Reducing road transport

Safe and sustainable distribution

We continuously improve the transportation of our raw materials and finished products, using the most environmentally and economically efficient methods that are as safe as possible, including rail and conveyor.

The majority of our bulk gypsum shipments have been switched from road to rail or conveyor. We’re continuously looking to improve the delivery of raw materials and finished products. This includes bulk raw material delivery and changing deliveries from road to rail. These changes help reduce vehicle-based CO2 emissions and reduce road congestion, as well as minimise health, safety and environmental risks at our operating locations.

Logistics planning

  • In 2007 we spent £135m on new plasterboard and plaster production facilities. One of the key drivers behind this investment was the reduction in road transport miles that would result from increasing and spreading production capacity. This investment has made it possible to eliminate over 800,000 annual road miles by re-allocating production to sites closer to customers
  • We use logistic planning to avoid the instances of trucks travelling/returning with empty trailers (known as empty running miles). This has resulted in us reducing empty running miles by 510,000 miles
  • We’re implementing a vehicle tracking system that will enable us to accurately record the mileage of each delivery and our empty vehicle running - this will be live across all plants by the end of 2012
  • We’ll be implementing a suite of reports which will enable us to apportion the amount of CO2 per customer delivery in 2012
  • We’re working with hauliers to ensure all drivers are trained to SAFED (Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving) driving practices - (pilot studies show this can deliver a 9-10% fuels consumption saving) during 2012
  • As a part of the Saint Gobain Project Retriever we are currently reviewing options to share transport resource across Saint Gobain to further reduce our impact

Delivery vehicle specification

  • We’ve implemented 26 teardrop trailers at our Kirkby Thore plant which have, on average, reduced CO2 emissions by 5% reduction over conventional trailers during the last 18 months
  • Following the success of this introduction, we’ve invested in 128 new teardrop trailers, along with a number of dual-fuel tractor units to further reduce our carbon footprint
  • In addition, we’ve commenced a program to introduce cab mounted technology to at least 80% of all delivery vehicles employed to encourages fuel efficient driving
  • We’ll be implementing 10 LPG - (Gas) vehicles as a part of our East Leake implementation, this will be 25% of the East Leake Fleet

Delivering the Plasterboard Recycling Service (PRS)

PRS is operated using back haulage to reduce costs, emissions and energy consumption. This is achieved through the use of return journey collections on hauliers routes back to base, ensuring optimal usage of our transport infrastructure.

Transporting our people

As a business with multiple operating sites and with full national coverage, our people need to communicate and travel across the country.

We recognise that driving on Britain’s roads is the activity that poses the greatest threat to our staff. In order to minimise the impact that these activities have on the environment, the individual and the communities in which we operate we have developed a number of solutions

Company cars

We consider our energy usage and sustainability impact and aim to reduce car emissions and road congestion, and in line with other environmental initiatives aim to move to fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly policies.

This includes the provision of cars that meet emissions guidelines and the use of suppliers recognising the need for fuel and emissions efficient vehicles. We have set the engine size limit to 2.0L for all company cars, and we encourage car sharing when travelling and undertaking meetings.

Cycle to work

We have been offering a cycle to work scheme since 2010; this allows employees to obtain a new bike and the appropriate safety equipment out of their gross pay instead of net pay. The advantage of using the cycle to work scheme is that employees will save tax and National Insurance on the cost which is not available if they get a bike straight from the high street. The main use of the bike must be for at least some of the journey to work.

Across the business we have a large number of keen cyclists with 151 having taken up the cycle to work scheme in the first 2 years. There are a number of key events in the diary each year such as the Barrow to Skegness ride and the Robertsbridge Wheelers London to Brighton runs. All these events are used to support local charities.


When planning meetings, we ask all employees to consider whether a face to face meeting is required, or whether a webinar or telephone conference would be a better alternative.

This is a simple tool which can not only reduce the amount of CO2 we are using, but also the amount of time we are asking our employees to be on the road and away from their families.

Reducing road transport