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Ibstock confirms investment to achieve net zero brick factory
Ibstock has confirmed its intention to make a £60m investment in its Atlas and Aldridge brick factories in the West Midlands. The Atlas brick factory in Walsall will be a pathfinder project to test and pilot operational efficiencies which, the company believes, will lead to Atlas becoming the world’s only net zero Scope 1 and 2 brick factory.
A combination of reduced process emissions and greater thermal efficiency will cut the carbon intensity of bricks produced at the Atlas site by 50% compared to the existing factory. The remaining emissions will be offset using high quality emission reduction projects.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Atlas project has been revised and expanded since the announcement of the original proposal in early 2020, with an increase in capacity and further significant enhancements to deliver improved environmental performance. The project now also includes investment to upgrade and expand capacity at the adjacent Aldridge brick factory.
Initially, the new Atlas investment will be net zero for Scope 1 and 2 emissions; Scope 3 will be addressed at a later date as part of the group’s longer-term sustainability strategy.
The group calculates that its net zero aims for Atlas will primarily be achieved through a rapid reduction in carbon emissions from the production process through significantly improved thermal efficiency, on-site renewable electricity generation and renewable energy procurement. For production from Atlas to reach net zero, the remaining emitted greenhouse gases will be offset through carbon credits or sequestration through rewilding or carbon capture and storage. Over time, Ibstock will reduce the offset proportion further by the adoption of additional emissions reduction measures.
The investment in Atlas will bring significant benefits to the local economy in terms of employment, local suppliers, opportunities and skills. It is expected that the renovated factory will support 50 manufacturing and engineering jobs.
Ibstock plc chief executive officer, Joe Hudson, said: “The net zero journey is one we share with our customers. We have seen a transformational shift in attitudes from all of our key stakeholders; and there is a ‘sea-change’ in how our customers, and, in turn, their customers, view environmental issues. As the UK’s leading brick manufacturer we recognise that we have to adapt and respond – and this is reflected in our Sustainability Roadmap to 2025.
“We have been leading the way for some time within our sector, with our investments in new production capacity at our Throckley, Chesteron, Eclipse and Lodge Lane plants all reducing the carbon intensity of the manufacturing process, and as the recipients of multiple sustainability awards. However, we can do more, and we can go further. Our plan to invest in Atlas is at the heart of this.”
Ibstock’s scope emissions explained:
Its carbon emissions are divided into three categories:
• Scope 1 emissions – direct greenhouse gas emissions from operations that are owned or controlled by Ibstock. This includes the emissions from processing and firing of all clays and raw materials, gas, LPG, gas oil, kerosene, coal-based materials and company cars and vans.
• Scope 2 emissions – indirect emissions from electricity Ibstock buys from the grid for use at its facilities (factories and offices).
• Scope 3 (other indirect) – emissions which result from Ibstock activities such as procurement, travel, water and waste.