Costain

The Wales Responsible Large Business of the Year Award, 2017, Winner

Costain is 150 years old and was started by a carpenter in Liverpool as a house builder. Now Costain delivers major construction and infrastructure projects across the UK and beyond. With over 4,000 people employed across the UK, Costain believes that the strength of the company is built on its employees, from the ground up – through apprentices to graduates. 

Good for business

  • Winning work – five new major projects secured in Wales, resulting in a potential for 3,000 new roles
  • Improved reputation – score an average of 42 in the Considerate Contractors Scheme, against an industry average of 35
  • Reduced environmental impact – 96% of waste was successfully diverted from landfill, further reducing logistics costs of moving waste around

Good for society

  • Community investment – over 80% (around £50mn) of spend on the Heads of the Valleys project was spent with local suppliers and contractors
  • Work experience – successfully delivered over 8,000 hours of work experience on various highways projects and carried out over 130 site visits for schools; supporting the next generation of young talent into the industry
  • Research and development – partnered with higher education institutions, including Cardiff University, with investment totalling £46mn, resulting in new ways of building large scale infrastructure

With values embedded across the organisation, from the CEO to the Board and out to delivery and project teams on the ground, Costain is committed to acting in line with those values, challenging the way business is done in the sector, innovating and being a responsible business. This commitment is taken on board by all members of staff, with internal processes, recruitment, HR and procurement systems led and driven by the company’s values. 

For Costain, being a responsible business extends out into the community under the Costain Cares programme, which drives activities in schools, with community groups, local stakeholders and organisations to help leave a positive legacy – both in terms of the finished project – but also in terms of social and environmental impacts. Costain bring colleagues on board through a holistic approach to communication and engagement. Through appraisal, review and promotion processes along with how the company celebrates success among colleagues, staff are included in every aspect of responsible business. A combination of practical measures such as press releases, statements, videos and staff panels helps to bring everything back to the work that Costain does. 

This comprehensive approach to working with colleagues and individuals internally, combined with working with community groups, stakeholders, schools and partners externally has resulted in significant positive impacts outside of the business. Spending with local suppliers and subcontractors in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport has been measured at 80% of project spend, the company has created 220 direct employment opportunities – with the potential for 3,000 more aligned with the new work Costain is winning as a responsible business, over 50 apprenticeship opportunities, more than 90% of waste is now recycled rather than going direct to landfill and Costain goes into schools and partners with local charities to make a positive difference wherever they work. 

Driven by values and committed to leaving a positive legacy beyond the completion of their work, Costain is putting responsible business practices at the forefront of what they do and how they conduct themselves as a business in today’s Wales.

What Costain’s Chief Executive said:

“In more recent years Costain has taken considerable strides in developing our business plan to incorporate a wide range of infrastructure solutions and to focus on supporting a close group of valued customers. In the process we have sought to promote responsible business practices and challenge norms to ensure that Costain is an industry-leading sustainable business.”Andrew Wyllie CBE, Chief Executive, Costain Group