CASE STUDY: Balfour Beatty

Encouraging supply chain innovation to reduce carbon emissions

Balfour Beatty aims to make continuous improvements to our products, services and processes.  We are keen to nurture and unlock innovation wherever possible, with the combined goals of reducing carbon emissions, and improving the efficiency, safety and delivery of our work for the customer.

Our supply chain partners are market experts and often have the specialist knowledge to enable us to invest in new products, materials and services once they are ready for market. Innovation that helps to differentiate Balfour Beatty or make us more efficient, encourages growth and in turn provides more opportunities for our suppliers. We want to encourage our supply chains to generate new ideas and share them with us.

Our Innovation Gateway is a tool that allows our partners to put forward innovative ideas relating to products, materials and services, with feedback process in place that keeps them informed. This could be a big, ‘game changing’ idea or something which brings about an incremental but important improvement in the way we deliver our projects.  We evaluate the ideas and engage in constructive discussion about them. If the ideas are workable, we will pilot them before making them available across our projects. This is just one of the many ongoing improvements that we are currently making to encourage innovation within our supply chain.

Balfour Beatty is a founding Partner of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, an industry-led organisation which aims to improve sustainability performance throughout the construction and infrastructure supply chains. We are committed to supporting our suppliers in improving their capability to deliver sustainability outcomes for our customers and the Supply Chain Sustainability School plays a major role in building awareness and providing a support network which reaches the grass roots of our industry.

The tools and resources it provides to our suppliers are helping us to be a better business and overcoming sustainability challenges with a common industry wide approach. We are members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s carbon special interest group and are developing tools for the construction supply chain to enable them to report carbon, creating transparency and consistency in reporting across the sector.

The School provides CPD accredited e-learning modules and training workshops, tailored self-assessment and action plans, benchmarking tools, networking opportunities and access to thousands of online resources. The resources cover ten key topics: biodiversity, employment, skills & ethics, energy and carbon, environmental management, local business & community and materials, sustainable procurement, sustainability strategy, waste and water. Detailed information is given for the common building materials we use today; bricks, concrete, glass, steel, stone and timber.