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Environment

Wienerberger takes a whole-lifecycle approach to improving environmental performance in the built environment. Our products, systems & services aim to minimise the lifecycle environmental impact of buildings and outdoor spaces. 

Sustainability Diagrams v3

Product manufacturing

Raw material supply

Most of the clay for our ceramic products comes from quarries adjacent to our factories

The most important raw material for our ceramic products (bricks, pavers and roof tiles) is clay, with sand, additives and colour pigments included in the product mix. Most of our factories have a clay quarry in close proximity to the factory, resulting in very short transport distances. This also means Wienerberger has a good oversight of the environmental and social practices for the majority volume of our material supply chain. When quarries reach their end of life they are typically restored to natural habitats where wildlife can flourish.

Where practicable we include Materials from Alternative, Recycled, and Secondary Sources (MARSS), which reduces the consumption of virgin materials. The percentage of MARSS used varies by factory and by product, so please request current MARSS percentage content when ordering.

We conscientiously avoid and substitute hazardous substances in production and Wienerberger meets all legal requirements both in the EU and in the UK, with our compliance being constantly monitored.

Factories & manufacturing partners

We improved our energy efficiency by 13% between 2010 and 2020*

Wienerberger factories operate a lean manufacturing system, aiming to minimise waste of all kinds. This approach enables us to control energy and water consumption and to reduce residual waste. We are also exploring opportunities to reduce or eliminate single use plastic packaging, in collaboration with other manufacturers and our customers. Our factories operate certified quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001), and energy (ISO 50001) management systems.

Our partners in manufacturing are expected to match our own high standards of operation. Where required, we provide expert support to help them establish certified management systems for their production process. 

* Source: page 47, Wienerberger AG Sustainability Report 2020

Transport

In 2020 our average delivery distance was 148km. You can help us reduce emissions from transport by purchasing from the factory closest to your project

Instead of establishing our own HGV fleet, Wienerberger utilises haulier services with the intention of minimising empty running miles. We encourage full load purchases or group deliveries where that is not possible. 

When importing products from Europe we charter vessels that carry around 850,000 bricks per load, attaining lower emissions per mile than the equivalent road transport. 

[Wienerberger’s Transport Policy outlines the expectations of our haulage providers]

Construction & installation

We provide a variety of special shaped bricks and prefabricated components to help customers reduce on-site waste

Wienerberger’s product portfolio is curated to promote quality workmanship and material efficiency in construction. We help to reduce waste on site with a range of special shaped bricks and prefabricated elements. 

Services such as HomeSpec reduce the likelihood of over-ordering materials by specifying the quantity of materials required for your project and providing guidance for correct installation.

In-use

We specialise in durable construction products: our bricks have an expected service life of 150 years

Wienerberger has always designed products and systems with durability in mind. By creating long-lasting products that require minimal maintenance during their lifespan, we ‘design out’ waste and carbon emissions.

End-of-life

90% of brick waste is diverted from landfill*

When a building is deemed to have reached its end-of-life stage, our products can be recovered for direct reuse or recycled as crushed aggregate. We advocate reuse over downcycling (reducing a material’s value), however professional advice should be sought for reuse in construction. The Brick Development Association has produced useful guidance on the use reclaimed brick.

* Source: EPD for UK Clay Brick

Facilitating a circular economy

Designing for durability and adaptability

With a reference service life over 100 years, it is possible that our core product range will outlast the lifespan of the building. Therefore, the use of durable components in the building fabric (e.g. roof, walls and floors) should be paired with an adaptable internal layout, so that buildings can morph between commercial and domestic functions without having to deconstruct or demolish a site. With this approach, it is possible to maximise rental income and conserve natural resources over a building’s lifespan.

Designing for occupant comfort

Constructing a quality building that promotes occupant wellbeing will be a critical success factor in achieving a circular economy, because dissatisfied occupants are more likely to adopt behaviours that generate waste and/or carbon emissions when they are unhappy. For example, this may include heating-cooling interventions, or making changes to the fixtures and fittings before these components reach the end of their stated service life. 

For this reason, Wienerberger considers occupant satisfaction factors such as air quality, acoustics and thermal mass when designing products, systems and buildings.

Research and development

Our understanding of the lifecycle impacts of our products, combined with market insight and customer feedback, informs our ongoing programme research, development and innovation. This includes product design concepts, raw materials research, and manufacturing process development.  

[If your research is relevant to our decarbonisation agenda, please get in touch]

Explore examples of our whole-lifecycle approach to improving environmental performance through our Case Studies. Certificates of environmental performance for our product range are available to download from our Policies and Certificates page.

Sustainability case studies

Wienerberger’s pursuit of sustainable growth is demonstrated throughout the company’s value chain. Explore our case studies to discover how we are improving people’s quality of life.

Policies and certificates 

Wienerberger collates all policies and certificates to be viewed by the public, including our Sustainability Reports and Environmental Policy.