Responsible Supply Chain

Supplier Innovation Challenge


“The supplier response to our challenge was brilliant, with lots of new and great ideas coming forward. We’re delighted with our winner RKW and the difference their product has made to our business.”

Mark Griffiths, Packaging Category Manager, Europe North/UK

In 2020, we launched our second Innovation Challenge following the success of our 2018 Innovation Challenge, which generated over 200 new ideas that drew on the knowledge and experience of a variety of experts throughout Tarmac’s supply chain.

The challenge this year focused on ideas which support the continued drive to reduce carbon across the industry, following the UK becoming the first major economy to commit to achieving a net-zero society by 2050. This legislative commitment requires action from public and private organisations to allow for the development of a greener, cleaner society – the built environment will be key in meeting the challenge.

Dr Martyn Kenny, Sustainability Director at Tarmac, said: “We firmly believe in supporting the development of a low carbon, resilient built environment fit for the future and recognise that collaborative working will be key meeting the collective challenge our industry faces.” To identify as many ideas as possible we wanted to engage across our entire supply chain but also with start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs and other organisations to ensure we left no stone unturned. 174 innovation ideas were pitched and 57% of these ideas we received came from new contacts we made through this process. We then worked with advisors to review the ideas and eventually narrowed it down to seven finalists, whose ideas are also being developed within our business but are at various stages of implementation.

Our winner, RKW was announced in September 2021 with their innovation towards Net Zero-Carbon Packaging. This led to Tarmac becoming the first major cement manufacturer in the UK to move to 50% recycled plastic in its packaging with the roll out of new all-weather, fully recyclable hybrid bags.

Our Aberthaw Cement Plant uses up to 50% recycled material to reuse plastic waste and we are also trialing bags of up to 100% recycled material to understand its performance. This change has helped us achieve a CO2 reduction of approximately 651 tonnes and is helping us on our journey to net zero.