The construction industry has long been known for its consumption of raw materials and natural resources. And fair enough - you can’t build much without materials. But where once the image of construction material usage was one of unfettered depletion, it has now been replaced by one that puts sustainability front and centre. This approach is being embraced by architects, designers, manufacturers, and suppliers who share an understanding that progress needs to be made together, with everyone chipping in to do their part.
In business for almost a century, it’s fair to say that things have changed dramatically since the inception of globally renowned and market leading plasterboard manufacturer, Knauf. There is now a focus on sustainability throughout the entire design process to ensure that sustainability is an integral part of decisions made along the way. Architects and engineers have made huge inroads in designing and incorporating more energy-efficient principles and technology to create buildings that are more environmentally friendly.
The responsibility for a bright future – and a liveable planet – for future generations has been embraced at Knauf. Not content with just ticking the boxes, the organisation has adopted a plan to become an industry leader in sustainable construction through a focus on three key areas:
Sustainability through products & solutions
Knauf plasterboard products are sustainable in and of themselves. They’re naturally formed and can be recycled or re-used. Knauf supplements this natural sustainability with continual investment in the refinement of lightweight construction solutions, and ongoing development of more effective insulation solutions – transforming the built environment and reducing the environmental impact of buildings.
Sustainability for better living
Beyond those innovative solutions, Knauf is committed to integrating sustainability into the culture of employees, customers, and partners - enabling them to make more sustainable choices. As an example, Knauf Gypsum plans to provide sustainability training to more than 85% of all staff at manufacturing plants across Australia by the end of 2023. Knauf knows that their remit extends beyond the provision of construction materials, and impacts people’s lives directly in the places they call ‘home’.
Reducing the company’s CO2 footprint
Over the next two decades, Knauf is investing heavily to cost-efficiently decarbonise operations, to build a business that is both sustainable and profitable in the long term. They have set the ambitious goal of reaching net-zero carbon five years ahead of the Paris agreement, by 2045. Doing that means cutting directly controlled CO2 emissions in half by 2032, while also reducing water withdrawals by a fifth and ceasing to produce any waste to disposal from plants, quarries, and mines.
With full understanding that a significant reduction in carbon will be the most directly impactful action they can take, Knauf is forging a path to net-zero by cutting their energy use, switching to renewable energy, innovating on their processes, and investing heavily in the circular economy of their products.
This is bookended by a focus on the natural environment in which they operate. The company has a program in place to recultivate nature around former quarries, and to ensure that these areas become more biodiverse than before. This is just another example of meaningful, real-world action already being taken by Knauf globally, on the road to sustainability. With a steadfast commitment to an integrated and multidisciplinary approach over the coming years, Knauf is most certainly committed to going from zero to the proverbial one hundred on their ambitious journey to net zero.