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Priority Plumbing is a Saint-Gobain business based in London and we seek to employ people from within the local communities near our branches. To support this aim, we have developed good relationships with local job centres that work with the School of Hard Knocks – a social inclusion charity that supports people who are not in education, employment or training. The charity uses sport and mentoring to help people improve their confidence, teamwork and employability.

Ambesajr Teklezion turned to the School of Hard Knocks after finding himself unemployed and looking for a career change. We met him at one of their job fairs that bring students and business partners together. We were so impressed with his keen interest in DIY and knowledge of sales that we decided to employ him as a full-time supervisor at our Stratford branch.

Everyone at the job fair came across very well and showed a real interest in what we do. We are now hoping to develop a partnership that will continue to thrive and introduce us to a diverse source of new talent for future appointments.



YOU’RE part of something bigger. That was the core message behind the Saint-Gobain colleague CSR roadshows which took place in the first three months of 2016. More than 2,300 colleagues from Saint-Gobain’s businesses took part in the roadshows which took place across the UK and Ireland from Coventry to Glasgow and Belfast to Kilrush.

Not only was it a chance to hear about Saint-Gobain’s priorities and what sustainable habitat means but there was so much more, JP Corry Branch Manager Neil McGeown said: “I thought it would be focused on sustainable habitat and corporate responsibility but it was great to hear how the company is enhancing people’s daily lives and to understand how vital it is that Saint-Gobain operates in a responsible way so we face the next 350 years as a formidable and strong group. It was informative, fun and genuinely made me proud to be a Saint-Gobain employee. I particularly enjoyed the interactive games which allowed all attendees to participate, to learn and win prizes.”

Saint-Gobain’s core strategy to enhance daily life, through its sustainable habitat strategy was brought to life in a sensory container which showed the Multi-Comfort concept, Saint-Gobain’s sustainable building concept. 

Richard Halderthay, Saint-Gobain’s Director of Communications, said: “The roadshows were a fantastic way for our colleagues to understand how they contribute to our success. Many were surprised at the interactive elements but we wanted to try and really engage colleagues in understanding the pillars of CSR and how, daily, they can have an impact on our performance and, in a small way on the future of our business.

Look at more photos from the Roadshows on our Flickr channel, here.


Addressing our production waste

In 2016 we launched our new sustainable resource policy, which encourages all of our businesses and brands to play their part in the movement towards a circular economy - a move that requires our combined efforts. But what is a circular economy and why is it important to us?

The concept of a circular economy focuses on keeping resources in use for as long as possible whilst getting the maximum value from them. It then recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of their service life.

So how are we doing in this area? We have reduced the amount we send to landfill by 11% but we are aware that we need to do more in order to reduce this further – our target is to not send any waste to landfill by 2020, which will be a real challenge for us.

We are also incorporating the maximum amount of material that we can back into our own products. For example we are currently putting waste gypsum into new plaster board and glass cullet back into flat glass. We are only at the beginning of our journey of moving towards a more circular economy and are continually experimenting to find ways to extend the life of all of our materials. 

To help us do this we have assembled a Sustainable Resource Management Group. The group is in place to ensure that sure that we continue to look for the best and innovative techniques and tools in this area, that we benchmark our performance, that we have consistent and common indicators for monitoring and reporting and that we promote best practice across our activities and brands. Over the course of the next few years we’ll also be working with our suppliers and customers in this area.

Our 2016 CSR report recognises the areas in which we are progressing, but is also open about the areas where we need to focus more. With continued hard work we remain hopeful that we will achieve our 2020 goal.

In 2017 we will be publishing more details on how we are progressing and our actions to meet our target, as we know our stakeholders are interested in this important area.

To read our CSR Review please visit



At Saint-Gobain, we’re putting sustainability at the centre of product development and began training our senior managers in late 2013. We’ve developed a cross-functional toolkit and surpassed our training target six months early.  We want to develop products that reduce the environmental impact of buildings over their entire life cycle. So we consider sustainability from the start of the development process. 

We’ve developed a one-day training course, presenting an eco-innovation toolkit and the chance to practise using it. Tools include 360 degree analysis, helping us look at opportunities for sustainability in product development from all angles – from raw materials to legislation.We target the training at cross-functional teams within our brands, so all business areas’ needs are taken into account during the development process.

By August 2015 we'd trained 158 colleagues and we’ve now tailored courses to reflect different roles in product development, piloting it within our building distribution businesses. We aim to drive use of eco-innovation tools by developing follow-up training and targets for our businesses.



All new suppliers and existing suppliers with contracts over €100,000 must sign our Supplier Charter. We aim for 100% compliance in the UK and Ireland by 2018 and have made strong progress towards this goal.  As a mandatory requirement, 100% of new suppliers have signed the Supplier Charter in the last two years. By the end of 2015, nearly half (46%) of existing suppliers with contracts worth in excess of €100,000 had signed up.

In addition to the Charter, main contractors complete an ethical self-assessment online and provide evidence of their social and environmental practices and certifications. Performance is independently rated by EcoVadis. In 2015, nearly two-thirds (60%) of our large and high-risk suppliers completed an ethical assessment (2018 target: 90%). Any high-risk suppliers with a poor rating receive a comprehensive CSR site audit by independent experts, Intertek.

The number of site visits varies, depending on the need, but averages around three per year. In 2015, site audits were completed for two suppliers identified as high risk. Following an audit, we work with the supplier to help them strengthen their CSR performance.



In 2015 Saint-Gobain was an official partner to COP21 where an agreement was reached to keep global temperature increases "well below" 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Saint-Gobain fully supports this agreement and has published a document setting out our Climate Commitments..

We strongly believe that Saint-Gobain is part of the solution to combatting climate change and are one of the 100 Climate Champions of the Caring for Climate – a Global Compact Initiative which brings together companies ready to commit to an internal carbon price. As part of this commitment, in early 2016, Saint-Gobain introduced an internal shadow carbon price to enable us to fully evaluate the potential of future investments based also on the cost of carbon.

Factoring in the future cost of carbon for capital expenditure decisions gives us a clear and compelling focus for targeting carbon reductions.



Saint-Gobain is a founding member of the UK’s Passivhaus Trust and provides innovative materials, solutions and training to enable architects, contractors and tradesmen to achieve the Passivhaus energy and thermal efficiency standard. MultiComfort is the ultimate sustainable buildings concept requiring five holistic comforts. 

Typically, we spend over 90% of our time indoors or in vehicles. Research shows that around 44% of UK householders experience problems with draughts. Toxic Home Syndrome - where poor indoor air quality results in poor health - affects over 15 million properties. In offices, 99% of workers say they are distracted by background noise. Studies show that lack of natural daylight can reduce productivity by up to 15%. 

Incorporating current top environmental standards, the Multi-Comfort buildings concept sustainably addresses multiple issues: Thermal comfort relatively stable temperatures that are not too hot or cold, Audio comfort  balanced to enhance sound yet block unwanted noise, Visual comfort  the right type and the right amount of light, Indoor air comfort fresh, clean air supply that’s free of pollutants, Economic comfort   affordable construction, running and maintenance.

MultiComfort Buildings have a specific criteria and performance level which is applicable for both new build and renovation of residential, commercial, schools and healthcare properties. Saint-Gobain is now in the proof of concept stage. The first non-residential exemplar - The King’s School, Worcester - was completed in  2016.



With nearly 3,000 heavy and light goods vehicles, we recognise the need to focus attention on reducing the impacts of our commercial fleet.  We make 16,500 customer deliveries every day. On UK roads, you’ll find a vehicle making a Saint-Gobain delivery every nine miles. Covering more than 66 million miles a year, our distribution operations, together with our distribution car fleet are responsible for 66,500 tonnes of annual CO2e emissions.

Saint-Gobain operates an 8-year renewal cycle for HGVs. As we replace old vehicles, we are introducing more fuel-efficient models with Euro 6-compliant engines that emit fewer polluting exhaust emissions. By the end of December 2015, we had upgraded 7.6% of our fleet with new Euro 6 trucks.

We are also investing heavily in telematics to assist in the reduction of accidents and negative environmental and economic impacts caused by driver behaviour. The technology monitors harsh accelerating and braking as well as engine idling. The best-performing drivers are entered into our Driver of the Year Awards. 



Building information modelling (BIM) enables virtual construction before building work starts - making projects more efficient and promoting collaboration. To streamline the process for customers, we’re creating a portal for all our brands’ BIM object data.

Our customers are constantly challenged to improve productivity and deliver successful projects, despite tight budgets and schedules, and sometimes limited or conflicting information. BIM allows for problems to be worked out before they become costly and minimises waste on-site. We support the government’s BIM strategy, which calls for the use of open, standardised and sharable BIM asset information. We’re working on a Saint-Gobain BIM portal which will collect digitalised data on our products from all 41 of our business brands, so that our customers can access it easily, all in one place.

This will mean our data is of the highest possible quality, for the widest range of products including pipes, glass, plasterboard and other materials.



We believe in helping young people reach their potential and in attracting new, diverse talent to our businesses. To support up-and-coming female leaders, we sponsor and take part in Warwick University’s Sprint Programme

Across our businesses, less than one in six (15%) management roles are held by women. It’s a balance we’re committed to improving. Saint-Gobain has chosen to co-sponsor Sprint to address the inequalities facing female graduates.

Through four days of workshops, the programme builds self-belief, confidence and assertiveness for around 40 students. It’s also a chance for them to network with the sponsor organisations.

A female senior manager from Saint-Gobain takes part as a speaker and role model, inspiring the students with her story and achievements and giving tips for success. Women managers also take part as student mentors, offering support and advice at one-to-one mentoring sessions for three months.



Working together with Associated Architects and building contractor Speller Metcalfe, Saint-Gobain is putting the concept of Multi-Comfort school buildings into practice at The King’s School in Worcester. The £1.2m multi-purpose sports and drama hall was completed in Spring 2016.

As part of the evidence base, building performance data on the old hall is being collected over a six-month period. This includes monitoring the thermal, sound, light, humidity and CO2 levels, as well as measuring energy inputs. At the same time, qualitative research was being carried out among users of the current hall, including teachers, pupils and members of local community groups.

The new hall has been designed to offer superior thermal, audio and visual comfort as well as improved internal air quality. The hall will be monitored for two years after completion and data sent to BRE for third party verification. The qualitative studies will also be repeated to enable 360-degree comparison.

Since autumn 2015, we have been partnering with the University of Nottingham on a residential renovation proof of concept project. This will be included in the syllabus for architectural students, giving them practical future-focused training while providing us with independent data.

For the latest news, visit 


Reducing our carbon emissions impact

With 45 manufacturing sites and over 1100 retail sites in the UK & Ireland we recognise the importance of reducing our impact on the environment. Manufacturing energy use is key to our performance in this area. As is the impact of our buildings, our vehicle and lorry fleet and the energy we purchase.  

In 2016 we made a conscious decision to change our energy suppliers and are now purchasing renewable energy for our UK operations. This move has reduced our CO2 emissions by 92.5%; down from 180,330 tonnes of CO2 to 13,560 tonnes.

However, as our business grows we are still using more energy to meet the growing demands of producing more materials, which in-turn has increased our energy usage and our emissions. Our challenge now is to ensure that we continue to grow our business to the benefit of our customers and employees; whilst at the same time reduce our emissions and decouple our growth from our energy and emissions.

Our goal is to reduce the emissions we produce by 20% by 2025.

We are proud to say that 100% of our large energy usage sites have achieved ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certification and 78.7% of our energy is covered by ISO 50001 certification. Being ISO accredited is important to us as the management system helps us combine best practices, energy monitoring and awareness - shaping our approach towards our energy use. We are also part of the Triad programme*.

We are also focused on ensuring that the products we manufacture help our customers reduce their own carbon footprints, and the significant carbon footprint of buildings, which accounts for 40% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.

The energy savings generated by our insulation products are 90 times greater than the emissions used to manufacture them, and it only takes three months on average for these products to offset these emissions.

Our 2016 CSR report recognises the areas in which we are progressing, but is also open about the areas where we need to focus more. With continued hard work and the advice we receive from an external advisory panel we remain hopeful that we will achieve our 2025 goal.

In 2017 we will be publishing more details on how we are progressing and our actions to meet our target, as we know our stakeholders are interested in this important area.

To read our CSR review, or to find out more about our CSR policies, please visit


*The Triad Programme - large businesses/energy users are asked to reduce their energy consumption at periods of peak demand on the grid.


Helping to Build Better Communities

In 2015, Jewson, a Saint-Gobain brand launched 'Building Better Communities to find community projects in need of support to help enhance their community building. The main prize winner, was the RNLI Penlee Lifeboat Station in Penzance, which – with a £50,000 contribution from Jewson – is in the process of being rebuilt to give deserving volunteers a brand new base

Building on this success the 2016 competition was launched in March 2016, and saw more than 1,800 community projects nominated. With the help of employees and suppliers from across the UK, Jewson narrowed the number down to a shortlist of 59. The shortlist was then put to a public vote and, following further judging, Jewson announced The Eden-Rose Coppice Trust as the winner of the main prize, alongside 27 regional winners, who will receive anything from £1,000 to £6,000 to spend on building materials.

The Eden-Rose Coppice Trust won the main prize of a £150,000Saint-Gobain MultiComfort transformation for their project to provide a sanctuary for people living with cancer or terminal illnesses.

David Fenton, Marketing Director at Jewson, said: “A massive congratulations to all of the winning Building Better Communities projects! We received a huge number of entries so it’s a great achievement for the winners and we can’t wait to see the work take place. We recognise that there are community buildings across the UK in need of some care and attention, so we upped the prize for 2016 to ensure that we help turn these buildings into spaces that entire communities can enjoy.”


80% retention rate is why we hire so many apprentices

Hiring around 70 apprentices each year, including a number in Wales, Jewson’s HR Manager for south Wales and the West believes the apprenticeship scheme plays a vital role in the business, attracting a younger demographic and bringing new ideas to adapt to the evolving needs in construction industry.

Carole Allsopp, Human Resource Manager for Jewson in the South West and Wales said: “One of the main advantages for hiring apprentices is what it brings in terms of diversity to our business and to the wider Group that Jewson is a part of, Saint-Gobain. Five years ago we employed virtually no colleagues under the age of 20. Largely due to our decision to champion apprenticeship schemes, we have changed this, and now employ 128 colleagues below the age of 20, which is growing all the time.”

Currently employing 81 apprentices across the UK, Jewson has benefitted from excellent quality training and a high retention rate, and continue to invest in apprentices.  

Keiron Ashton, from Abercynon started with Jewson three years ago joining straight from school.  The 20 year-old said: ““I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone; I don’t know what I’d be doing if I hadn’t applied for this role. My confidence as well as my knowledge has improved so much and I’m looking forward to progressing within the business, it’s really been the making of me.”



By law, gypsum can only be sent to mono-cell landfill sites in Ireland. As there are none, waste plasterboard should be sent for specialist disposal.  During summer 2015, Gyproc conducted a trial to assess the viability of running a plasterboard recycling scheme similar to British Gypsum’s.

British Gypsum’s long-running plasterboard recycling scheme has, however, proven it is more cost effective for customers to recycle plasterboard offcuts than dispose of them elsewhere. The scheme also recovers valuable raw materials and enables the business to contribute towards the circular economy.

Working in partnership with Allied Recycling over a three-month period, Gyproc offered certain customers the opportunity to have a special onsite skip and have their plasterboard waste recycled in a fully traceable way. Allied Recycling collected the waste from the customer, sorted measured and took it to our factory for reprocessing into stucco. We will have enough data from the trial to allow us to evaluate how to roll this project out to our wider customer base. 



Saint-Gobain adds direct economic value to many stakeholders across our UK value chain – from suppliers and employees through to the public purse and voluntary sector. We also add value indirectly to local economies through the reinvestment of sales and salaries by our customers and employees as well as training delivered to tradespeople in each area.



























Reinvested in economy*


























Social costs


























Reinvested in economy*













Corp Tax







































Non-employees trained














* calculated using a MPC of 0.62

**  local figures not available – part of 5,741 trained in total



Saint-Gobain Weber has worked with Simmonds Transport since 2010, at its Telford site and 2014 at Telford and Flitwick. The contract was awarded mainly for the supplier’s service, safety and pricing record. The company’s environmental commitments were a bonus.

Simmonds has been using biodiesel since 2006 and invested in local biofuel producer, Regenesis, in 2013. Derived from a 100% sustainable feedstock, the low-energy biodiesel production process delivers a carbon neutral product. The Envirox fuel additive delivers at least 5% fuel efficiency in addition to reduced carbon emissions.

To cope with UK weather conditions, the fleet serving Weber is run on B50 biofuel (50% biodiesel mixed with conventional diesel). In 2014, the company travelled a total of 455,000 miles making Weber customer deliveries, consuming nearly 260,000 litres of fuel. Every litre of biodiesel reduces CO2 emissions by 1.56kg, resulting in 202 tonnes of CO2e savings for the year - equivalent to taking 42.5 passenger cars off the road.



At Saint-Gobain we seek to understand the learnings and challenges with moving progressively to a circular economy in the construction industry.

In Scotland, with our partner CMS, we have worked with them to collect glass windows that are due to be upgraded. The old glass is separated from the frames, transported to our glass factory in Eggborough for reuse in the manufacture of new glass which is made into new double/triple glazing units supplied to CMS by our brand, Glassolutions. We have now extended this pilot to allow tradesmen in Scotland to bring old windows to our branches, when they collect new windows for installation. The old glass is recycled, while the plastic/wood frames are shredded and reused in post-manufacture.  

The learnings from this pilot, and others in Leeds, will influence the design and development of our products and solutions for the future. We are only at the start of the journey.  The circular economy provides huge potential value and opportunity, but it comes with risk and a great deal of learning is required along the way.



We take a two-pronged approach to limiting emissions from our energy usage. Firstly, we look at ways of reducing consumption across our operations and buildings. Secondly, we seek to source low carbon and renewable energy supplies. At all times, we have to ensure that the environmental solutions we choose are economically sustainable.

During 2014 & 2015, our manufacturing output in the UK and Ireland rose by 10% on average, with some businesses experiencing larger growth. A key challenge for our manufacturing business is to decouple carbon emissions from production so that we are able to meet our targets to reduce CO2 by 20% by 2025.

A further key challenge for our business is that we collect data in a variety of different ways, across our 34 operating businesses. This makes reporting aggregated data for complex, and inhibits our ability to be able to report on units of carbon per production output - a long-term aspiration for us.



Q&A with Alan Holcombe, Purchasing Director

Here Alan talks about  people development in the Delegation’s purchasing function.

 Q: What type of training do you provide? We offer a 2-day Purchasing Methodology training programme as well as professional negotiating skills training.

 Q: How many people do you train a year? In the past year, over 100 people have received professional development & 65 have been on our Purchasing Methodology course.

Q: Where does CSR come in? Buyers must sign the Saint-Gobain Purchaser’s Charter committing to environmental and socially responsible purchasing. CSR purchasing discussions are included in the Purchasing Methodology course.

 Q: What do the Working Groups do? We established a network of sustainable procurement working groups 3years ago to transfer knowledge. E.g. the Packaging Group helped us achieve 100% FSC wooden pallets for all our UK businesses- reuse is now the focus. The Energy Reduction Group is working together to improve energy efficiency across all concerned sites.    



2015 was an important year in Saint-Gobain's approach to reporting on its core carbon and energy use. As a result of our desire to be open about our key environmental impacts, and part of our evolution in data collection we introduced two new aspects to our carbon and energy reporting.

Firstly, we reported on our Scope 1 [direct] emissions and our Scope 2 [indirect emissions]. We are now working on additional aspects of our Scope 2 emissions, and are beginning to look at how we can also report on aspects of our Scope 3 reporting, such as third-party transport, air travel and waste disposal.

Secondly, we enlarged the scope of our energy and carbon reporting to also include our 1,100 retail branches, alongside our large manufaturing units.

In 2015 our Scope 1 COemissons were: 346,251 tonnes & 66,500 tonnes from our Building Distribution fleet of cars and commercial vehicles. Scope 2 indirect emissions from purchased electricity for our large manufacturing sites were: 180,330 tonnes CO2.



Safety is paramount at Saint-Gobain and we’re on our way to reaching our zero harm target. Twenty of our businesses have now achieved ‘millionaire status’ – operating a million hours, or five years, without a lost-time accident.

Our total lost-time accident frequency rate for 2015 was 1.4 (2014: 1.1). Since 2013, we have more than halved our non-lost time total recordable accident rate – from 6.8 to 2.8.

We’ve driven improvement through a highly visible campaign, safety observations and recognition of good practice. Our target zero campaign aims to keep safety front of mind for everyone and aims to influence behaviours.

SMAT (Senior Management Audit Tool) is a practical tool managers use to observe and talk through team members’ work practices. It helps identify safe behaviours and resolve unsafe ones and we have benefitted from it for seven years. Usage topped over 38,000 SMAT observations in 2014 and 28,469 in 2015.


Building a career without boundaries

At Saint-Gobain, we want our people to reach their full potential by prioritising mobility and personal development. We provide the opportunities, tools and experiences to help people take control over their career paths.

We have been active during 2014 and 2015 encouraging employees to take comntrol of their development, build long-term careers in the Group and aim to reach their full potential. We measure a number of aspects of training and development including how many people move within our Group to take on new roles and how much training each employee undertakes each year.

In 2015, a total of 306 people enjoyed career moves (2014: 170). This includes internal promotions; moves between businesses; moves between functions and international mobility.

Over the year, 8,132 employees undertook a total of 157,264 hours’ training, up from 7,000 colleagues and 147,000 hours in 2014.


Glass Closed-Loop Collaboration in Scotland

Working in partnership means we can achieve more. We apply this principle to tackling shared challenges like reducing the need for virgin natural resources. In Scotland, with partner CMS we are closing the loop on construction waste and turning glass ‘waste’ into a vital raw material, reducing the need for virgin sand and limestone.

As CMS upgrade their customer’s windows glass from the old windows is separated from the frames, crushed and transported by us to our glass production facility in Eggborough, one of the most efficient and modern glass production lines in the world. Here it enters our production process and is transformed into new glass to make new double/triple glazing units which are supplied back to CMS. We include up to 30% recycled material in the making of float glass, which has helped enabled us reduce energy consumption by 8%, raw materials by 25% and CO2 emissions by 10%.

We have now extended this pilot to also allow tradesmen in Scotland to bring old windows into our Jewson branches, when they collect new windows for installation. This glass is also recycled and reused to make new glass, while the plastic/wood frames are shredded and reused in post-manufacture.  



In 2015, we generated 16% less manufacturing waste across our concerned sites, compared to 2013. We also decreased waste to landfill by 2.8%. Although we have made good progress on total waste, we are still behind plan to achieve our target of sending zero production waste to landfill by 2020.

In 2014, our waste to landfill increased by 7% due to issues at the British Gypsum site at Robertsbridge, Sussex, where their ‘fluffy’ paper-based waste recovery route ceased. We have since re-established the route, but the incident shows how dependent we are on external factors.  

Our closed loop glass recycling pilot run with Veolia – to recover waste cullet from PAM and Saint-Gobain Glassolutions and reprocess it into large-scale building blocks ­– is ongoing. The Waste Reduction Group (WRG) will determine its future after assessing various metric including how to apply best practice technology and techniques to tackle pipe and insulation waste onsite.



When we’re healthier and happier, we’re a more sustainable workforce. Thousands of Saint-Gobain people are using our Fit4Work/Fit4Life platform to take control of their health – and by signing up to the government’s Public Heath Responsibility Deal, we’re cementing our promise to support them.

We spend a third of our lives at work. As a company we can make a real difference promoting a better quality of life. In 2013, we launched our innovative Fit4Work/Fit4Life programme with AXA PPP, including a digital gateway for people to take ownership of their health and wellbeing. By answering lifestyle questions, they discover their health age and are given practical advice to improve it.

The gateway has proven popular with more than 3,000 colleagues using it to take ownership of their health and wellbeing. From a business perspective, the measurement of disease, lifestyle and psychological risks has provided insights into the physical and mental wellbeing of our workforce. lready it has recorded 720 colleagues who have reduced psychological, diet and cardiovascular risks with support from the gateway.


Supporting Government offsite sustainable construction project

Saint-Gobain is a key part in a £104 million project to develop sustainable construction.  The 4-year initiative led by Laing O’Rourke, will promote new factory-based manufacturing techniques in sustainable house building. The Laing O’Rourke led project is funded by the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).

AMSCI funding provides research and development support, skills training and investment capital and encourages major new suppliers to ‘re-shore’ in the UK. The project has also been funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills who awarded a £22.1 million grant to accelerate new house building technology to help meet challenges of sustainable buildings.

Saint-Gobain is committed to supporting the growth of the offsite construction market and to building on the work of many of our brands to support this activity. Saint-Gobain is able to supply high-performance solutions, across a wider range of product areas to meet the needs of offsite, smart construction and factory-based manufacturing techniques. We work closely with the AMSCI project team in order to inform the design of the project, meet the supply needs of the project in areas such as: sub-assembled kitchens, integrated bathrooms, glazing cassettes, logistics and sub-assembly. Andy Higson, Strategic Relationship Leader for Offsite Manufaturing at Saint-Gobain said: "We are committed to ensuring that aspects of building design, particularly how the health and wellbeing of future occupants are considered as an important part of the project.

Saint-Gobain’s General Delegate, Mike Chaldecott leads the Innovation in Buildings Workstream of the Construction Leadership Council, which is charged with delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy for the Construction Sector.



Since February 2016, Saint-Gobain brands have been partnering with a leading contractor in the residential sector, MACS Plasterboard, to provide training to inmates at HM Prison Highpoint South in Suffolk.

The initiative aims to equip prisoners nearing the end of their sentence with the skills and confidence that will enable them to compete for jobs in the industry and help plug the current skills gap in the sector.

British Gypsum and Gibbs & Dandy have donated materials for the training sessions, which provide hands-on experience in dry lining and plastering plus practical advice in health and safety, re-entering the workforce, working on site and salary expectations.

The partners hope the scheme will provide prisoners with a springboard into work and reduce re-offending following their release. Trainees are being offered work experience opportunities with MACS Plasterboard. Saint-Gobain Technical Academies will support the long-term skills development of individuals who remain in the industry.


Entrepreneurship Foundation

Saint-Gobain is committed to countering the skills shortage in construction and supporting sustainable skills. In 2015, we launched our Entrepreneurship Foundation to provide free, practical support and mentoring to 200 small businesses by 2020.

We have a responsibility to help small businesses attract more people, embrace sustainable technologies and give firms the tools they need to succeed. Our pioneering class of 2015 was made up of 22 small enterprises, from tiling firms to sustainable building assessors. They’ve been linked with a Saint-Gobain mentor and given a year of hands-on training about sustainable building practices. Working with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), we’re helping to develop their business skills, from strategy to marketing.

Training was conducted at our Academies in Birmingham and Flitwick and we’re now reviewing the way in which SME professionals access construction training and how we can make better use our business assets to support them. This includes the possibility of expanding the programme into Scotland. Will our entrepreneurs become multi-million-pound companies? Watch this space, and a film about the Entrepreneurship Foundation here.


Interview: being a responsible neighbour. Our third key CSR theme

“As we use natural resources directly in the manufacture of our products, careful stewardship of resources and reducing the environmental impact of our operations are key priorities“, commented Richard Batley CSR Director for Saint-Gobain in the UK & Ireland when discussing the third key theme of the businesses CSR approach.


“We actively deploy eco-innovation processes to reduce the embodied carbon in our products and invest in life-cycle assessment to understand our products’ impact on a building’s carbon footprint. Where possible, we use recycled materials in our processes, recover and reuse products for closed-loop operations, reduce our own waste and help our customers to do the same. We also invest in programmes to progressively de-carbonise our energy sources.


Making significant progress in these areas is not always easy. In some cases, new business models, a more mature supply chain and considerable process and behavioural changes are needed. All of which require long-term investment and collaboration with partners. “



Reducing our energy use [by 15% by 2025], and decarbonising our energy supply are key aspects of our Energy Strategy. By the end of December 2015, Saint-Gobain met the UK Energy Savings Obligation Scheme (ESOS) compliance through internal and external energy audits across our sites and having five of our businesses ISO 50001 certified. These audits provide insight and opportunities for considerable further energy savings across our business in the years ahead.

Our British Gypsum, Gyproc Ireland, Saint-Gobain Glass Eggborough site and Rencol and Pasquill timber businesses have acheived certification to the energy management system standard ISO 50001. Our Energy Reduction Group continues to assess and address the energy efficiency of our buildings.

During 2014/2015 our energy consumption of both gas and electricity was 1,940,994 MWh in 2014 and 2,193,979 MWh in 2015. We also purchased the output of three UK-based anaerobic digestion (AD) plants fuelled mostly by maize silage in 2014. These support our strategy of reducing embodied carbon in our products and moving to zero carbon emission supplies.



The funding from the Saint-Gobain Initiatives Foundation was a first in the UK and Ireland. More importantly, it also acted as a catalyst for further support, not just from Saint-Gobain in Ireland, but among the wider construction industry.  The official opening of the new housing units for the McVerry Trust in Dublin made the headlines and made people think differently about ways to deal with the social housing and homelessness issues facing the capital.

Find out more in the short film, Moving On, which captures the impact this project has had on the lives of two young homeless people who moved into a new home. The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has since signed an agreement with the Trust to renovate a 12-apartment block. We are providing information and materials for the programme.

Homelessness is not the only problem the Trust has to tackle. Many of their tenants need rehabilitating into daily life and ultimately into employment. Over the next 12 months, we’re hoping to assist them with training 12 people in the skills of the dry lining and plastering trades.



We aim to align our training with the needs of the marketplace and new courses and approaches are enabling us to reach more people. The Specialist Upskilling Programme (SUP), launched in 2015, is currently one of our most popular courses. Developed in response to the Stockerl review and regulations to address the issue of 23,000 labourers in the internal construction industry without any formal qualifications.

Run with four colleges, the Gyproc Partnership’s programme leads to NVQ level 2 for Interior Systems Dry Lining Fixers and qualifies for CITB grants. 

THISTLE COLLEGE PARTNERSHIP: There is good demand for all types of training, including apprenticeships. As a result, we’ve chnaged our approach to apprenticeship training focusing now on support for our Thistle College Partnership, working with 69 colleges across the country who’ll be able to train over 4,000 apprentices and non-sponsored students a year.  We’re training the tutors, upskilling them with the latest construction knowledge, practical techniques and learning resources. We’re also providing the colleges with products to learn with and an online Hub with learning resources and how to videos.



We’re preparing more LCAs (Life Cycle Assessments) and EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) for our customers than ever before to help them understand the environmental footprint of our products.  

LCAs evaluate the total environmental impact of a product by looking at each stage of the life cycle – from raw materials to end of life. EPDs are the key facts distilled into a usable format, like nutritional guidelines on food labels. They are a sustainability priority for Saint-Gobain businesses as they help customers increase efficiency, meet legislative requirements and improve performance. They help with the assessment of whole building schemes, so contractors and architects can deliver improved performance against sustainable building standards.

At the end of 2015, we had 61 accredited EPDs spread across different brands. The year before, we had 14, and all were for British Gypsum products – so we're good progress is being made. All our brands have EPDs in development or planned for 2016-17. 



Since forming our partnership with experts AXA and launched our health gateway, which is open to all employees at home or work, the results have been dramatic.

In 2015:

1,034      years taken off employees’ health age

720         employee health and well-being related risks reduced

43.2        average health age

41.2        average actual age

We have a long-term target to reduce the health age of colleagues by 10 years by 2030 and 5 years by 2020. e’ve also taken our commitment to health one step further. We have made three Public Health Responsibility Deal pledges, focusing on alcohol, chronic illness and accredited healthcare services.

 Read more here.



Building diverse and inclusive workforces is a challenge for our industry, with gender balance and ageing among the key issues. We believe having a diverse workforce creates the best teams capable of making better decisions, supporting our customers better and helping to manage and grow our business.

The ratio of female managers increased from 13% to 15% in 2014, yet remained static in 2015. Over the same timeframe,  women in non-management roles fell from 20% (2014) to 18% (2015). The percentage of employees under 26 years has increased annually: 2013: 7%; 2014: 10%; 2015: 11%

At Saint-Gobain, we’re determined to accelerate progress and make inclusiveness a reality across all our businesses. In 2014, we carried out research with a diverse group of senior leaders to understand their viewpoint and how to help them embed change. It gave us a valuable insight: they wanted a clear vision and a practical understanding of how to build an inclusive work environment. We designed a new training programme and have been rolling it out across the region, starting with executive and leadership teams.



When trainee designer, Josh Trigg, fromPasquill in Boston won the Under 25s Career Development prize at the 2014 TTJ Awards, he was thrilled with both the external recognition and internal congratulations. He was also full of praise for his colleagues: 

“It’s very important that I acknowledge the efforts made by Ross and Lokesh in putting me forward for the award, as well as the team here at Boston – whose dedication and patience in teaching me is the main reason for my progression this year.

“I feel very lucky to have become part of a company so committed to internal development, and I’m very much looking forward to my future with Pasquill and hopefully continued success within my team here at Boston.”

-  Josh Trigg 


Academic Collaboration to improve housing quality

Saint-Gobain has collaborated on recent work of an Academic-Practitioner Partnership to publish ‘Good Housing: Better Health’ and call for wider recognition of issues related to housing quality, such as health, energy efficiency, poverty and social inclusion.Christopher Watson, Group Chair and Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham, said: “We need more homes in the UK, however, building new houses will not address problems in the existing stock including: disrepair, cold homes, overcrowding, high maintenance and running costs and it is essential that policy addresses the condition, affordability, suitability, appropriateness and security of this housing.

The paper presented actions to improve understanding of how better housing contributes to better occupant health e.g estimation in 2011 that leaving people in the poorest housing in England costs the NHS £1.4 billion in first year treatment costs alone.

Jade Lewis, Director of Advocacy, Saint-Gobain in the UK & Ireland, said: “The UK has the oldest housing stock and highest medical costs associated with inadequate housing of any of the European countries. Collaboration between academia and industry is crucial to help address current issues with housing stock, and move the policy agenda away from simply energy efficiency, to one where policy makers take into account all aspects of comfort, health and wellbeing in housing policy.”

This paper was prepared by a wide range of groups concerned with improving the UK’s housing: BRE; Care & Repair England; Chartered Institute of Environmental Health; Chartered Institute of Housing; De Montfort University, Leicester; Housing Vision; International Federation of Environmental Health; Northern Housing Consortium; Public Health England; Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland; University of Birmingham; University of Bristol; University of Warwick.



Our ambition is to invent a sustainable built environment that offers multi-comforts for the user; creates benefits for the developer and significantly reduces the impact of buildings on the environment. To bring the Saint-Gobain solution to market, we recognised the need to enhance our people’s capabilities with a body of knowledge that can differentiate us.  In 2014, we developed a two-day training programme structured around the MultiComfort concept. The Building Science programme is designed to create professionals within our business who can create a differentiated relationship with the customer. The face-to-face training is supported with an eLearning programme, available through our BOOST platform.

Feedback shows the training has boosted knowledge and confidence: “A key learning was how to help architects understand the MultiComfort approach – for example, how the acoustics on paper will meet what they need and be comfortable for the end users.”

“The course heped me gain a clearer understanding of Saint-Gobain' Sustainable Habitat Strategy, learn how each brand can actively contribute and make key contacts to help future collaboration".



Saint-Gobain is committed to sourcing 100% sustainable timber by 2020. In 2014, we faced a reputational issue over the sourcing of a small amount of Ipe (Brazilian walnut), as noted in our 2013 CSR review. Although care was taken in sourcing Ipe - a non-standard item, due to the lack regular FSC supply - we took immediate action following the allegations by campaign group, Greenpeace.

Following the allegations we provided evidence that due diligence was fully taken, including species and origin country risk assessments, kept customers informed, suspended more Ipe purchases and quarantined the one plank in stock and engaged directly with Greepeace.

The UK’s timber regulator – the National Measurement Office (NMO) – launched an investigation into our International Timber business, which concluded in October 2014. Their verdict was that we had exercised due diligence in respect of the European Timber Regulations [EUTR].This experience helped us evolve our processes and we have since published an updated Responsible Purchasing Timber Policy. The 2015 policy sets out our enhanced due diligence processes;respect local populations and care for the environment.


Saint-Gobain and B&Q partner on pallet re-use programme

Saint-Gobain are one of the largest users of pallets in the UK. Used to stack and distribute construction materials including plasterboard, packed renders, mortars and insulation products, we want to make sure the pallets are returned for continual re-use, saving the need purchase new pallets and use virgin timber for their production.

So in 2015, Artex launched their Pallet Return Programme in partnership with B&Q, and their exclusive pallet supplier Scotts Pallets, to look at how it could increase the amount of pallets that were returned for re-use out of the 184,000 supplied annually to B&Q.

The scheme began operating in August 2015 and in October we went ‘live’ with specially painted green picked pallets being despatched from Artex to B&Q. The colour helps B&Q store staff easily identify the pallets as being part for the Return Programme where they are gathered together and sent to one of 6 B&Q Distribution centres where they are repaired before being re-used.

So far the number of pallets being returned for re-use is gradually increasing, towards our target of 100% re-use. 2015 monthly average ~ 61% (based on 4 months post implementation); 2016 monthly average ~ 67%



Recognising the key role that mentoring can play in the development of potential, we launched the Mentor for Success programme in 2014. This in-house programme sees senior executives and leaders within Saint-Gobain giving their time to share their experience and accelerate the development of diverse talent for Saint-Gobain. All mentors are trained to ensure the very best experience for both them and their mentees.

Mentors and Mentees are encouraged to develop their relationship into to meet the specific needs of the mentee, to help them overcome specific development of career related goals, and to help connect and encourage their continual development.



Saint-Gobain's strategy aims to meet the needs of one of the country's biggest challenges. Reducing the impact the built environment has on our climate. Buildings account for around 40 percent of the UK’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions making significant progress in reducing the carbon footprint of buildings, particularly in their 'in-use' phase a key priority.

Working with experts Ernest & Young's Sustainable Performance and Transformation Team, Saint-Gobain have developed a method to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions saved by installed Saint-Gobain's energy efficient products in buildings.

This method estimates that the greenhouse gas emitted through the production of Saint-Gobain products is offset by a factor of 90 when these products are installed. These include thermal insulation by Celotex and Isover, insulating plasterboard from British Gypsum and insulating glazing from Glassolutions.

Saint-Gobain works closely with the UK Green Building Council to move towards net Zero Carbon buildings. 



Saint-Gobain Building Distribution has been a member of WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) since 2008/09. We are now within touching distance of our GFTN target for 100% sustainable timber by 2020. In 2014/15 98% of timber sourced was either FSC or PEFC certified.

Customers are increasingly demanding sustainability guarantees in the form of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) accredited products. In 2015, 66% of our timber came from FSC-certified sources and 32% from PEFC. As a company, we view both schemes as equally sustainable and purchase whichever product is readily available to us. The remainder of our supplies were source assessed and legally verified. 

When WWF-UK published its first ever Timber Scorecard – measuring the progress of timber and timber-product buyers on sustainability – Saint-Gobain was one of 22 brands awarded the top ‘3 Trees’ score. According to the NGO: “These companies are well along the journey to complete the transition to 100% sustainable timber and timber products by 2020.”



Providing up-to-date information and training on the products and systems we manufacture for the sustainable buildings sector is essential. We do this for customers, contractors and colleagues.

Courses at our Greenworks Training Academy give trade professionals knowledge about sustainable products and the confidence to use them. Interest is rocketing, but not everyone who wants to learn can easily make it to Birmingham.

To reach more customers, we launched a new mobile training service in October 2014. The Greenworks truck and trailer visits our UK retail branches and provides seminars adapted to local needs plus hands-on training for all staff, at the branch and nearby, and customers.

Training our staff as well as customers enables our businesses to give the best sustainability advice in branch and pass on knowledge to more customers.



At Saint-Gobain, we treat natural capital as a finite resource. We’re concentrating on ways to cut water use and have developed a partnership with audit experts H2O.

Water withdrawal and discharge have risen vs 2013 figures, because of increased production, it is a major CSR challenge for us We want to improve our water conservation, looking at how much we use and release and to determine if this is putting pressure on local communities.

We’ve created a dedicated Water Reduction Group, appointed Water Champions and to understand where we currently stand and direct our strategy, we’ve conducted an organisation-wide water survey.

Saint-Gobain Building Distribution established a partnership with H2O to audit water use at our retail sites. They collect billing data and use it to advise on cost-saving measures, in one instance identify a leak and arranged repairs on a Jewson site, saving one million gallons of water per annum. We are now looking at expanding it to our manufacturing businesses.


Training tradespeople for the future

The Saint-Gobain MultiComfort buildings concept sets thermal, audio, visual, air quality and economic comfort criteria. Passivhaus building accreditation is required in three out of five MultiComfort requirements. While the proofs of the MultiComfort concept continue, Saint-Gobain is actively supporting UK tradespeople to gain Passivhaus accreditation. Over the past five years, the number of Passive House buildings constructed in the UK has increased 100-fold and more than a thousand were under development in January 2016*. However, there are ten times more designers than tradespeople in the UK’s Passive House sector. To bridge this gap, Saint-Gobain has partnered with the Passive House Academy to offer training for tradespeople at our Erith training academy in Kent.  

Supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the five-day course mixes information and knowledge with practical hands-on techniques in insulation, air tightness, ventilation, thermal bridging, windows and doors. Participants passing the exam gain accreditation by the German Passivhaus Institute. Visit: * 


Prosperity - one of our key themes of CSR

Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland’s CSR activities are built on three key themes: people, prosperity and environmental stewardship.

 Here Richard Batley, CSR Director explains what it means by prosperity and why it’s important in informing the businesses approach to CSR:

“Huge changes in the habitat and construction markets affect our customers, suppliers and our businesses. As a responsible business, we are committed to playing a strong role in supporting construction professionals to meet these challenges

“We invest in training to help our customers develop their knowledge and skills. We believe innovation and co-development is key to long term prosperity and seek innovative opportunities with suppliers and key stakeholders. To meet the evolving needs of the construction industry and ensure that our building systems endure time, we pursue new construction techniques, such as off-site construction. We are also developing opportunities in building physics knowledge and building system design.”


Charity partnership tops £1Million

Since 2014, Saint-Gobain’s ‘Together’ charity programme has expanded to include all our businesses in the UK and Ireland and has raised over £1 million. Macmillan Cancer Support and the Irish Cancer Trust were our official charity partners for the period 2014-2015 and helped us acheive the most successful partnership year ever. Topping the £1,000,000 raised by colleagues, customers and suppliers for these two great causes.

As part of our 350 anniversary celebrations, many employees ran marathons, climbed mountains and cycled 425 miles from London to Blois to fundraise for charity. and help hundreds of small events up and down the country to raise money to tackle cancer. For more information on our strategic and charity partners, please visit:



Saint-Gobain’s new Technical Academy in Dublin opened in November 2014. This state-of-the-art training facility aims to train 1,000 key construction professionals including builders, architects and tradespeople in its first year.

With a raft of new regulations coming into force in Ireland, and growing interest in energy-efficient construction, opening our second academy in Dublin has enabled us to increase the range of courses on offer and double the number of participants. Working together with industry bodies, including the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), we’ve been able to support hundreds of merchants, contractors and sub-contractors get up to speed with the significant changes to building regulations and compliance in Ireland.

We also have close links with the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) and the EU-funded ‘Build Upon’ project - aiming to set the standards for renovation and energy efficiency. Our Kingscourt Academy now runs training courses for the EU scheme in conjunction with the IGBC. We aim to provide several hundred people with basic onsite energy efficiency knowledge and skills. For more information, visit:


Belfast MultiComfort Pavilion Competition

Launched by JP Corry in August 2016, Aileen Conaghie of Shane Birney Architects won the JP Corry & Royal Society of Ulster Architects’ (RSUA) competition for a temporary 250m² pavilion in central Belfast.

The competition was launched by JP Corry and RSUA to consider how buildings could help to combat climate change and provide an immersive experience in central Belfast using Saint-Gobain MultiComfort building concept. The concept aims to provide low-energy structures with high levels of thermal comfort, excellent acoustics, visual comfort and superb indoor air quality.

Participants were free to select any public centre site with high footfall such as outside Belfast City Hall, the Botanic Gardens or near the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction by Civic Arts and Todd Architects.

The young architect – who studied at Queen’s University Belfast and The Macintosh, and worked at Donnelly O’Neill Architects in Belfast before joining the Derry-Londonderry practice three years ago – defeated four finalists to win the top prize.

The competition was open to architects under 40 working or born in Northern Ireland, and sought proposals for an ‘uplifting’ public structure similar to London’s Serpentine Pavilion.



For its apprenticeship programme, Gibbs & Dandy partners with Didac, a national training provider. In the schemes first year, one in three branches – 10 in total - took on an apprentice with an average age of 20.

The 12-month scheme provides helps young people develop a broad range of skills and knowledge. Our apprentices work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills and work towards nationally recognised qualifications. We pay above the minimum wage and guarantee a job for all of those completing the programme. As well as supporting skills and creating job opportunities, the scheme has other benefits for our business’ sustainability. These include improving the diversity of our business and helping long-serving employees to pass on key skills before they approach retirement.

Nasima Begum, pictured, is one of our apprentices at Gibbs & Dandy in Luton. She won the ‘Bright Star Award’ in conjunction with her School Improvement Development for young people who are in or have left care. Since starting our programme, Nasima has excelled herself and turned her life around.



Interview: People - why they are at the centre of our CSR Strategy

Richard Batley, HR & CSR Director for the Saint-Gobain Delegation in the UK & Ireland, describes why people are one of the three key themes that guide Saint-Gobain’s CSR Strategy:

 “Saint-Gobain has evolved over more than 350 years and many of our businesses have long histories in their own right. We focus heavily on a strong set of values and behaviours centred on responsibility and loyalty. Across the UK and Ireland, we are a visible local businesses in more than 1,150 locations."

 "We invest significantly in our people to provide rewarding and valued careers without boundaries. Operating responsibly, supporting local economic and community development and having a positive social impact are part of Saint-Gobain’s DNA. We encourage our businesses to take pride in investing in local jobs, apprenticeships, training, collaborating with schools and universities and actively supporting community groups, local customers and suppliers.”



In response to the nationwide skills shortage in our sectors, Saint-Gobain is supporting the Business in the Community (BITC) Business Class programme to develop partnerships with schools.  We wanted to build longer-term partnerships with schools and have greater impact by increasing opportunities and raising aspirations for young people in our local communities.

Our support has taken on various forms. It has provided young people with an insight into our businesses and raised their awareness of the potential career paths that could be open to them. Our aim for 2018 is to have every one of our brands connected with a Business Class Partnership. Currently we have 7, including: CTD, Weber, PAM, British Gypsum, Graham, Gibbs and Dandy and the Delegation.

To date, the programme has included: Careers Speed Dating events in schools; See Inside Manufacturing site visits;  Work experience in different businesses;  Mentoring of students by our employees and Enterprise Days.  You can find out more about the BITC Business Class Programme here.


Preserving our natural timber resources

Many of us have heard the term ‘sourcing timber responsibly’, but what does this really mean and why is it an area of focus for us? At Saint-Gobain we believe that as the largest distributor of timber products in the UK & Ireland we have a responsibility to preserve natural resources.

Not only do we ensure that 99.3% of our timber is responsibly sourced, we have also produced our own sustainable timber policy. Our policy ensures that local species are protected, including and not exclusive to, mahogany, rosewood, red stinkwood, aloe and ramin.  We will also not buy timber from Papua New Guinea, Liberia and Myanmar. 

We risk assess each country and will not buy from countries that do not have good forestry and employer practices. We ask suppliers to prove that their operations are legal, what country their timber was harvested in and what species are included in their timber.  We also promote certified timber and local timber sourcing.

We’ve been members of WWF’s Global Forest Trade Network since 1998 and publish our progress on sustainable timber supply each year. We are also proud to say that we’ve been awarded ‘3 Trees’ by the World Wildlife Fund for the second year in a row.  The ‘3 trees’ score is awarded to top performing companies who publicly report their timber and wood product purchasing and performance with clarity and simplicity.

To find out more about our sustainable timber policy, our responsible purchasing policy and to download our CSR Review, please visit

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