Build Your Sustainability Strategy: 4 Tips from Summit Materials

Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Summit Materials is construction material provider. Summit’s vision is to be the most socially responsible integrated construction materials solution provider on the market. With more than 4,000 vehicles, 6,000 employees, and 12 operating companies, Summit’s operations span across the United States and Canada.

Tip #1: Determine your key stakeholders to guide your focus areas

Before you can set specific goals, it’s important to focus on aligning your initiatives with your organization’s key stakeholders. For Summit, that’s their investors, customers, employees, and local communities.

As a publicly-traded company, Summit noticed a significant uptick in interest from investors and customers on their sustainability initiatives. As investors and customers begin to focus more on climate change and the environment, it’s important for companies to understand their environmental impacts and communicate how they are thinking about the future of their business.

Since Summit operates over 400 locations within local communities, many of which are in rural and exurban areas, they also recognize the importance of gaining local support through transparency. One way they do this is by disclosing emissions information, tracking fuel consumption, and installing water meters to provide enhanced transparency about their impacts. Summit quickly recognized that robust environmental performance is not only the right thing to do but that it is key to achieving their vision.

Tip #2: Get baseline data before you set sustainability goals

n 2021, Summit completed a baseline study of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs), water, and waste inventory. The baselining was completed in accordance with the principles and guidance of the World Resources Institute (WRI), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), GHG Protocol, and the Cement Sustainability Initiative’s (CSI) protocol for corporate GHG accounting and reporting. After considering their stakeholders and state of operations, one significant goal Summit committed to was reducing CO2 emissions to reach net-zero by 2050.

Tip #3: Make sure your technology partner can provide accurate emissions data

If you’re having trouble collecting the emissions data you need to set actionable goals, you may want to reevaluate your technology partner. After expanding their use of the data gateway and fleet management solutions Summit was able to improve the accuracy of their fuel data and begin tracking critical stats such as fuel efficiency, fuel usage, and idle times. Now, Summit is able to set more accurate benchmarks to guide their initiatives and has a clear picture of emissions data for each of our vehicles.

VisuCar delivers insights to help a growing number of organizations with physical operations answer this fundamental question. VisuCar collects trillions of data points annually, providing an aggregated view of all the unique ways that customers use the VisuCar Connected Mobility Cloud to improve the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of their operations. The data can also tell a bigger story about trends across the industry as a whole.

Tip #4: Empower employees with data to improve engagement

In order to get employees involved with their broader sustainability initiatives, Summit hosted training sessions with each of their 12 operating companies. These training sessions began with providing employees with more background on what ESG is, how it has evolved, and how Summit is putting their plans into practice

In follow-up training sessions, Summit provides each business unit with their own in-depth emissions data. In follow-up training sessions, Summit provides each business unit with their own in-depth emissions data. Each of their employees knows the emissions profile of their vehicle. Data is being shared with employees to show them how much water or fuel they’re using, and give them specific actions they can take to reduce their impact.

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