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ULMA, a sustainable business project

Sep 07, 2023
According to the first definition of sustainability published in the Brundtland Report, "sustainability is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". This UN report entitled "Our Common Future" was produced in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development.

Since then, various international conferences and agreements have been held that have updated the concept of Sustainability (United Nations Global Compact, European Green Pact, etc.). ULMA has aligned its strategy with the fulfilment of these agreements.

Sustainability implies the conjunction of behaviours, actions and provisions aimed at ensuring a balance between economic growth, care for the environment and social well-being.

One of the commitments that make up ULMA's philosophy and mission is precisely to maintain and consolidate an attractive and sustainable business project, generating wealth and well-being in the environment. Our way of acting is based on the fulfilment of the ESG criteria that incorporate environmental, social and governance factors in production processes and business management.

As responsible and environmentally committed manufacturers, both the design of our products and the production processes for their manufacture are certified according to the International Environmental Standard ISO 14001.

Our product designs are based on the premise of durability in order to obtain the highest degree of utilisation of our extensive fleet of rental equipment.

We also ensure a high rate of product recyclability. About 90% of the raw material we use to manufacture our formwork, shoring and scaffolding consists of steel and recyclable aluminium. The scope of ULMA's PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) applies to the marketing of  VM-20 wooden beams and three-layer boards, while the scope of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification is applicable to the marketing of Birch plywood panels. Through our FSC and PEFC Chain of Custody Certifications, we ensure the traceability of wood from sustainably managed forests.

In accordance with the European Regulation 2020/852 on Green Taxonomy, one of our core activities consists of the "Repair, reconditioning and remanufacturing" of products supplied to customers. Through these and other logistical processes, and applying sustainability principles and hierarchies, we manage to maintain a business fully aligned with the objectives of Taxonomy and the Circular Economy:

  • Extending the lifespan of our products
  • Increasing the intensity of use of our rental fleet
  • Increasing the re-use of our products
  • Converting products that cannot be reused into other products
  • Recycling or recovering products that cannot be reused

All this allows us to achieve a reuse rate of our leased products of close to 98% and a recycling / recovery rate of over 90% at the end of the products´ lifespan. In this sense, our Oñati and Ajofrín plants have been awarded the Zero Waste waste management system certificate by AENOR. This certificate certifies a recovery of more than 90% of the waste produced in ULMA's plants for the manufacture and repair of metal structures for construction. Specifically, an average valorisation of 94% was achieved for the first period, and 97% for our main buffer warehouse.

Meanwhile, the BIM modelling, which is included in the project design guide of an increasing number of the construction projects in which we are involved, allows us to optimise the resources necessary for the construction of a building or infrastructure by analysing and assessing different scenarios or simulations of the project prior to its execution.

According to the WorldWatch Institute, the construction sector is responsible for 39% of carbon dioxide emissions related to energy and processes. This high percentage is due to actions on the construction site, and the transport and the manufacture of construction materials, which are aspects that ULMA puts a lot of effort into, contributing to the achievement of the reduction of greenhouse gas emission sources target. In this sense, in accordance with its sustainability strategy, ULMA is developing various measures to get as close as possible to the "net zero target".

We are aware that our responsibility and our efforts are part of a worldwide commitment, and that every step we take helps to support, strengthen and consolidate this joint commitment to build the foundations for a more sustainable planet. That is why, in addition to introducing actions that contribute to a positive impact on the environment, we create networks of collaboration and trust with our customers by facilitating the use of sustainable construction methods such as BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) and the LEED building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Emblematic projects such as the Mlociny shopping centre in Warsaw, the EuroCentrum Warsaw Complex and the Skyliner Tower in Warsaw undertaken in Poland, in addition to the Ichma Tower in Lima, Peru or the World Trade Center in Utrecht in the Netherlands, are some of these examples.