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UK’s biggest infrastructure companies sign pledge to decarbonise the construction sector

Posted: 30th April 2024

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and Minister for Industry and Economic Security Alan Mak have brought together leaders from across the construction industry to sign up to “Five Client Carbon Commitments” – pledges which will help the sector to achieve Net Zero.

  • Anglian Water, Heathrow, The Lower Thames Crossing, National Highways, Northumbrian Water and Sellafield commit to tackle their biggest contributors to CO₂ emissions during construction – diesel, steel, and concrete.
  • Firms have signed up to the Construction Leadership Council’s “Five Client Carbon Commitments” setting out their commitments on the journey to Net Zero.
  • Pledges will give certainty, confidence, and clarity to the whole infrastructure sector supply chain on their biggest clients’ plans to decarbonise their projects.

There is already a huge amount of work taking place across the construction industry to tackle the Net Zero challenge- today’s announcement is the next step.

“The Five Client Carbon Commitments” are:
1 Procure for low carbon construction and provide incentives in contracts.
2 Set phase out dates for fossil fuel use.
3 Eliminate the most carbon intensive concrete products.
4 Eliminate the most carbon intensive steel products.
5 Sign up to PAS 2080, allowing a common standard in carbon management and reporting.

By signing up to these five pledges organisations are signalling, in a common language, their commitment to i) significantly cut their construction carbon emissions and ii) setting out their own roadmaps to achieve those commitments.

The pledges cover the largest emitting areas in infrastructure delivery, including ending the use of diesel on construction sites (by transitioning to alternative energy sources such as diesel replacements, green hydrogen, and electric powered plant) and shifting to the lowest carbon sources of concrete and steel available.

The CLC is also asking client organisations to commit to using PAS2080, creating a common carbon management standard across the industry, and 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.

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

The construction industry plays a vital role in the success of the country’s economy by building and maintaining the infrastructure on which society relies, but it is also a significant generator of CO₂ emissions and therefore climate change. The UK government has a target to reach Net Zero by 2050 – but with the construction sector producing a significant share of the country’s
carbon emissions, change is needed.

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.

Click here for further information.