North Midland Group: A Greener Way Of Doing Things
(The Following is a Promoted Article)
For more than a decade, North Midland Group has developed leading practices in sustainability and environmental efficiency. Across its various divisions – which include construction, civil engineering, highways and utilities, and mechanical and electrical – NM Group has worked closely with partners, its supply chain and clients to fulfil its ambitious green agenda. This has seen it develop an enviable reputation, solidify long-term relationships and win a number of accolades for environmental best practice.
Originally known as North Midland Construction, the company was formed in 1946 by William Morris and Major Terence Moyle to provide duct laying to the Post Office before moving onto other areas such as road maintenance and civil engineering. Today, the Group, which remains headquartered in Nottinghamshire, turns over approximately £200m a year having acquired many blue chip clients and a presence on longstanding frameworks.
A multiple Green Apple award winner over the last ten years, NM Group continues to develop new ways to reduce carbon emissions while increasing awareness towards sustainable working practices across its workforce and supply chain. This year NMC Nomenca celebrated a gold Green Apple Award and was also bestowed the Champion of Champions accolade.
NMC Nomenca, a division established in 2009 dedicated towards the Group’s AMP5/6 infrastructure and non-infrastructure frameworks with Severn Trent Water for both Civil and MEICA projects, successfully cut costs and improved efficiencies at Nottingham’s Stoke Bardolph wastewater treatment works.
The project was underpinned by NM Group’s commitment to sustainability, encompassing a number of measures to successfully complete the contract in the greenest possible away. For instance, the ground around the site is made up of sandy gravels so a recycling programme was formed to re-use available material. A total of 85,000m3 of sieved material was removed, equivalent to 187,000 tonnes, which created 50,000 tonnes of sand and 40,000 tonnes of 20mm gravel used to lay ducting and landscaping, and 70,000 tonnes of 10mm gravel for pipe bedding.
In addition, 17,000 tonnes was used as both back fill and to provide a wildlife bund giving permanent noise and visual screening for the local residents. This resulted in a product saving of £1.2m, with no waste sent to landfill.
This achievement was similarly recognised for a scheme at Leamington Spa for which NMC Nomenca was bestowed the Green World Ambassador Award for the reuse of spoil materials. Integrated Management System Manager Bill Ball, who has worked extensively to develop the company’s environmental credentials, proudly reveals that over the last five years, it has been Severn Trent Water’s best performing “green” contractor based on the client’s strict critical success factors regarding recycling rates and reuse of spoil.
The Group’s attention to detail extends to the way in which it has faced the challenges of environmental responsibility and how, working collaboratively with its supply chain, it can make tangible additional gains. Recently this was exampled by its BS 11000 certification.
The accreditation examples best practice in the way the company has innovatively developed business partnerships, incentivising ways in which it can work alongside its supply chain to operate in a more sustainable fashion.
Matthew Barney, NM Group’s Supply Chain Manager, said, “In essence BS 11000 is not a new way of thinking or working for us and our supply chain. It is business as usual.”
He added that the accreditation has helped the Group formalised process and framework for the work it does and the practices of how it engages, communicates and collaborates with its supply chain. “It enabled us to understand the best practices from different work streams and create a strategy to bring these all together in one place and from this create a measurable long term vision to support the operational teams.”
It also enhances the company’s reputation as one which works with the supply chain on a mutual platform. “We look to create value rather than cutting costs. We look to collaborate to illicit innovation at the very earliest stages of a project, and through long-term relationships – where you have built a knowledge of the team around you and incentivised appropriately – you generate innovation much earlier and much more openly.”
Its endeavours to reduce waste and its overall carbon footprint are further highlighted by the Group’s certification to ISO 14001, where it has formally targeted key areas where gains can be made. This has resulted in a confident approach to reduce waste and resource use, while sourcing responsibly. It has also looked to proactively measure its environmental impact and improve operational behaviours. This has seen NM Group set itself challenging targets but ones it is already managing to meet.
For example, in 2014 it reduced its waste to landfill by 15% with its Stoke Bardolph project achieving “zero waste to landfill”. Its carbon footprint has similarly been cut, with a 10% reduction compared to 2013 levels. These achievements have been enhanced by increased usage of recycled aggregate.
Multiple environmental awards were achieved last year including three Green Apple accolades and two Green World Ambassador awards, while more than 150 members of staff have now enjoyed environmental training. The Group is also CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme) accredited.
This year, the business has pressed forward with further initiatives such as utilising hybrid power sources for its site cabins so they are not reliant on generators which can be switched off for a period of time potentially reducing costs by up to 50%. It is also working closely with its partners to improve resource use. For example, it wants to enhance its utilisation of backloads to deliver more segregated waste to licensed recycling plants to be processed and sold. Incentives encourage the supply chain to bring their own ideas to the table and this has led to some of the Group’s recent achievements.
Significantly, it has made major carbon reduction gains through its sizeable fleet of more than 400 vehicles. Vehicle tracking has been fitted to monitor driver behaviour and effectively manage vehicle use in order to promote more fuel efficient driving techniques. Any areas of weakness can be assessed with appropriate training tailored to specific cases. Indeed, NMC Nomenca was awarded a Silver Corporate Social Responsibility Award for Team Development Training by Green Apple in 2014.
One initiative developed recently wanted to address excessive mileage. For any member of staff doing over 150 miles per day, alternatives were considered or, if mileage can’t be reduced, accommodation close to the project site is provided. In addition, anyone using their own car is offered an incentive of £500 per year to use a low carbon emission vehicle.
Certainly, its approach to sustainability has contributed to NM Group’s success over the years. “Our client base is enormously interested in what we do in respect to reducing our carbon footprint and in respect of Corporate Social Responsibility and how we engage our supply chain appropriately,” adds Barney. “Those are the things we think distinguish us and give us the upper hand, and we think that is one of the things that contributes to our position as an industry leader.”