Breedon are the largest UK independent aggregate business and Hope Cement is by far and away the largest single source of CO2 emissions in the Peak District, (not to mention the Hope Valley). Most of the CO2 emissions are the result of the calcination of limestone, an essential part of the cement manufacturing process, rather than energy use per se, but they are also by far the largest consumer of electricity in the Valley. A reduction in the impact of their operations can therefore make a huge contribution to reducing Hope Valley’s carbon footprint. The aggregate industry as a whole is aware of the need to decarbonise, and have recently produced a ‘Roadmap to beyond net zero’. (see https://www.agg-net.com/news/launch-of-roadmap-to-beyond-net-zero)
They are also the biggest single employer, and place a high value on social responsibility and community engagement.
This presents Hope Valley Climate Action with a challenge: to determine whether and how to work with them. Factors to bear in mind in considering this include:
- We need to be consistent in our approach to local businesses. Although Breedon are by far the largest CO2 emitter, they are not the only one. We are already working with the farming and land use community, the other major source of emissions in the Valley.
- It is probably unrealistic to think that we can significantly influence Breedon’s (let alone the industry overall) approach to decarbonisation. Breedon has, however, just published their strategy “Roadmap to Beyond Net Zero”.
- We need to be wary of the danger that we are used by Breedon to ‘greenwash’ their activities.
Issues that we need to consider include: pressing Breedon and the wider industry to decarbonize; whether we might work jointly with them on for example projects using their land; and whether we would accept sponsorship from them for other projects. To date, HVCA has been talking to them about two projects:
Renewable Energy Feasibility Study
To identify opportunities for large scale renewable energy in the Valley, consult with key stakeholders and people living and working here, and make recommendations.
Schools Energy Challenge
An exciting interactive 2-hour session that challenges pupils in schools in the Valley to take climate action, now.
Your opinion matters
Before we go any further we would like to sound out views of our members on these issues. Please let me know by emailing email@example.com with ‘Breedon’ in the subject line if you have any thoughts for or against working with them, including on joint ventures to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.