ESG and why it matters to the asphalt paving industry

As the essential material for the UK road network’s expansion and maintenance, asphalt is integral to improve transportation and support sustainable development. However, the pollution and levels of waste generated by the asphalt paving industry can pose a significant threat to the environment.

With environmental, social and corporate governance values, also known as ESG values, the asphalt paving industry has an opportunity to step up and keep pace with the sustainability guidelines. Changes to the cultural and regulatory landscape have accelerated the progress of the ESG agenda, but at Asphalt Group, sustainability has always been at the core of what we do and the reasoning behind our premium asphalt solutions.

What are ESG values?

In its simplest form, ESG is an instrument for evaluating companies on how far advanced they are with sustainability in its broadest sense, covering environmental, social and governance factors.

Environmental factors include the contribution a company makes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, along with waste management and energy efficiency — themes pertinent to the asphalt paving sector.

Social factors include human rights, labour standards in the supply chain, and workplace health and safety. We know that health and safety is something our sector has championed for many years.

The final component is governance, which refers to a set of rules or principles defining rights, responsibilities and expectations between different stakeholders in the governance of corporations to balance the expectations of employers and employees.

Why does ESG matter to Asphalt Group and the rest of our industry?

Instilling environmental, social and governance strategies is now essential for contractors and suppliers who wish to trade ethically. We at Asphalt Group have committed to building a long-term ESG policy and to delivering a sustainable organisation through our commitment to accredited work (we are Triple ISO-accredited) and the unique long-lasting nature of our asphalt solutions.

Asphalt Group truly believe that our sector has an opportunity to take a leadership role in sustainable practices by embracing ESG holistically and proactively. Government regulations and sustainability goals set the precedent for how asphalt suppliers and contractors work on the UK’s road network. However, if we as a sector can adopt ESG values ahead of regulatory milestones, in every aspect of business from carbon reduction to ethical employment practices, we will be doing the best for ourselves and our planet. Furthermore, from a business angle, consumer behaviour is now geared towards making sustainable choices and those who are slow to adopt ESG values into their business will soon start to see they fall behind.

Over recent decades, there has rightly been a significant focus on sustainability, achieved through a fully embedded circular economy approach. Our goal is to be the most sustainable road asset management company in the UK and help local authorities to meet CO2 reduction targets by 2050. The Asphalt Group are working towards a carbon-neutral fleet of asphalting vehicles and our production process has already achieved a significant reduction in emissions. Our premium solutions – including, Reinforcement, Surface Dressing and Preservation – simply help road assets to last much longer and cut down the requirement for replacement and maintenance. This obviously offers economic benefit to our clients, but most importantly cuts down carbon emissions.  

Sustainability is only a single pillar of the ESG umbrella, however. At Asphalt Group, we see the importance of ESG relating to many areas such as diversity, inclusion, honesty and integrity, at every level of our organisation. Only by taking a holistic approach can we truly stand by our ESG credentials and pave the way to a sustainable future.