Blog: Sustainability SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - GRAHAM Environmental Management

17 June 2020

sponsored by Mulalley

Sustainability SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - GRAHAM Environmental Management

GRAHAM Environment Management is a privately owned construction company. They have a solid track record of environmental best practice and have worked hard to further enhance their reputation. With a long history of successfully delivering a wide range of civils and building projects throughout London and the south-east and, they are keen to expand.

Over the last five years, GRAHAM has set stretching organisational targets in reducing carbon. Their original goal of 25% reduction in carbon by 2020 has already been exceeded (they reduced emissions intensity by 30% from a 2014/15 baseline). This has allowed them to pursue an ambitious new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net-zero” by 2045 (with an interim target of 50% reduction by 2030). These targets are implemented at project level too. A Green Travel Plan is prepared for all sites. Employees were also supported in making positive environmental sustainability decisions. For example, those who drive to work were offered hybrid vehicles within all bands for company cars.

In addition to their strategic, company-wide objectives and targets, GRAHAM implements additional project-specific goals and targets. These are documented within the bespoke CEMP and SWMP and are approved by the assigned Project Manager who will ensure they are challenging but also realistic and achievable. Environmental performance is measured against the following basic areas. Values are determined on a project level utilising guidance from WRAP, CEEQUAL / BREEAM and Clients.

For example, the £22M Copthall leisure centre was completed to an exceptional specification and incorporated many sustainable features. GRAHAM applied the highest standards of environmental management throughout the construction process and delivered excellent statistics around waste management, carbon emissions and resource efficiency. The building’s regulated carbon emissions are 36% lower than the requirements for building regulations. 99.7% of all waste generated on this project has been diverted from landfill (WRAP advocate >90%); 0.713 tonnes of CO2e/£100k, 44% reduction against 1.236 tonnes target.

Achieving economic feasibility and sustainable commercial viability:

Financial savings via sustainable construction techniques - utilisation of digital construction (including BIM) has proven invaluable from an environmental perspective. Project efficiency and waste minimisation efforts benefited enormously from the application of ‘Clash Detection’ on BIM Level 2 Projects at Carpenters Land Bridge, AEC Brighton, Cambridge University Lot 5 and British Museum ARC.

Financial savings via resource efficiency - understanding the strong links between resource efficiency and economic success, a waste reduction focus has reduced overall spend on waste removal from sites and increased the amount of material reused on sites. For example, 99.7% of all waste generated on their Copthall project was diverted from landfill, the project finished with 0.713 tonnes of CO2e/£100k against a target of 1.236 tonnes CO2e/£100k – 44% below target. 

Financial Savings via emissions reductions - reduction of carbon emissions is a priority and they have made significant progress, including a 30% reduction in their greenhouse gas intensity ratio.

Enhanced reputation and improved stakeholder relationships - their approach to environmental sustainability has also helped to build reputation and trust with high profile clients and industry peers. They are also Partner Members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Organisational learning - policies and internal procedures modified to encompass aspects of good practice gained from experience of working in diverse fields.

People development - provision of environmental training at all levels within GRAHAM creating scope for employees to excel.


  • Achievement of excellent environmental stats around waste and efficiency with stretching targets for further gain
  • Exciting opportunities for improvement through adoption of new technologies and digital construction expertise
  • Excellent safety culture throughout internal team and supply chain

About the Sustainability Award: 

High environmental and climate performance in construction aims to meet present day needs for housing, working environments and infrastructure without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in times to come. It seeks to limit impact on the natural environment and demonstrate whole life sustainability. It is most effective when organisational culture, high design quality, technical innovation and transferability are abundant.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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