Lords Builders Merchants in Park Royal, West London, played host to a visit from Construction Minister Lee Rowley MP, who was taken to the 12-branch builders merchant as part of a fact-finding mission organised by the Builders Merchants Federation.
Discussions undertaken during the tour highlighted the challenges facing builders’ merchants, as well as initiatives Lords Builders Merchants are undertaking to reduce their carbon footprint and support their staff as well as their customers.
Lords’ managing director Jamie Herd said: “We have worked extremely hard over the last two years to maintain stock levels and pricing for our customer base. However, the disruption in the supply chain, lack of HGV drivers and price inflation continue to have a significant impact on merchanting across the board. I was pleased to have the opportunity to outline the extent of these issues and the measures we have put in place to support our customers.
“We were also proud to share details of the work we are doing in partnership with fellow BMF members Bradfords and Markovitz to develop an ESG framework that can be used by the wider industry. These include trialling renewable diesel HVO in our vehicles, moving to lithium batteries in our forklifts and the use of solar panels as we refurbish branches. As part of our social strategy, we have launched a company-wide ‘Mind Kind’ initiative, with 24 staff now trained as mental health first aiders to support staff that may be dealing with poor mental health.”
John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, gave the Construction Minister an overview of how its members perform an essential function in distributing construction materials and home improvement products across the UK. He also explained how the industry is actively embracing a more sustainable focus. He said: “Faced with the challenges of the past two years, the construction supply chain has adopted a flexible and collaborative approach to finding solutions. This has not only helped overcome issues with product availability, it also underpins the industry’s approach to finding sustainable solutions.
“Low or zero-carbon products will be crucial in the construction and home improvement industries to drive down emissions. We were able to demonstrate that the building supply chain is the most efficient route to market for these products.”