BDC

Wienerberger UK & Ireland announces significant investment to accelerate sustainable growth strategy

Curtis_Production_Operative
  • New concrete tile manufacturing facility unlocks significant, additional capacity enabling organic growth, whilst reducing resource consumption and CO2 emissions
  • Investment in electric kilns at an existing facility, reduces reliance on natural gas.

Wienerberger is pleased to announce a significant investment in the construction of a brand-new concrete roof tile manufacturing facility in Kent, South East England along with the significant energy transformation of its Broomfleet factory near Hull in the North East.

These exciting new plans, designed to deliver organic growth from an increasingly efficient cost base, will bring a welcomed increase in production capacity, whilst also pressing ahead with decarbonisation plans as part of its ambitious Sustainability Roadmap.

The new, state-of-the-art concrete roof tile production facility will be sited next to its Smeed Dean brick factory, reinforcing Wienerberger’s commitment to UK operations and the South East in particular, where brick manufacture at Smeed Dean dates back to 1875.

The business will simultaneously complete the ambitious renovation of two of its Broomfleet factory lines, making it Europe’s first-ever clay roof-tile plant to completely eliminate the use of natural gas and the associated CO2 emissions from the drying and firing process, thus reducing the carbon emissions of these lines by an impressive 75%.

This announcement is representative of the company’s confidence in the market and is testament to its commitment to decarbonisation via innovation of products, services, and new methods of production. 

In 2021, Wienerberger UK & Ireland set out its Sustainability Roadmap ‘Let’s Build Beyond’, which outlined the vital actions the business would take to create enduring value for its stakeholders as it transitioned to a net-zero emission, nature-positive business.

Keith Barker, Chief Operating Officer, Wienerberger UK & Ireland commented, “We are aware of and want to tackle the issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and resource scarcity head-on by making sustainability the main driver of our company growth strategy. This investment demonstrates our commitment to expansion in the UK and Ireland market and, is fully aligned with our ambitions for the sustainable growth which will secure the future of our business.”

The new concrete tile-making facility will significantly increase the company’s production capacity enabling it to better serve the needs of its customers, with new and existing tile formats, providing additional capacity with lower CO2 emissions per square metre of installed roof.

The significant, transformational investment at its Broomfleet clay roof tile manufacturing site near Hull is driven by the desire to reduce resource consumption and CO2 output. Wienerberger has chosen the UK for the first commercial-scale implementation of electric kilns using 100% renewable energy within the clay roof-tile manufacturing sector. This is a key step towards realising its ambitious carbon reduction commitment and demonstrates consistent implementation of the Group’s ESG strategy.

Simon Nevitt, Operations Director and Board member at Wienerberger UK & Ireland commented “We recognise the importance of rapidly reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and we are achieving this through both product innovation, and manufacturing methods. This particular investment in two of our existing Broomfleet production lines eliminates our use of fossil fuels from the firing and drying processes, reducing the. carbon emissions (Scope 1 tCO2e) from this production line by 75%.”

The phased transition process is due to begin later this year. Going forward, customers will benefit from a range of products with reduced embodied carbon content, supporting the construction industry’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

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BDC 299 December 2022