UK’s Biggest Infrastructure Clients Pledge to Decarbonise Construction

SOME OF the biggest construction clients have today signed up to decarbonising infrastructure projects.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and Minister for Industry and Economic Security, Alan Mak have brought together the organisations to sign up to Five Client Carbon Commitments – pledges which will help the sector to achieve net zero.

The Five Client Carbon Commitments are:

Procure for low carbon construction and provide incentives in contracts.
Set phase out dates for fossil fuel use.
Eliminate the most carbon intensive concrete products.
Eliminate the most carbon intensive steel products.
Sign up to PAS 2080, allowing a common standard in carbon management and reporting.

The pledges are for organisations to significantly cut their construction carbon emissions and set out their own roadmaps to achieve those commitments.

The construction industry is a significant generator of CO₂ emissions leading to climate change.

Decarbonising Construction

The pledges cover the largest emitting areas in infrastructure delivery. They include ending using diesel on construction sites by transitioning to alternative energy sources. Shifting to the lowest carbon sources of concrete and steel available are also being targeted.

The first five to sign up are Anglian Water, Heathrow, The Lower Thames Crossing, National Highways, Northumbrian Water and Sellafield. They are committing to tackling their biggest contributors to construction CO₂ emissions – diesel, steel, and concrete.

The CLC is additionally asking client organisations to commit to using PAS2080, creating a common carbon management standard across the industry. It will help to put carbon reduction at the heart of their procurement processes.

These pledges are a move that has been pioneered by the Lower Thames Crossing, resulting in a 50% reduction in carbon in its procurement process which concluded recently.

Buying Power

The organisations which have already signed up are expected to invest tens of billions into UK infrastructure over the next decade. It means, through their buying power, they can collectively give certainty to the supply chain of the increased demand for innovative low carbon products and solutions. This will help to incentivise manufacturers and suppliers to invest in new green technologies.

Industry Minister and Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council, Alan Mak, said: “From investing in green skills and tech to boosting investment and innovation, there are huge opportunities in decarbonising for the UK construction sector.

“Through the Construct Zero framework, we could see thousands of new green jobs and billions in private sector investment being added to the UK economy. It’s fantastic to see these five Client Carbon Commitments signed today, which will go a long way towards achieving these ambitions.”

Collective Frameworks

Mark Reynolds, Group Chairman and Chief Executive of Mace and Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said: “We are now at an inflection point where wholesale changes, brought about through cross industry collaboration, are the only way to meet the speed and scale that Net Zero 2050 demands.

“Our launch of CO₂nstructZero in 2020 and the success we’ve seen so far has shown the value of collective frameworks. Creating these commitments for infrastructure delivery will allow clients in our industry to pursue more sustainable outcomes in a coordinated way – helping us all work together across the sector to drive towards decarbonisation.”

In the coming months, more organisations are scheduled to sign up to the pledge, including East West Rail, Environment Agency, Houses of Parliament Restoration & Renewal, and National Grid.

>> Read more about decarbonising construction in the news

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