Carbon reporting: construction’s Achilles’ heel?

Image: 140583424 © Zlikovec |
If the construction industry is meet the net zero challenge, it must overcome its weakness: carbon reporting, according to Skanska UK head of environment David Mason.

In an interview with BIMplus sister title Construction Management, Mason was asked what single thing could speed up construction’s path towards net-zero emissions. He answered: “If I had to go for one, it’s carbon data and reporting. This is the industry’s Achilles’ heel. Without robust transparent data, we lack the foundation for strategic intervention, proactive decision-making, or the focus for innovation.”

“Without robust transparent data, we lack the foundation for intervention, decision making and innovation.”

David Mason

Talking about Skanska’s approach to net zero, Mason added: “Skanska launched its net-zero carbon target in 2019 to include its supply chain. This is important because it shifts focus from our direct emissions to the much wider emissions associated with the projects we are delivering. 

To deliver Skanska’s net-zero ambition, Mason said it had implemented a six-point plan which will: 

  • build the competency of staff through a range of role specific training and interventions;  
  • improve the consistency and accuracy of carbon data;
  • utilise digital carbon tools to support proactive low-carbon decision-making; 
  • keep the firm at the cutting-edge of net-zero material developments, especially with cement and steel;
  • reduce the impact of Skanska’s fleet and plant through electrification, hydrogen, biofuels and better control; and
  • build effective, collaborative partnerships with Skanska’s supply chain to scale all the above as quickly as possible.

His advice to fellow construction professionals? “Start with the data, identify the hotspots, and set out the steps to reduce emissions. Focus on tangible action to start with to build momentum, but also remember you can’t always get the result you want so never stop challenging as you will often find you are laying the groundwork for carbon reduction on the next project.

“People respond much better to ‘can do’ rather than ‘can’t do’ so keep it positive, keep it optimistic!”

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