In recent years, along with everyone reading this I’m sure, the team here at Worldwide Structures Ltd. have become increasingly more aware of our impact on the environment. In June 2022, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) reported “major failures in delivery of programmes”, stating that the UK and devolved governments will not meet Net Zero targets by 2050 – so it’s safe to say we’re all feeling a duty to do our bit.
Looking to be part of the solution and not the problem, we wanted to better understand our carbon footprint, the impacts we’re having on the environment and the steps we can take to minimise this impact on a project-to-project basis.
This is when we decided to get in touch with Green Circle Solutions (GCS) so they could carry out a Business Impact Assessment Report on our behalf. This not only helped break down our day-to-day operations but uncover the impact of individual projects.
Every three years, we are lucky to attend and construct a temporary event space for a client at CONEXPO, North America’s largest construction trade show hosted in Las Vegas. We decided it would be most beneficial to compare a standard year of operations with one where we have this large-scale project to see what level of impact we’re having in different scenarios – giving us the opportunity to mitigate these no matter what.
Our structures provide clients with sustainable temporary structures for events, exhibitions, and trade shows. Operating with predominantly short-term rental and modular schemes, our materials usually return to stock for future use.
We do also manufacture and install semi-permanent structures that exist on a long-term rental, or even on an individually fully purchased basis.
Each project typically involves transport and logistic crews to ensure our structures arrive with plenty of time for installation.
There is a strong culture here at Worldwide Structures to re-purpose and reuse everything we can, even when intended uses can’t be met anymore. For example, used PVC roof membrane is cut down into smaller sizes to be used as stillage labels, packing materials are sold or donated as waterproof sheeting and pond liners wherever possible.
We do bring in a small number of new materials for projects such as wall sheets, timber flooring, glass, roof membranes etc. However, the only significant waste material is aluminium swarf which we recycle directly for reuse at a later date.
All energy is supplied via main grid electricity. This is contracted through Opus Energy, which declared a 100% renewable energy mix for the period our Business Impact Assessment Report was being carried out.
Our energy impact in relation to the scale of the business and our operations is classed as ‘extremely low’, partly due to our 100% renewable sources. The underlying carbon footprint of the business over a typical ‘pre-pandemic’ year was projected at 96 tonnes of CO2e. Whereas the impact of the CONEXPO project accounted for approximately 50% of the standard year footprint on its own, with sea freight and crew flights accounting for most of this impact.
Understandably, material consumption is a notable contributor to our overall footprint for the year. This is largely due to new aluminium (25%), however, the majority of this receives long-term repeated use through a variety of projects.
Worldwide Structures’ business waste is well managed and has virtually no impact overall.
Third-party haulage does account for a lot of our CO2e, calculated at around 20%. However, GCS noted that wherever possible our logistics were already partnered with other known suppliers working at the same events, allowing us to pool transport and lower the collective carbon emissions to reduce the environmental impact for everyone involved.
GCS described Worldwide Structures’ overall business practices and culture as “Already very much along the lines of circular thinking with maximum reuse, minimal waste, and shared travel options.”
Of course, we are extremely happy to receive such praise from a team of qualified sustainability professionals but equally pleased for the report to have resulted in a series of recommendations to help us continue to build towards a more sustainable future as a business.
If you’d like to see more of our sustainable projects, head over to our case studies page where we showcase some of our most unique and impressive work.