Environmental performance

Where BAM can improve

In general BAM emits greenhouse gases through the nature of its business. Production of asphalt is one of BAM’s carbon-intensive activities. BAM can further reduce the emissions from its asphalt plants by producing more low-energy asphalt (LEAB). Furthermore, BAM should intensify its engagement with suppliers regarding the use and disclosure of FSC certified timber.
In a circular economy, 100 per cent of the materials is reused. In 2015 BAM managed to reuse 88.1 per cent of its waste as construction materials. There is an opportunity to find more useful purposes than landfill or incineration for 11.9 per cent of BAM’s waste.

Energy and emissions

BAM’s total energy consumption in 2015 was 3,356 TJ (2014: 3,410 TJ). The energy intensity, based on TJ per million euro turnover, in 2015 was 0.45 TJ/million euro (2014: 0.47 TJ/million euro). 

BAM has rebuilt the majority of its Dutch offices into open plan shared office spaces using the latest energy saving measures.
In 2015 BAM used 75 kWh per square metre in its buildings in the Netherlands (2014: 122 kWh). 

The total current vehicle fleet of BAM in the Netherlands consisted of 94.2 per cent A or B labels, compared to 91.3 per cent in 2014. BAM also deploys electric vehicles to reduce fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and air pollution. In 2015 more than 5,590,000 kilometres were driven with the Group’s fully electric vehicles and plug in hybrid cars.

BAM’s carbon footprint in 2015 was calculated on the basis of energy consumption of all operating companies worldwide as a consequence of direct and indirect CO2 emissions from business activities. The Group’s 2015 reduction target was 15 per cent compared to 2004. In 2015 BAM emitted 230 kilotonnes CO2 (2014: 242 kilotonnes). In absolute terms, BAM’s carbon footprint fell by 5 per cent compared to 2014 and by 7 per cent compared to 2009 (277 kilotonnes CO2). The CO2 intensity, based on CO2 emissions per turnover, decreased by 7.2 per cent to 30.9 tonnes CO2 per million euro (2009: 33.3 tonnes CO2/million euro). 

The CO2 emissions intensity of BAM’s office buildings in the Netherlands was 12.6 kilograms CO2 per square metre (2014: 13.7).

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol differentiates between three scopes, namely emissions directly resulting from a company’s own activities (scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heating and cooling (scope 2) and indirect emissions in the value chain (scope 3). Scope 1 CO2 emissions are responsible for 86 per cent of BAM’s total CO2 emissions. 

Employee air travel; Employee car travel with privately owned cars; Business travel.

BAM’s carbon footprint and its carbon intensity depend largely on the type, the phase and the location of projects in the reporting year. Emissions from BAM’s offices reduced by 13 per cent compared to 2014 as a result of an almost complete shift towards renewable electricity use in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the merging of offices throughout BAM and continued energy efficiency improvements.

There has also been a decline of emissions at BAM’s vehicle fleet, which attributed to 27 per cent of total emissions, and decreased by 7 per cent compared to 2014. This is the result of a reduction of leased vehicles, an increase of fuel efficient cars and continuation of programmes for fuel efficient driving. 

Other things that contributed to changes in BAM’s carbon footprint were:

  • Continuous improvement of the reporting process and reporting methods since 2009;
  • Weather conditions;
  • Other emission reduction initiatives.

The largest impact on climate change of BAM’s activities in the Construction and mechanical and electrical services sector occurs in the use phase of its products. In 2015, 18 per cent of BAM’s revenue, approximately €1.3 billion, came from projects that have been registered with third-party green building or sustainable construction rating organisations, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the UK’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), Germany’s Passivhaus standards and other objective and third-party standards or BAM’s green building products.

For its actions to reduce CO2 emissions and mitigate the business risks of climate change, BAM has been awarded with a position on the CDP Climate A List 2015: The CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2015. The index has been produced at the request of 822 investors – who represent more than a third of the world’s invested capital – by CDP, the international NGO that drives sustainable economies. Information provided by nearly 5,500 listed companies has been independently assessed against CDP’s scoring methodology and ranked accordingly. BAM has been awarded an A grade for its climate performance, earning a position on this global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change. Since 2012 BAM has been one of the leaders regarding transparency on impact on climate change. Only some of these companies also show improved climate performance. Since 2014 BAM has been among the best performing companies.

Circular economy


BAM’s waste consists of excavation, demolition, construction and office waste. BAM focuses on construction and office waste as indicators of operational performance, since these outputs are based on the Group’s own doings. All construction and office waste is initially brought to BAM’s sites and offices on its behalf; in contrast to excavation and demolition waste. Excavation and demolition waste are initially at sites before BAM takes on a project and therefore less relevant as indicator of operational performance or sustainability; it is merely a part of BAM’s business model to efficiently take it from sites.

Much like CO2 emissions, trends in removed waste depend heavily on the phase and type of a project. This can give rise to major differences among civil engineering companies in particular. It is, however, still challenging to understand the relationship between BAM’s turnover, the type of activities and the level of waste produced.

The Group’s construction and office waste reduced by 12 per cent compared to 2014, from 182 kilotonnes to 161 kilotonnes and 72 per cent from 2009 (574 kilotonnes). This significantly exceeds BAM’s 2009 ambition of 15 per cent reduction.

A large contribution to this year’s reduction of the volume of construction waste was due to termination of large construction projects.

Efficiency in BAM’s production process is further gained from prefabrication and the use of BIM, which reduces the amount of waste produced at construction sites.

To promote appropriate recycling, BAM has the objective to improve the separation of construction waste. In 2015, 29 per cent of the Group’s construction waste in the Netherlands was separated, compared with 18 per cent in 2009 (63 per cent improvement). 

BAM’s efforts to separate construction waste on site have resulted in improved performance. In 2015, large volumes of timber, metals and cardboard were separately diverted. A proactive approach of project managers to separate these materials has resulted in a significant increase of the separation rate.



In 2015, BAM consumed 68,655 m3 potable water in the Netherlands (2014: 92,000 m3; 2013: 390,000 m3; 2012: 147,000 m3). In 2013, water consumption at construction sites was strongly influenced by tunnel drilling operations.



Since 2011 BAM has identified the quantities of materials used in its construction projects in the Netherlands. Based on statistical analysis of the financial data, the Group has identified the main categories of procured materials, as shown in > table 44 in the Netherlands. Due to their nature, most used materials can be recycled. Based on this statistical analysis and supplier data BAM believes that the recycled percentages are corresponding with the figures shown in this table. In cases where BAM applies recycled materials, nearly all materials are processed before they can be reused for construction. Therefore BAM chooses to report all materials to be recycled instead of partly reused. 

BAM is the only major construction member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 programme. The Group actively works with clients to develop business models for ‘circular buildings’, including the Brummen Town Hall project in the Netherlands, which was completed in 2013. 

BAM also has a strategic partnership with Autodesk and is actively involved in developing BIM applications to help manage the life-cycle of buildings.

BAM’s experience in getting to grips with the circular economy in 2015 involved:

  • Working with Horizon 2020’s BAMB (Buildings as Material Banks) on the prevention of construction and demolition waste, the reduction of virgin resource consumption and the development towards a circular economy through industial symbiosis.
  • Working with WRAP in the United Kingdom, to collaborate on a project to develop resource efficient (circular) business models. The aim is to implement these in BAM’s own developments, beginning with two commercial properties being built in the United Kingdom during 2016.
  • Working with the Royal Society of Arts to implement their Great Recovery Project’s ‘tear down, design up’ approach for buildings. This will involve analysis and virtual tear down of key demolition/strip out projects, to enable lessons to be learnt around designing for circularity measures in future projects.
  • Standards/committee involvement: 
    - The committee for the Designing Out Waste standardBS: 8895-1;
    - The development committee for a circular economy standard with the British Standards Institute (BSI);
    - The Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 programme;
    - The UK Contractors Group (UKCG) Circular Economy, Materials and Carbon group (chair of the Carbon group).


Asphalt production is typically natural resource and energy intensive. In 1998, BAM started with the development of Low Energy Asphalt Beton (LEAB), an innovative type of asphalt that uses less energy, less scarce natural resources and has lower CO2 emissions than conventional asphalt. In order to investigate the potential of this new type of asphalt to create value for society, BAM commissioned a True Price study. The study indicated that placing LEAB instead of conventional stone mastic (matrix) asphalt (STAB) creates an estimated €257,000 lower negative impact on the environment per kilometre of highway. This equals the monetised environmental externalities (often referred to as ‘environmental cost’) of energy use of about 120 Dutch households per year. To calculate the true price, the main environmental impacts of asphalt production were measured and translated into societal costs. The results show that the production, use and end-of-life treatment of LEAB asphalt is associated with 30 per cent lower environmental costs than conventional asphalt. Coincidentally this equals the reduction in energy and CO2 reduction, but is built up of other factors. This makes LEAB an undeniable proposition for, among other things, government procurers, since it has the same quality, an equal or lower market price and a better environmental performance than conventional asphalt.

The study provided BAM insight into the size of environmental impacts occurring in the asphalt production chain, and made those impacts comparable. As shown in > figure 53, energy use, material use and ecotoxicity are the largest remaining environmental externalities for LEAB. True Price methods support better decision-making. The results help BAM to steer future innovations and prove that sustainable innovations, such as LEAB, can create value to society without causing additional financial costs.


Sustainable timber

In 2007, BAM signed a covenant with FSC Netherlands committing to using only certified timber to support forest conservation and biodiversity. BAM’s experience has been that it is difficult for some suppliers to provide information on the amount of non-FSC certified timber in products which are not entirely made from timber (e.g. doors and window frames). Working with FSC Netherlands, BAM’s suppliers have been encouraged to improve the  measurement and reporting of certified timber and in 2011 BAM developed a simplified system to record supplier data.

BAM requests information from its suppliers twice a year. BAM asks its suppliers to report on categories of timber which represented an estimated 85 per cent of all timber usage in the Netherlands for all construction works performed directly by BAM. The data used in this analysis therefore does not include any timber consumption for subcontracted projects. BAM approached its top Dutch timber product suppliers to report the amount of certified timber used in products supplied to BAM during 2015. The volume represented by the suppliers that responded, which forms the basis for the estimation, decreased compared to prior years (2014: 78 per cent; 2015: 34 per cent). Based on their responses BAM estimates that the percentage certified wood in timber sourced from these suppliers was 98 per cent. Of this 98 per cent, 16 per cent was PEFC and 82 per cent was FSC certified. This compared to 84 per cent FSC in 2014, 77 per cent in 2013, 66 per cent in 2012, 44 per cent in 2011, 28 per cent in 2010 and 17 per cent in 2009.

In the United Kingdom, the source of certified sustainable timber from both FSC and PEFC sources is recorded in BAM’s on-line data monitoring system BAM SMART. In 2015, 99 per cent of timber in the United Kingdom was from verified legal and sustainable sources, of which 90 per cent (2014: 85 per cent) was delivered with full FSC or PEFC Chain of Custody certification or reused from other sites.