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