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Carbon Neutrality in the Supply Chain – What’s It All About?

In 2019, the UK made an announcement to legislate a target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Since then, it has become the hot topic of discussion for Government authorities, the media and the public alike to reflect on how each sector is able to contribute towards the balancing act of greenhouse gas emissions produced vs removed through their operations.

A vital first step is the notion of carbon neutrality – a responsibility for businesses to acknowledge, measure and actively limit carbon emission activity, while offsetting any unavoidable remains through reforestation or renewable energy initiatives worldwide.

What Does It Mean to Be Carbon Neutral?

Gaining official recognition as a carbon neutral business goes beyond solar panel installations and office recycling bins. A business must commit to an individualised carbon reduction plan that prioritises short-term and long-term goals of all operational activity within the business, that is measured annually and actioned in line with the recommendations.

Collective change will only occur when there is collaboration and commitment from all stakeholders, an ideology that requires primary focus for the UK construction sector.

Construction & The Built Environment 

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the built environment accounts for 37% of gross annual carbon emissions worldwide, with this figure rising slightly to 40% when it comes to the carbon footprint of the UK alone.

Where supply chain involvement in the industry can often be complex and involve many parties, this is where the role of carbon neutral contractors become more crucial.

Holistically, being able to integrate practices that reduce emissions across the project lifecycle is key, from design and material sourcing to construction methods and waste management. However, each contractor’s responsibility will look different as part of this and there is mounting pressure moving upwards within supply chains to be able to meet specific carbon efficiency criteria.

Sustainable Construction Methods

The planning and design of the industrial built environment is applying greater focus on utilising Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to aid sustainable building practices and conform to certified assessments such as BREEAM.

For example, the use of composite panels vs more traditional, labour-intensive building materials for internal fit-out and refurbishment contracts is becoming increasingly popular within project specifications, and also an area of technical expertise for Stancold. Materials with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) that transparently communicate their environmental performance, alongside offsite manufacturing capabilities and end-of-life recyclability fully supports efforts towards sustainable construction.

Scope 3 Carbon Emissions

Pressure remains for all levels of contractors and suppliers within any one project to enhance its sustainability profile. Whether carbon footprint credentials form a key part of its written specification or not, contractors that are already confirming their position as carbon neutral pose a greater advantage for the indirect, or scope 3, requirements of the overall environmental performance of the project.

As the UK construction industry’s move towards a more sustainable future remains challenging yet essential, every contractor, supplier and manufacturer has a duty to support the journey to carbonless construction in the UK to make a real difference.

Your Carbon Neutral Contractor of Choice

Stancold are proud to be a carbon neutral multi-disciplinary contractor within the wider construction industry, accredited with the UN’s Climate Neutral Now scheme. Since 2021, we have actively taken accountability for our carbon footprint and continue to improve our processes in line with our carbon reduction plan.

For more information on our carbon neutral status or to discuss how we could work with you sustainably, please get in touch with our team on 0117 316 7000 or contact us here.

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