Climate and environment

As a forerunner in sustainable
infrastructure construction,
GRK aims to be carbon neutral
by 2030.

The construction and transport sectors have a major role to play in the battle against climate change and biodiversity loss.

GRK builds infrastructure that meets customers’ requirements and users’ needs, while reducing its life-cycle environmental impact.

Our activities have a long-lasting impact on the surrounding society, as the lifespan of infrastructure can be dozens or even hundreds of years. We are actively developing more resource-efficient solutions and low-carbon materials. We also invest on rail construction and our environmental services, providing circular economy services to our broad customer base.

Every day, we take concrete and clear actions to promote sustainable construction. CO2 emissions from infrastructure are mainly due to the materials and fuels used in construction, and, to a lower extent, energy consumption during the lifespan of the product.

Emissions can be reduced by using recycled materials, renewable fuels and ensuring appropriate recycling of soil, aggregates and waste. Emission reductions are also achieved by optimising the logistics of soil and aggregate transports and reducing material wastage.

Case: GRK developed an emissions calculator to monitor its carbon handprint

GRK has developed a proprietary calculation tool for monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations. The results of the emissions calculator can be used to assess the measures that need to be taken to make our own operations carbon neutral by 2030. The calculator has been used for monitoring electricity consumption and the fuel use and emissions of site machines and transport vehicles, among other things. The calculator was developed in cooperation with Sitowise.

The next step was taken in 2022 by developing the tool to measure carbon handprint.

Carbon footprint

The carbon footprint is a measure of the impact of various services and products on climate warming. It can be used to measure how much greenhouse gases are generated during construction, for example.  We have continued the work to reduce our own Scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide emissions.

GRK’s carbon footprint was 14,367 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2022 (14,812 tonnes CO2 equivalent*). GRK’s carbon footprint has been calculated for the entire Group in 2022. The accounting takes into consideration Scope 1 and 2 emissions of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG). The accounting was carried out using an emissions accounting tool created in cooperation between GRK and Sitowise.

In infrastructure construction, the carbon footprint of own operations is primarily influenced by the fuel emissions of construction site equipment and vehicles (Scope 1). At the beginning of 2021, we were the first infrastructure company to introduce Neste renewable MY diesel and fuel oil products, and we continued their use during 2022. In 2022, we used approximately 900,000 litres of renewable fuels. Renewable fuels accounted for approximately 26% of our total consumption. Our carbon footprint accounting now covers all of the countries where we operate.

In addition, we significantly increased the use of LPG in our asphalt business in 2022. In 2022, we used a total of approximately 1 million kg of LPG, while the use in 2021 was approximately 0.5 million kg. This change has an impact on our carbon footprint, as the CO2 emissions of LPG are 15–20% lower than those of fuel oil.  

With regard to purchased energy, we have strengthened the use of renewable energy (Scope 2). In Sweden, we use 100% renewable energy. In Finland, we have purchased energy centrally since April 2022, and we have used 100% renewable energy thereafter. In Estonia, the share of renewable energy is 12%.

Carbon handprint

Carbon handprint describes the climate benefits, or emissions reduction potential, of a product, process or service. GRK measured its carbon handprint for the first time in 2022, and it amounted to 10,800 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This corresponds to the CO2 emissions produced by all GRK personnel of approximately 10 t CO2 equivalent per person per year. The carbon handprint was calculated for the first time, so the comparison figure for 2021 is not available. From the beginning of 2022, we also began to monitor the recycling of waste and and the development of its volume on construction sites with an application. Interest in introducing new functionalities is high, as the savings in resources are reflected in the profitability of the sites.

GRK has further increased the use of recycled materials in construction.

In 2022, we used a total of around 551,000 tonnes of recycled materials in our Finnish companies.

During 2022, GRK used a total of 551,000 tonnes of recycled materials in its operations. This is 20% more than in 2021. Recycled materials include asphalt, concrete, ashes, slags and tyres. The use of reclaimed asphalt mixture in paving operations totalled 105,000 tonnes in 2022. This is 35% more than in 2021. The material is included in the total amount of recycled materials.

In addition, GRK has separated a total of 2,300 tonnes of precious metals, such as copper, aluminium and other non-magnetic metals in, the treatment of incineration bottom slags. These materials have been delivered to the metal industry for reuse. In addition, 2,000 tonnes of iron and steel have been magnetised, and this has been delivered as raw material for steel. The treatment of construction waste has generated 892,000 litres of energy waste, which has been delivered to energy production to replace fossil fuels.

In addition to recycling, GRK is involved in the development of new low-emission materials. We also seek the lowest carbon footprint alternatives for materials in procurement and maintain an active dialogue with material suppliers and customers to promote development.

Case: Almost one million litres of renewable fuel

GRK started to use lowemission fuels in its fleet by acquiring almost one
million litres of Neste MY renewable fuel oil and Neste MY renewable diesel
to reduce CO2 emissions.