BES 6001 Kingspan Insulation Ltd.

Company background

Kingspan Insulation is a market leading manufacturer of high performance rigid insulation products and insulated systems for building fabric and building services applications.  Kingspan Insulation’s product range includes rigid Kooltherm, Therma and KoolDuct insulation products.
The products are used in a variety of applications including:

  • pitched, flat and tapered roofs;
  • cavity and solid walls;
  • insulated dry lining;
  • timber and steel framing;

…and a range of other uses.

The company has a UK workforce of just under 400 based at two sites in Pembridge and near Selby.


Kingspan Insulation’s motivation

The principles of BES 6001 around sustainability and ethical practice and responsible sourcing are very closely aligned to Kingspan Insulation’s business principles as expressed in their latest Sustainability and Responsibility Report:

  • ‘Kingspan Insulation [has a] long-term commitment to sustainability and responsibility in all of the company’s guises: as a manufacturer of insulation products, as an employer, as a substantial landholder; and as a key member of its neighbouring communities’
  • ‘Kingspan Group is committed to acting responsibly in its business, and maintaining high standards of ethics and integrity in all its dealings with stakeholder, be they investors, customers, suppliers, its people or the community in which it operates.’

Kingspan Insulation decided that they would be able to effectively demonstrate their performance in a wide-ranging set of sustainability an ethical criteria through securing BES 6001 certification for key products manufactured at their Pembridge and Selby facilities – their Kooltherm, Therma and KoolDuct product ranges.

In addition, Kingspan Insulation recognised that if they secured BES 6001 certification then this would help their clients secure additional BREEAM or Code for Sustainable Homes credits and thus achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Certification process

Kingspan started the process of developing and securing responsible sourcing certification in 2009 in collaboration with Arup with the intention of creating a model for a sector specific scheme.  However, this initiative met an immediate problem with the supply chains of many of the Kingspan constituent materials.  These supply chains comprised commodity traded chemical materials, proving to be impossible to trace back, by the very nature of their manufacturing process, to raw material extraction.  In addition, this work also hit a challenge in how complicated multinational supply chains, often of very minor components in a final product, could be managed and assessed.

These challenges resulted in Kingspan selecting to secure responsible sourcing certification not through a specific insulation sector specific scheme but through the then recently launched BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing Standard from BRE.  To Kingspan Insulation BES 6001 offered the benefits of:

  • accepting that in the case of commodity traded chemicals traceability back to the chemical manufacture was the pragmatic solution to a currently intractable challenge of traceability in the chemical manufacturing process, and
  • a 98% confidence limit around the provision of data for non-EU/OECD input materials

The early engagement between Kingspan and BRE began with a scoping pre-assessment site visit in 2009 in order for Kingspan to better understand how to comply with the Standard.  There then followed a period of consolidation of systems and evidence within Kingspan before the certification activity proper began in early 2012 with the production of a pre-assessment report based on detailed documentary evidence provided by Kingspan Insulation.  This evidence covered internal systems as well as breakdowns of input material types, sources and suppliers.   This was a challenging activity for both client and auditor as the input materials for the products to be audited were numerous and from a wide range of source companies in many countries.  In addition, the combination of input materials was complex for the different product types within the Kooltherm, Therma and KoolDuct ranges.

A significant challenge overcome in the audit was around the equivalence of alternative examples of H&S Management System compliance.  BES 6001 cites OHSAS 18001 as the primary means of demonstrating compliance.  However, in multinational supply chains like Kingspan Insulation’s take up of OHSAS was limited.  BRE’s knowledge of relevant equivalent alternative options meant that this challenge was overcome.   

There then followed two site visits to Kingspan Insulation’s Pembridge HQ along with the production facilities at Pembridge and Selby.  The site visits enabled BRE Global auditors to review Kingspan Insulation’s responsible sourcing related processes at their HQ (where the various policies and procedures were developed and managed) as well as at their manufacturing plants where the policies were implemented within the production process.

By April 2013 the process was complete and Kingspan Insulation secured a ‘Very Good’ BES 6001 certified rating for all the products which entered the certification process.

Kingspan Insulation’s Kooltherm, Therma and KoolDuct products are the first insulation products to receive BES 6001 responsible sourcing certification.

Customer benefits

Kingspan Insulation is delighted with the ‘Very Good’ BES 6001 rating secured for its Kooltherm and KoolDuct products manufactured at Selby and Pembridge and now intends to promote this achievement to clients and the wider construction and sustainability industry.

John Garbutt, Kingspan Insulation’s Marketing director, says:

“The process required to achieve BES 6001 is robust and rigorous.    The standard is a great way of illustrating whether businesses conduct their operations in a responsible manner, and Kingspan Insulation clearly does.   Kingspan is now working to ensure that its achievement of BES6001 can be taken account of in the next revision of BREEAM.”


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