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Seizing career opportunities and progressing on our journey to Net Zero Carbon

James joined the Travis Perkins Group in 2010 as the Environmental Solutions Manager, based in what was previously our Supply Chain Department. Then, his key objective was to oversee the backhaul of recycling from our branches to our distribution centres (DCs) where it was reprocessed into new products.

He was also responsible for embedding the ISO 14001 environmental management system and delivering environmental projects linked to improving energy efficiency at the DCs. At Travis Perkins, our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach has been developed following consultations with stakeholders, including colleagues, because we value their input in determining the areas that are most material to our businesses.

 ‘I now take the lead on key environmental focus areas such as Net Zero Carbon and Waste Management whilst also supporting the timber chain of custody programme and maintaining our ISO 1001 certification.’

In 2013, an opportunity arose for James to take a secondment in the central Environment Team, where his role naturally expanded to encompass more responsibilities, and in 2019 James transferred to the newly formed Sustainability Team as Group Head of Environment, overseeing key environmental focus areas.

When asked why he came to work at the Group and within the team, James said ‘In my experience Travis Perkins is great at recognising people’s potential and provides the opportunities to develop their management and leadership skills required to enhance their careers.’ We always recognise colleagues who want to take on more responsibility and help us drive sustainability.

We asked James what he thought our biggest achievement as a Group in our approach to the environment to-date.

‘We’ve achieved a lot at Travis Perkins across a number of different areas but our actions on waste management and carbon reduction stand out the most for me.’

Last year we reported that 94% of our waste was diverted from landfill and we managed to reduce our carbon intensity by 45% from a 2013 baseline which was fantastic news. However, maintaining our certification to ISO 14001 , which is a globally recognised standard for environmental management, for well over a decade, has been James’ most proud achievement. It clearly demonstrates to all our stakeholders that we are fully committed to continual environmental improvement.

The Group leadership team offers tremendous support, yet it’s the dedication and efforts of colleagues to minimise environmental risk which James believes is our biggest asset. Some of our operational sites, like any business, pose certain risks whether it’s fuel storage, waste management or vehicle emissions. However, every year we’re able to demonstrate that our management system successfully controls these activities to reduce any negative environmental impacts.

More recently, the business's approval of our Net Zero Carbon (NZC) 2035 target (for our Scope 1 and 2 emissions) is a huge achievement, which James is proud to be leading.

‘It shows our appetite to not only reduce our own emissions but to take a leading position to influence others in our market and beyond.’

We also spoke to James about the biggest challenges we face as a Group on our sustainable journey. We wanted to get a clearer picture of how we are tackling this opportunity to drive change for our environment, and he broke it down into three key elements: operational, commercial, and practical.

‘Operationally, the biggest challenge we face as a Group will be the decarbonisation of our vehicle fleet.’

With over 3,000 vehicles, mainly HGVs, we are dependent on vehicle manufacturers developing the low carbon solutions and the government to provide the supporting infrastructure, such as charging points etc. Our NZC roadmap already outlines our short, medium, and long-term plans but with new technologies being developed, it is crucial we find the right solution for the business that can sustain long term carbon reductions.

‘Commercially, the biggest challenge is supporting our whole industry to reduce carbon.’

Whether that is helping customers to move on to new heating technologies or improved building fabrics, or enabling the transition to Modern Methods of Construction, James feels we have a real challenge and huge opportunity to drive forward the changes that are needed.

‘Practically, another challenge we face on our sustainability journey is the size and complexity of our workforce.’

With over 20,000 employees across the country, it is vital we engage with everyone effectively to ensure they join us on our ESG journey. We’re looking forward to training our colleagues and providing awareness materials to upskill and empower them to take action.

Regarding career opportunities for new colleagues helping us accelerate this change, James sees a bright future.

‘The entire ESG agenda is moving at such a fast pace, the opportunities seem to be endless.’

Since starting his sustainability career in 2003, James says he has not previously seen such commitment from across different sectors, with everyone wanting to achieve the same goal. ‘I think we’ll see a natural evolution of our services, to offer our customers guidance and support on low carbon buildings and sharing what we’ve delivered in our own business. There will no doubt be a range of new roles to help deliver our ESG agenda and in particular the environmental opportunities across the business.’

There will be a greater need for project support colleagues to help implement low carbon measures on new developments and retrofit programmes, and trainers to help our customers understand low carbon technologies, and how they can be embedded in their projects. We’ll also need roles to influence our suppliers and encourage sustainable product design and building design, and of course internal environmental champions to raise awareness across our own estate.

‘If you’re considering a future career at TP – which I fully recommend – I can guarantee you will, in some way shape or form, be involved in our sustainability plans.’

Travis Perkins is extremely enthusiastic and passionate about delivering our ESG targets and we’re always encouraging everyone to get involved. We’ve all seen the impact human activity is having on the planet, with climate change, resource scarcity and deforestation all proving to be global challenges that we must fight together.

‘The main reason I've remained at the Group is because the business has continually demonstrated its desire to fully embrace ESG and take a leading position on key areas, such as Net Zero Carbon, which aligns with my own personal aspirations.’


Explore our latest opportunities and help us on our journey to Net Zero Carbon

As the leading builders’ merchants in the UK, our Group is in a prime position to guide the green recovery, influence suppliers to develop low carbon products and help our customers embed sustainability into the heart of their projects - why would you want to be anywhere else! Browse our current roles and join our team.

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