In 2019 we made good progress against our targets and our ambition to be a sector leader in sustainable development. I was delighted that we achieved our primary focus to enhance the life-chances of 10,000 young people 19 months early; this means that we have taken part in activities with over 480,000 young people. Whilst we further exceeded our 2020 carbon emissions target, we fell back slightly on our progress against our waste reduction target, perhaps reflecting a slight shift in the make-up of our workload.
Our achievements were recognised with our third Queen’s Award for Enterprise (our second for sustainable development); being crowned Environmental Contractor of the Year at the Construction News Awards; being the top placed UK company and coming third overall for workplace diversity and inclusion in a new ranking of 700 European employers by the Financial Times; remaining in the top five for two consecutive years in The Sunday Times’ Best UK Companies to Work For list and being recertified by the Carbon Trust Standard, where we were named best in sector.
We are rightly proud of what we have accomplished over the life of our first Strategy to 2020 and of everyone in our business whose hard work and enthusiasm has made these achievements possible. But we must not allow ourselves to become complacent; the environmental and social challenges our world faces have never been greater, and businesses like ours need to play their part by stepping up and taking action.
As we start this new decade, this means testing ourselves with audacious goals and targets, whilst supporting both our customers and our supply chain partners to deliver their own evolving aims and stretching ambitions. Time is of the essence and the speed and size of change needed unprecedented: we must be decisive and act now if we are to leave a better world for future generations.