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North Wales company keeps Wembley and Wimbledon dry on its road to Net Zero

Roberts group; (Centre) Ashley Rogers, chief executive of the North Wales Business Council with Andrew Roberts; head of sustainability at the Roberts Group and CEO Nick Roberts

A NORTH Wales roofing materials company is keeping the rain out of some of the world’s most iconic buildings – and saving the planet at the same time.

The Flint-based Roberts Group’s products are in use on the roofs of the new Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon and New York’s Empire State Building but they’re not just keeping them dry, they’re keeping them green as well.

And that certainly makes sense for the family business set up over 40 years ago to make and supply roofing materials and which has seen its turnover rocket by 88 per cent since 2020 with plans to enter the USA market later this year.

At the same time they are on course to reach Net Zero by 2050, an impressive ambition in an industry traditionally driven more by the bottom line than green ideals.

The company’s burgeoning eco credentials prompted a visit to their factory by Ashley Rogers, Chief Executive of the North Wales Business Council which runs the North Wales Net Zero Network.

The next meeting of the network, which was set up to help businesses in the region chart a path to a carbon-free future, takes place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on Wednesday, July 10, at 12.30pm.

Driving the green agenda at the company, which is based on Flint’s Castle Park Industrial Estate, is Andrew Roberts, Head of Sustainability, and the third generation of the family in the business which employs 110 staff.

He said: “We were originally founded in1984 as Polyroof focusing on liquid roofing materials for garages and extensions and since then the Roberts Group has come a long way.

“We now waterproof large commercial buildings that span tens of thousands of square metres, and we have also branched out into the merchant market with our Restec products.

“Our materials are used to keep the rain out at some of the world’s most prestigious locations including Wembley Stadium and the Empire State Building.

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“We are a manufacturing operation, making the materials which roof buildings and keep them watertight and we have always been very committed to research and development to make our products and even run a training and research centre here at Flint.

“In the last few years though, we have really focused on reducing the environmental impact of both our operations and finished products. Since 2021 we have reduced our electrical usage by a total of 8,740 kilowatt hours and our gas usage by 46 per cent, saving emissions equivalent of 28-tonnes of carbon and at the same time growing turnover by 54 per cent.

Two of the company’s best-selling range of Polyroof roofing materials, Protec and Protec Evolve, have Environmental Product Declaration – EPD – while each 20 kilogram pail of its Restec GRProof base resin contains the equivalent of 206 plastic bottles.

Andrew added “That means we are marrying business growth to sustainability growth and we are working with universities in the North West and North Wales to see how we can further develop that sustainability.

“Gaining EPD status for construction products is a complicated process and relatively rare in the sector so we are really proud that we now have the ability to deliver these in house and use them to drive carbon reduction.”

Ashley Rogers said: “What the Roberts Group are doing is really impressive. They are growing their business substantially whilst reducing their environmental impact at the same time. That’s real industry leadership from a family business based in North Wales.

“They do have a long-term goal, which is important to aim for but they are delivering every day on that goal. It’s not just promises and pledges.

“They are making continual improvements that benefit both the bottom line and the environment. Focusing on the circular economy and Net Zero is at the core of what they do.”

Andrew said: “I was brought in to lead this three years ago when we highlighted that sustainability was to become high profile and we wanted to ensure we were doing our bit and at the same time position ourselves to maximise opportunity.

“We have now made it a key focus of our business and want to lead the industry.

“Within the next year we should have solar panels on the roofs and we have already eliminated waste to landfill from the site.

“Beyond that we are working with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru in Broughton to monitor and analyse our electricity usage, so that we can plan our most energy-intensive activity to be timed to coincide with high levels of green electrical power.

“These steps are just the tip of the iceberg as we move towards Net Zero and are just part of our plans.

“We have achieved a lot so far just by picking off the low-hanging fruit and it’s saved us money as well and the real challenge lies ahead but we’re confident.

“We’re moving towards a carbon-based economy. People don’t need just to worry how much something costs in pounds but they need to count the cost in carbon as well.

“Decarbonising this site is important but what’s really important is decarbonising our products which means looking at our whole supply chain.

“Each pail of our GRProof base coat is now 18 per cent recycled plastic. It’s a very successful product but it’s just a beginning – we want to get sustainable technology like this into all our products.”

“Our targets are ambitious but we believe realistic and we’re well on course to achieve our goal of becoming Net Zero by 2050.”

To book a place at the Net Zero North Wales Network session at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Wednesday, July 10, go to the Net Zero North Wales webpage.