Introduction by Daniel Cooper, chief executive officer, Hanson UK
Last year we put together a five-year strategic plan closely aligned to our vision to become the clear and sustainable market leader. The plan focuses on growth through value-creating investments in our production plant and our people, underpinned by safe working and a continuous drive towards customer service excellence.
The aim is to create an upward spiral where delivery of improved results allows us to increase our capital spending year-on-year which will, in time, propel us to best in class.
I am pleased to report that we are making excellent progress. Capital investment in 2016 was up 40 per cent on the prior year, with a significant amount spent on projects designed to save energy, reduce emissions or eliminate hazards.
In addition to buying new trucks with increased payloads and the latest Euro 6 engines, we replaced and upgraded both fixed and mobile plant and made significant environmental and safety-related improvements at many of our production sites. We re-opened the Teesside Regen plant creating 25 new jobs and we stepped up activity at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, Europe’s biggest construction project.
We also made a big transformation to our customer-facing services with the consolidation of three offices into a centralised customer service centre at Syston near Leicester.
In 2017 we plan to double our capital spending with sustainability again at the core. An order for two new energy-efficient marine aggregate dredgers to replace two ageing ships represents the single biggest investment in the UK for more than 10 years. And an extensive upgrade project at our Victoria Deep wharf on the Thames at Greenwich will create a fully-enclosed multi-product manufacturing and distribution facility at the heart of the booming London market.
In addition, we will be investing in numerous smaller projects to reduce energy consumption and emissions, increase the use of recycled products and improve the efficiency and reliability of our plants.
There’s no doubt that a lack of investment during the recession has had a negative impact on our sustainability performance. But I am confident that the improvements we are making now will quickly be reflected in demonstrable progress, particularly against those targets where we are lagging behind.
The very nature of what we do means we have to think long-term, plan ahead and invest for the future.
Communicating our sustainability ambitions and achievements to employees, customers and regulators is an important part of our corporate governance. Both myself and the wider executive team have been closely involved in this internally through employee briefing meetings, podcasts, site visits and sustainability matters working group meetings and externally through our successful programme of stakeholder workshops.
We are also working hard to ensure our employees are fully engaged. Our ‘One Team’ philosophy is underpinned by a set of values and aspirations designed to make our people feel connected, involved and valued. This is critical if we are going to make the step change we are seeking to put us ahead of our competitors.