Major clients pledge to use carbon management standard

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Image: Nicoelnino |

Major construction clients, including National Highways, Heathrow and Sellafield, have pledged to use the PAS 2080 carbon management standard as a part of five carbon commitments.

Alongside that trio of clients are Anglian Water, the Lower Thames Crossing and Northumbrian Water. They have pledged to tackle their biggest contributors to CO2 emissions – diesel, steel, and concrete – as they signed up to the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Five Client Carbon Commitments.

The 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; and
  • sign up to PAS 2080, allowing a common standard in carbon management and reporting.

The commitments were pioneered by the Lower Thames Crossing, resulting in a 50% reduction in carbon in its procurement process, which concluded recently.

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

Matt Palmer, industry sponsor for net zero and biodiversity at the CLC and executive director of the Lower Thames Crossing, said: “The UK relies on the infrastructure [that our] organisations build and run, but the way we have been doing so is incompatible with a net-zero future. We cannot simply stop building and maintaining the infrastructure that society relies on, so we must change and adopt new materials and technologies.

“We need to be bold, and we need our partners and supply chain to come with us. Our commitments today will start to provide clear client direction to decarbonise the largest emitting areas of construction.”

PAS 2080 explained

PAS 2080: 2023 was revised early last year. The updated guidance specifies requirements for the management of wholelife 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.

The standard can be used by:

  • asset owners and managers;
  • designers;
  • constructors;
  • 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 wholelife carbon through a common management process.

The individual value chain requirements are structured around:

  • effective leadership;
  • maximising opportunities for wholelife 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.

Mark Reynolds, group chairman and chief executive of Mace and co-chair of the CLC, 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 by 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.”

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