The revised carbon management standard, PAS 2080:2023, is designed to help built environment organisations accelerate progress to a sustainable world by reducing their carbon emissions. Below, BSI sector lead built environment Clare Price sets out why it exists and how it can help sector organisations turn action into ambition on sustainability.
The UK government’s 2013 infrastructure carbon review recognised the opportunity to create wider benefits through managing carbon in a consistent manner across the value chain. PAS 2080 was first published by BSI in our role as the National Standards Body in 2016, with a focus on infrastructure. It outlined a practical process to realise low-carbon outcomes. Its principles and claims of conformity have been adopted by several infrastructure organisations and, increasingly, by developers and local authorities.
It became clear that a focus on infrastructure alone was not enough to achieve net-zero targets. The 2023 revision extends the scope of the document to include the built environment and infrastructure.
Targeted at leaders and all members of value chain organisations (asset owners/managers, designers, constructors and product/material suppliers) responsible for delivering built assets and networks, the updated document provides a common process for the built environment value chain to manage whole-life carbon in projects and programmes of work. It promotes reduced carbon, increased value delivery, more collaborative ways of working, and a culture of challenging convention and traditional practice for decarbonisation.
How should it be used?
The updated guidance specifies requirements for the management of whole-life carbon in buildings and infrastructure. In practical terms, this means the provision, operation, use and end of life of new projects or programmes of work, as well as the management or retrofit of existing assets and networks.
By following the PAS 2080:2023 approach, value-chain members across the built environment can work collaboratively towards the common goal of net-zero carbon transition and achieve the following outcomes:
- alignment of buildings and infrastructure projects and/or programmes of work, at the asset, network or system level, to the net-zero transition by or before 2050, and therefore have the potential to contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5 deg C, as per the Paris Climate Agreement 2015;
- reduction of carbon and increased value across the whole life of buildings and infrastructure; and
- removal of silos and creation of collaborative ways of working that promote innovation, encourage positive change for society and support economic development.
Engaging with PAS 2080:2023
We have fully revised the standard to help organisations manage carbon in their whole value chain. This means the document can now be used by:
- asset owners and managers;
- product and material suppliers; and
- procurement professionals.
PAS 2080:2023 includes requirements for all value-chain members to show leadership and establish effective governance mechanisms for reducing whole life carbon through a common management process.
The individual value chain requirements are structured around:
- effective leadership;
- maximising opportunities for whole-life carbon reductions at all stages of the delivery process;
- selecting appropriate carbon emissions assessment methodologies;
- setting appropriate carbon reduction targets;
- determining baselines against which to assess carbon reductions;
- establishing metrics (e.g. key performance indicators) for credible carbon emissions monitoring and reporting;
- integrating carbon management into procurement; and
- continual improvement of carbon management and performance.
PAS 2080 also sets out guidance for other value-chain members, including government, regulators and financiers, to illustrate the key roles these organisations play in the net-zero transition, particularly to change behaviours.
The PAS is supplemented by a guidance document. This provides further practical advice on implementing the different components and addresses current good practice through worked examples and case studies.
The standard’s potential
At a time of a global climate emergency and focus in the UK and internationally on transitioning to a net-zero carbon economy by or before 2050, this updated standard outlines a carbon management process that is applicable across both infrastructure and buildings. It recognises that they have key commonalities and are part of an interconnected system – the built environment.
Ultimately, its use within the industry has the potential to ensure that buildings, infrastructure projects and programmes of work align to global net-zero goals at every level. It does this by providing organisations with guidance on how to:
- maximise a whole-life approach to carbon reduction from the earliest origins of the projects through its end of life;
- establish roles and responsibilities to ensure a low-carbon focus throughout projects;
- integrate carbon reduction into decision-making and procurement; and
- consider carbon-reducing co-benefits with climate resilience and nature-based solutions.
Adopting PAS 2080:2023 can help to accelerate the progress the built environment has already made towards achieving its net-zero targets while also increasing collaborative working across the sector.
Download PAS 2080:2023.
Download the guidance document.
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