Trinity Consultants, a leading global environmental consulting firm providing services and solutions in the EHS regulatory compliance, built environment, life sciences, and water and ecology markets, today released an environmental sustainability research report based on a survey that studied trends, challenges, and drivers surrounding decarbonization in the construction materials sector. The company commissioned independent research firm Verdantix to conduct a study of 100 sustainability executives across the construction materials sector in North America, spanning metals, wood products, cement, concrete, glass, and other related industries.
To summarize and provide actionable advice around the key research findings, Trinity Consultants will host a live webinar at noon CST Wednesday, Dec. 6, with senior leaders from the company’s sustainability and assurance team and a panel of experts from Verdantix, Holcim, and Steel Manufacturers Association. The panelists will unpack decarbonization trends, challenges, and drivers in the construction materials sector; explore the momentum building around short- and long-term strategies to enable a sustainable future; and determine what business leaders need to know today to plan for tomorrow. While the research is specific to the construction materials sector, the insights gleaned are applicable to nearly every industry, including electrical, manufacturing, and refining.
“Companies now recognize that decarbonization isn’t just a corporate responsibility; it’s also a powerful competitive differentiator,” said Wendy Merz, Trinity’ Consultants’ director of sustainability services. “This report shines a light on the path forward so that organizations can take the steps needed to ensure that they’re staffed with the right people—with the right technical and sector-specific expertise—to not only meet the demands of today but also pave the way for a more sustainable future.”
Key findings in the report include:
Nearly 60% of firms cite a lack of reporting standards expertise as the “most significant” or a “very significant” challenge when complying with sustainability reporting frameworks. Without sufficient expertise, staying up to date and in compliance with the requirements of new frameworks presents significant difficulty, as the standards require a deep understanding of sustainability concepts and metrics as well as expertise in data management.
For 84% of sustainability leaders, energy efficiency audits or energy conservation measures play a critical role in Scope 2 reduction strategies.
Six in 10 (62%) organizations cite supply chain pressure as either the “most significant” or a “very significant” driver of decarbonization. These firms have indirect, complex, and far-reaching networks, with Scope 3 emissions representing a significant portion of the company’s overall carbon footprint. Furthermore, 76% of organizations are driving Scope 3 emissions improvements through supplier management, coupled with implementing a life-cycle analysis (LCA) to evaluate the potential impacts of products and production from start to finish.
Many companies are finding it difficult to translate their decarbonization strategies into action, with 64% of organizations citing this as one of their top three challenges in meeting decarbonization objectives. Still others face challenges in building a business case or obtaining funding (69%) and identifying viable mitigation strategies (36%).
Among the firms surveyed, 55% want a partner with comprehensive environmental management services specific to their industry. Six in 10 (62%) firms value a partner with deep technical expertise to guide them from inception to execution, and the majority turn to professional services for risk and impact analysis and lifestyle assessments. Firms with $5 billion or more in revenue cited air emissions/climate science technical expertise as the most important factor when selecting a consulting firm.
One in five (21%) say that data collection systems or poor data quality is either the “most significant” or a “very significant” challenge to their ESG reporting workflows.
Verdantix gathered survey responses from leaders across EHS, ESG, and operations roles at companies in the North American construction materials sector with at least $250 million in annual revenue.