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The Supply Chain Sustainability School has become an Official Partner of Futurebuild 2024 to support the industry in being more sustainable.

Futurebuild aligns with the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s mission and is focused on building a better future for the built environment and driving positive change.

Futurebuild, the built environment’s most influential event for innovation and collaboration is back for its 18th year, taking place at London’s ExCeL from March 5 – 7 2024. The event will showcase ground-breaking ideas, creative and inspirational innovations and crucial collaboration to help us set the stage for a greener, more resilient future.

More than 20,000 professionals from across the entire supply chain – including architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, housebuilders, developers, consultants, contractors and manufacturers – will come together to explore real sustainable building materials and practices and methods of delivering construction projects that are smart and sustainable.

Visitors can expect nine zones, all with dedicated exhibitors and a targeted seminar programme: FutureX Innovation, Materials, Interiors, Offsite, Retrofit, Sustainable Infrastructure, Energy, Buildings, and Digital. The event will also feature the launch of the National Retrofit Conference, supported by the Retrofit Academy and the National Retrofit Hub. This will examine how they will deliver retrofit across the UK at the scale needed, from policy to practical delivery.

School Members are encouraged to attend the event and experience a busy programme of high-profile thought leadership panels, hosting experts from the Supply Chain Sustainability School:

  • 5th March, 1.15-2pm: ‘Catalysing Change: Exploring Social Value Beyond the Mainstream’ – chaired by Senior Consultant and Social Value Lead, Vaishali Baid
  • 5th March, 4.15-5pm: ‘Driving a low carbon, just transition to a more sustainable future’ – chaired by our School Chair, Shaun McCarthy OBE, and featuring our Head of Carbon, James Cadman and Lead Consultant, Helen Carter
  • 6th March, 11.30am-12.15pm: ‘The Materiality of Materials: Green materials and the opportunity for maximum positive impact’ – chaired by our Sector Manager, David Emery, and featuring our Head of FIR, Cathryn Greville

Be sure to visit the School team at stand H24.

Registration for Futurebuild 2024 is now live. Register your team for FREE at https://register.visitcloud.com/survey/1cog43waemb27?actioncode=1024

On 1st November, the Supply Chain Sustainability School will bring industry leaders and experts together for an unmissable virtual conference, ‘Building a Greener Tomorrow: Energy Efficiency Revolution‘.

With keynote speakers from Cadent Gas, Wates Group, Travis Perkins, and Speedy Hire, this event investigates the steps you need to take as an SME or large enterprise and reflect on your energy efficiency strategies, to remain resilient despite turbulent times ahead, and keep in step with some of the UK’s most forward-looking sustainable brands. 

Why Attend? 

Navigating the complexities of energy consumption and the transition away from fossil fuels is a recurring topic in the news. It touches every facet of our lives, from how we heat our homes to the way we manufacture goods and get around.  

Key facts on energy efficiency: 

  • Innovating for Net Zero: According to the “Industrial Strategy: Construction 2025,” the UK construction sector is geared towards growth markets in smart technologies and green construction, outlining a proven long-term vision for achieving Net Zero. 
  • Building Sector: Responsible for about 40% of the UK’s total energy consumption. 
  • Gas Dependency: Approximately 78% of UK households rely on gas for central heating. 
  • Retrofitting: Upgrading existing buildings could lead to a 50% reduction in energy demand from heating, according to government estimates. 

The UK’s Energy Strategy aims to “Power Up Britain” efficiently, placing a strong focus on retrofitting existing infrastructure and expanding the use of renewable energy sources. Additionally, it sets ambitious goals that every sector needs to work toward.  

This virtual conference is designed to provide you with the insights, tools, and practical strategies that organisations will need to make a meaningful impact on energy efficiency. 

Agenda Highlights  

Cadent Gas: Regulatory Change and Need for Innovation Management  

Topics covered: 

  • Regulatory Influence and Policy Formation 
  • Supply Chain Engagement with Green Gas 
  • Forward-looking Ambition for a Hydrogen Economy 

“The journey towards decarbonisation is not a solo endeavour. Through robust partnerships, we can amplify our impact and propel the UK into a low carbon economy, turning green gas from a niche market to the norm.” Sikander Mahmood, Operational Transition, Project Manager. 

Wates Group: Lessons Learned from Energy & Carbon Reduction Projects 

Topics covered: 

  • Transitioning to Renewable Energy 
  • Alignment with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) 
  • Commitment to Achieving Net Zero by 2045. 

“Energy efficiency is not just an operational concern; it’s a strategic imperative. With our ambitious Net Zero goal set for 2045, we are proof that commercial success and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.” Adetunji Lawal, Head of Energy and Carbon. 

Travis Perkins: Sustainable Products, EPDs, and Energy Efficiency 

Topics covered: 

  • The Role of Sustainable Products in Supply Chains 
  • Services Designed to Guide Businesses Through Environmental Legislation 
  • A Comprehensive Plan to Enhance Energy Efficiency Across 2,000 Sites. 

“Our top ESG priority is to ‘decarbonise the industry’ and key to this is effective collaboration across the value chain. By engaging with suppliers, we can ensure our customers have access to a range of sustainable products and services, supported with better product data that helps meet the challenges of retrofit and decarbonisation in the UK.” James Vance, Group Head of Environment.  

Speedy Hire: A Decade to Deliver – Achieving Net Zero by 2040 

Topics covered: 

  • Plans to Reduce Scope 1 and 2 Emissions by 50% by 2030 
  • Strategies for Cutting Scope 3 Emissions by 42% by 2030 
  • The Importance of ‘Decade to Deliver’ Strategy in Meeting Targets Ahead of Government Deadlines. 

“We have ten years, not just to talk about sustainability but to act. With our ‘Decade to Deliver,’ we are accelerating the race to Net Zero, 10 years ahead of governmental targets. Time is of the essence; let’s act on it.” 


Join us on Wednesday 1st November to hear these thought leaders expand on these critical topics and equip your organisation with the latest strategies and insights on energy efficiency and sustainability. 

Learn more and register for our ‘Building a Greener Tomorrow: Energy Efficiency Revolution’ virtual conference here. 


Written by Chris Williams-Lilley, Senior Consultant for Action Sustainability.

On Tuesday 26th September, the Supply Chain Sustainability School held its Net Zero Summit 2023 in Coventry Building Society Arena. Attended by hundreds of sustainability experts from across the built environment industry, the Summit provided a chance for people to come together and discuss the key challenges facing our industry on its journey to net zero and the big solutions needed.

Fergus Harradence (BEIS) delivers his keynote speech

The Summit kicked off with a warm welcome message from Shaun McCarthy OBE, the School Chair. Fergus Harradence from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy then took to the stage to deliver a powerful keynote speech on the construction sector’s contribution to the UK’s Net Zero ambitions.

As the day unfolded, attendees were able to choose from different enlightening discussions led by experts in the field. These sessions delved deep into the challenges the industry faces on its journey to net zero and explored potential solutions.

Cathryn Greville (Supply Chain Sustainability School) chairs a breakout session panel on the talent and skills challenge

Later on, Mia McCarthy, Head of Sustainability (Ireland) at SSE delivered the afternoon keynote. This was followed by a series of thought-provoking presentations by specialists who offered diverse perspectives on the concept of a just transition, rounded out by an engaging audience Q&A session.

Mia McCarthy (SSE) delivers her keynote speech on just transition

As the evening drew in, the event concluded cheerfully with an awards ceremony to recognise individuals and organisations that have been highly engaged with the School, followed by a drinks and networking session. See below for the full list of winners:

  1. Individual Contribution to the School: Briony Wickenden
  2. Gold Member SME in the Construction Sector: Story Decorating Group Ltd
  3. Gold Member SME in the Homes Sector: Tiger Supplies
  4. Gold Member SME in the FM Sector: Go Green Ltd
  5. Partner Award for Supply Chain Engagement: Bellway Homes
  6.  Partner Award for Internal Engagement: Savills

Thank you to everyone who attended the Summit for helping to make it such an engaging and inspiring event. Stay tuned for additional photos, videos and insights from the event.


Net Zero Summit Feedback

Did you attend the Summit? Your feedback is important to us. Please take 2 minutes to fill out our anonymous online Summit Feedback form – this helps us to improve any future Supply Chain Sustainability School events.


Thank you to our sponsors:


Written by Saira Khan, Conference & Outreach Officer for the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Programme.

Dyslexia Awareness Week: ‘Uniquely You’ 

From 2nd to 8th October 2023, we’re celebrating Dyslexia Awareness Week. This year’s theme is ‘Uniquely You.’ This theme focuses on celebrating the strengths and unique qualities of people with dyslexia. My experience here at Action Sustainability during this special week demonstrates how workplaces can support team members with different needs. 

I’ve been with the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) team at Action Sustainability for just over a month now, and I have to say, it’s been a fantastic experience. The people here have been incredibly welcoming and supportive, making my transition into this new job incredibly smooth and enjoyable. 

Today, I want to share my story and talk about some of the great ways my team has helped with my reasonable adjustments for my dyslexia. What’s really interesting and exciting is that some of the support they have offered is new to me, and they’re super helpful. I love learning new things and finding ways to do my best at work, and working in an environment like this has not only increased my happiness but also improved my productivity. 

The Importance of Meeting Unique Needs 

The reason why I want to highlight these adjustments is that it’s so easy to meet someone’s unique needs and, in turn, gain an employee who brings something truly special to the team. The rate of representation of people with disabilities and additional needs in the built environment sector is very low and needs significant attention. Only 4.5% of people in the sector identify as having a disability, despite representing 17.8% of the population. It is more difficult for people with disabilities to get a job, we know it exists, but the disability pay gap is not measured by most businesses, and more than a quarter of businesses do not have a reasonable adjustment policy in place, the basic requirement to support people with disabilities. 

Without accommodating for everyone’s needs, we miss out on talent and perspectives that add incredible value to teams and the work they do. 

Being Prepared: Equipment and Software 

Before my first day, my team was already busy getting everything ready for me. They read my Accessibility Statement carefully and made sure all the equipment I needed was set up, and the necessary computer programmes were installed by our IT providers. This was a big help because it meant I could get to work right away without any hiccups. 

Extra Help with Proofreading 

Dyslexia makes it tough for me to catch spelling and grammar mistakes that regular computer checkers might miss. But I’m lucky to have an amazing boss who takes time to check a lot of my work before it’s sent out. She’s really good at finding errors, helping me to make sure our messages and documents are free of mistakes. 

Making Pronunciation Easier 

Another thing that can be tough with dyslexia is pronouncing certain words, especially during meetings. My boss has been super supportive in this area. She records herself saying words and names I have trouble with and sends these recordings to me. This is a thoughtful gesture that helps me with pronunciation and makes me feel more confident, especially when I have important meetings. 

Meeting Notes and Email Follow-up: A Game-Changer 

One of the best things my team does is taking detailed notes during meetings and sending them to me by email afterwards. This may seem simple, but it’s been a big help in my participation and understanding. 

With dyslexia, it can be hard to process spoken information quickly, especially in fast meetings. Having notes to look at lets me take my time to understand and go over important points later. This makes sure I don’t miss important details shared in our discussions. 

Getting good notes by email is a great reference for me. I can read them when I have the time to focus, making sure I stay well-informed and involved in ongoing projects and conversations. 

An Open Environment for Questions and Lots of Patience 

One thing I really appreciate is that my team has created a space where I’m never afraid to ask for things to be repeated or to ask lots of questions. They’re incredibly patient and understanding. They take the time to explain things, discuss ideas, and repeat information when I need it. This makes our work environment open and helps me keep learning and improving. 

I’m really thankful for the flexibility and support I’ve received from my new FIR team. They’re doing a great job creating an inclusive work environment, and the new techniques they’ve introduced me to have been a big help. It’s nice to see how they’ve embraced these changes, making my time here not just smoother but also enjoyable. I feel confident that we will continue to find ways to help each other and continue to improve on accessibility within the team and across the organisation. 

As we celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week, I want to express my gratitude to my wonderful FIR team members – Cathryn Greville, Sara Gouveia and Berta Santos – for going the extra mile and making an environment where everyone can do their best. Their support and patience have not only made my transition easier but also show what real inclusivity, teamwork, and dyslexia awareness mean.  

Thank you for being a part of my journey, and let’s keep celebrating our uniqueness together.

The full report can be found on the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s website here

Today, the Supply Chain Sustainability School has released the results of its eighth annual review of the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Programme in the built environment sector through the 2023 FIR Culture Impact Report. This year’s survey marked a milestone with 1,270 respondents, reflecting a 19.6% increase from the previous year, highlighting the growing importance of the FIR mission within the industry.

The 2023 FIR Culture Impact Survey received a 68% completion rate, a testament to the engagement and commitment of the respondents. This year, 61% of the respondents had participated in the FIR Programme, with 32% of them having joined within the last 12 months. Notably, the survey revealed a diverse respondent base, challenging industry benchmarks with 52% of respondents being women, 11% disclosing a disability, and 8.8% representing non-white backgrounds. 

The survey further highlighted the invaluable role of FIR Ambassadors within the programme, with 434 Ambassadors (34% of respondents) sharing their insights.

Key findings comparing FIR Ambassadors to non-Ambassadors include: 

  • 76% of FIR Ambassadors agreed that their employer makes the most of their skills, compared to 68% of non-Ambassadors. 
  • 84% of FIR Ambassadors feel respected by their manager or supervisor, in contrast to 74% of non-Ambassadors. 
  • 85% of FIR Ambassadors agree that they feel part of a team at work, while only 74% of non-Ambassadors share the same sentiment. 

The survey also indicated that the FIR Programme has had a significant positive impact on participating businesses. The majority of respondents rated the quality of FIR training as excellent or good, with 90% approving of workshops, webinars, and the FIR resource library. Additionally, 91% of workshop attendees reported increased understanding, while 93% of webinar participants agreed that their comprehension improved. E-learning modules also received high praise, with 93% reporting enhancement of knowledge, and 85% implementing knowledge gained from the FIR resource library.

The impact on individuals, as reported by the survey, remains consistent year on year, with positive results increasing alongside the growing number of respondents: 

  • 94% agree that the FIR Programme helped them understand the business case for embedding FIR within their business.
  • 87% feel empowered to deal with FIR issues more effectively.
  • 83% now have the confidence to challenge poor behaviours. 

Regarding the impact on business processes, the survey revealed that many organisations are reporting positive changes: 

  • 63% reported pockets of good practice or fully embedding change in their recruitment practices. 
  • 59% fully embed FIR within people-management processes or report pockets of good practice.
  • 25% have fully embedded diversity monitoring, with 55% starting the process or achieving pockets of good practice.
  • 18% have fully embedded FIR within their procurement process to drive a culture of FIR within their supply chains. 

Anonymous participants provided insights into the personal impact of the FIR Programme. Their comments highlight the programme’s ability to create better individuals, foster networking opportunities, and empower employees to promote FIR ideals:

One anonymous survey participant commented: “As a senior manager, I feel the knowledge I have gained and increased allows me to further promote FIR ideals and ideas with my business. I am of a generation before FIR, and the ideals encompass and uphold perfectly, a lifelong held belief that tolerance and being a decent human being are paramount and essential in life.” 

The FIR Programme’s commitment to fairness, inclusion, and respect in the built environment sector is evident in these compelling survey results, showcasing its positive impact on individuals, businesses, and the industry.

The School is part-funded by CITB and industry Partners, with the direction of the School being led by over 200 Partners – working in collaboration, they share knowledge and free resources to inspire the UK built environment to drive positive change.  

The Supply Chain Sustainability School provides free practical learning and support in the form of sustainability training, networking, e-learning modules, tailored assessments, action plans and a library of over 3,000 online resources. Sign up for free: https://www.supplychainschool.co.uk/   

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has today released its groundbreaking industry report focused on “Packaging Optimisation in the Housebuilding Sector.” This comprehensive report addresses a critical issue in the built environment – packaging waste – and provides practical solutions for reducing its impact on both cost and carbon. 

Packaging waste has emerged as a significant challenge within the built environment industry, contributing to economic and environmental concerns. This report addresses these critical challenges and whilst focusing on the housebuilding sector, known for its substantial packaging demands, its insights extend beyond and are relevant for wider construction, facilities management, infrastructure, and more.  

Ten School Partners have collaborated to co-fund this project, with a total of over 30 organisations joining forces to make this report possible. It encompasses real-world, actionable examples of packaging optimisation, including source elimination, reuse strategies, and optimal recycling conditions. It covers various packaging types, offering a comprehensive guide to implementing effective change. 

Importantly, the report sheds light on the policy challenges that organisations dealing with significant packaging volumes are likely to encounter. It addresses key concerns such as the Plastic Packaging Tax and Extended Producer Responsibility, providing essential insights for navigating regulatory landscapes. 

Key highlights of the report: 

  • Real-world examples of successful packaging optimisation strategies 
  • Insights into source elimination, reuse, and recycling optimisation 
  • Coverage of major packaging types and their optimisation potential 
  • Examination of common barriers to change and ongoing trials to overcome them 
  • Analysis of policy challenges faced by organisations dealing with substantial packaging volumes 

Packaging remains a substantial cost and environmental burden for businesses. The UK construction industry alone generates around 55,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually, with an estimated 35,000 tonnes originating from packaging. Less than half of this plastic packaging is recycled, reinforcing the urgency of effective solutions. 

Matt Nichols, Regional Director at Reconomy and Chair of the School’s Waste and Resource Use Leadership Group, said: “Packaging and the waste created by its treatment remains a major contributor to cost and carbon across the entire built environment.  Our Housebuilding sector is not alone in experiencing major challenges to address this problem, so this opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the industry whilst drawing upon insights from so many expert stakeholders within the School partnership could not be missed.  This project report contains content applicable not just for Housebuilding, but for anyone interested in optimising and reducing the endless flow of packaging arriving at project sites every day. I cannot recommend it enough”. 

Mark Turner, Waste and Resource Management lead for the Supply Chain Sustainability School, highlighted the collaborative effort behind the report: “This has been a brilliant opportunity to help deliver our School mission to enable a sustainable built environment through knowledge and collaboration. We have worked closely alongside four of the UK’s largest Housebuilders and in total over 30 leading organisations within the built environment to produce this report. Insights from the Housebuilders, their suppliers, product manufacturers, along with waste management and policy experts have provided a window into the opportunities for packaging optimisation. Most crucially, all of these organisations have entered into the spirit of open collaboration, providing solutions and practical examples for others to follow. We can only thank them.” 

To access the full report and contribute to sustainable packaging practices in the housebuilding sector and the broader built environment, read the full report here

Action Sustainability, the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s delivery partner, has today released new guidance, highlighting how to address modern slavery and labour exploitation risks in the solar photovoltaic supply chain.

With the effects of climate change becoming apparent in all corners of the world, the transition to a low-carbon economy is more urgent than ever. Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is vital in enabling this transition: it captures solar energy efficiently, producing low-carbon electricity and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

However, recent reports such as the Global Slavery Index 2023 and Sheffield Hallam University’s ‘In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labour and Global Supply Chains’ have exposed how the solar PV industry is vulnerable to forced labour.

Action Sustainability’s new ‘Addressing Modern Slavery and Labour Exploitation in Solar PV Supply Chains Procurement Guidance’ explores the modern slavery and labour exploitation risks and impacts in the solar PV supply chain and the critical steps to take to address these issues.

Key features of the guide:

  • Outlines pragmatic steps to address these risks throughout the commercial lifecycle
  • Valuable insights into effective solar PV procurement due diligence
  • Practical tips and guidance for implementing best practices for solar PV procurement
  • Signposts to existing tools, resources and collaborative initiatives to help organisations improve their approaches

While the guidance focuses on solar PV, its content is transferable to responsible sourcing strategies for other renewable energy technologies, allowing organisations to reduce reputational risk, meet client requirements, gain competitive advantage, increase investor confidence, and develop more resilient supply chains.

Helen Carter, Lead Consultant at Action Sustainability and co-author of the report said: “Human rights abuses such as modern slavery, forced labour and labour exploitation are embedded in the history of our energy journey. We’re in the process of changing the energy mix and moving to a more sustainable model, yet the technologies we’re relying on are entrenched with human rights issues. We wanted to produce this guide to help organisations of all shapes and sizes take a responsible approach to this transition – we hope it goes some way to doing that.”

Mandy Messenger, Managing Director of Advanté and co-collaborator of the guide said: “Advanté purchases solar panels to power our Oasis EcoLogic Solar welfare fleet. When the risk of modern slavery attached to the solar industry started to emerge, we discovered that verifying the origin of solar panels and constituent components was a difficult task. We took the opportunity to join forces with Action Sustainability and other collaborators on this guide to address these issues and share our own experience and learnings to start making a difference.”

Jo Potts, Sustainability Director, Supply Chain & Materials at Balfour Beatty added: “At Balfour Beatty, we are committed to tackling modern slavery and labour exploitation across our supply chain. As we stand on the brink of a green energy revolution, the guidance issued today delivers detailed insight and practical guidance on how organisations can decarbonise and transition to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, whilst being aware of and taking appropriate steps to protect people – and the planet.”

To read the guidance and learn how to align with procurement best practices for solar PV, download it here.

Action Sustainability, the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s delivery partner, has today released its new report offering unprecedented insights into the current state of sustainable procurement adoption and maturity across various industries in the United Kingdom.

In recent years, substantial progress has been made in the field of supply chain sustainability, with sustainable procurement garnering global awareness. However, although numerous organisations are taking action to become more sustainable themselves, they often fall short in extending this to their supply chains.

In response to this, Action Sustainability has published a ‘Sustainable Procurement Progress Report 2023’, drawing from their evaluations of various organisations against the ISO 20400 Sustainable Procurement Standard.

Findings in this report indicate that, while organisations that invest in sustainable procurement have some level of sustainability embedded in their procurement activities, more progress needs to be made for this to be perceived as business-as-usual and to fully realise all benefits. The report provides valuable insights to organisations aiming to start embedding sustainability into procurement practices, as well as those seeking to further develop their existing approaches.

Key highlights from the report:

  • In-depth analysis of the current sustainable procurement landscape across industries, with a specific focus on construction, train operating companies and utilities.
  • Real-world case studies from various organisations sharing their sustainable procurement journeys, including the challenges they have faced and the opportunities they have seized.
  • Best practices and actionable recommendations to help organisations realistically achieve sustainable procurement goals.

Central to the report’s vision is the need to embed sustainable procurement across each spending area and continually seek improvement. It advocates for a collaborative approach, emphasising communication, knowledge-sharing and partnership throughout the value chain as key to shaping a more sustainable future.

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Director of Action Sustainability, said: “This report provides useful case studies and advice from some of the numerous people we have worked with over the years. We have not taken a scattergun approach to this work, reporting on sectors based on flimsy research, we have focused on those sectors where we have comprehensive, hands-on experience and insight. It is not a complete overview of sustainable procurement; it is our attempt to share what we really know.”

Dale Turner, Head of Procurement & Supply Chain at Skanska, added: “Over the last 10 years, there has been greater alignment between our customers and extended supply chain. The hierarchy of the relationships are aimed at encouraging collaboration and achieving more value together.  A sustainable procurement approach also drives a more diverse supply chain which helps to manage risk and understand where innovation can be applied down the tiers of the supply chain to make our projects more efficient and productive.”

To read the complete report and gain an in-depth understanding of the sustainable procurement landscape, download it here.

NatWest partners with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to provide a free retrofit learning platform for the construction industry. The aim is to build capability and capacity to accelerate retrofitting of UK buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Today marks a significant milestone as NatWest Group becomes the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s first Partner within the finance sector, with a shared objective of addressing climate change through building the skills of the construction industry, to retrofit the UK’s housing and non-residential buildings.

Retrofit plays a critical role in achieving Net Zero. Buildings contribute 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions and as 80% of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 already exist, the UK simply cannot deliver against its Net Zero ambitions without significant retrofitting of its buildings. As well as carbon reduction, retrofit offers the potential to elevate the quality of life for millions while generating employment opportunities.

With over 200 Partners within the built environment industry and their supply chains, we’re uniquely positioned to drive positive change. Our sustainability platform offers free training to 80,000 registered users, covering retrofit as well as 17 key sustainability topics including energy & carbon, waste & circular economy and more.

With NatWest Group’s strategic support, our retrofit initiatives will accelerate significantly, bringing Partners together to shape the programme, share knowledge and upskill the wider industry on retrofit.

Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, commented: “Our mission is to enable a sustainable built environment through knowledge and collaboration, however most of our work to date has focused on new builds. To truly fulfil our mission, we must pivot towards the existing building stock, crafting and delivering learning experiences that empower the UK to retrofit its structures with cutting-edge technologies and systems, positioning us to fulfil our Net Zero commitments. We look forward to tackling climate change through retrofit with NatWest Group.”

NatWest Group aims to support the decarbonisation of UK properties. By working closely with the built environment industry, NatWest aims to build a robust supply chain to develop efficiency upgrades at scale.

James Close, Head of Climate Change at NatWest Group commented: “As one of the largest lenders in the UK, we have a key role to play in supporting consumers and businesses in transitioning to more energy efficient homes and buildings that are warmer, cheaper to heat, and generate lower emissions. Decarbonising properties will require retrofitting existing buildings to increase their energy efficiency, constructing new energy efficient buildings and decarbonisation of electricity and heating supply. We want to work at scale to increase demand. But we need the skills and companies to carry out the work and we also want to make it as easy for our customers to retrofit as possible. Our collaboration with the Supply Chain Sustainability School will help cultivate a more mature retrofit supply chain, share knowledge and build the skills needed to retrofit homes and buildings across the UK.”

Our retrofit programme, sponsored by NatWest, will be unveiled through a virtual conference taking place on November 7th, 2023. This will introduce CPD-accredited virtual training encompassing e-learning modules, online assessments, conferences, workshops and webinars running until Autumn 2024. These valuable resources will be freely accessible to professionals in the built environment, including NatWest Group’s clients and School members.

Register for the launch event here by signing up to a free account on the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has partnered with UK Construction Week (UKCW) Birmingham to inspire sustainable change in the construction industry.

This partnership is a testament to the School and UKCW’s joint commitment to sharing knowledge, tackling issues and exploring new, sustainable ways of working in the construction sector.

UKCW is the UK’s largest event for the built environment. Following on from their successful London event earlier this year, registration is now live for UKCW Birmingham, which will run from October 3rd to 5th at the NEC Birmingham. The event will run alongside two co-located shows, Grand Designs Live and Timber Expo, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2023.

Expected to welcome over 25,000 visitors, the three-day show will hero culture change in construction and feature over 6,000 products and services. Attendees can expect a comprehensive seminar programme and CDP opportunities, covering the latest building regulations, the Building Safety Act and its implications, and advice on retrofit.

School Members are offered free VIP tickets to the events, whereby they can attend a busy programme of high-profile thought leadership panels and visit the School at stand Z1030. Through VIP registration, Members also receive access to the VIP lounge, hot beverages, and a VIP badge.

VIP registration for UKCW Birmingham is now live. Register your team for FREE VIP tickets at https://ukcw-birmingham-2023.reg.buzz/vip-supply-chain-sustainability-school or if you have any further questions, please get in touch with the organisers via [email protected]

200 companies leading the way for a sustainable future through the Supply Chain Sustainability School, plus ‘Future Workforce’ initiative launched to develop sustainability knowledge and green skills of the next generation. 

The built environment industry has today reached a major milestone with 200 companies leading the way for a sustainable future, including the launch of a ‘Future Workforce’ initiative aimed at developing the sustainability knowledge and green skills of the next generation of workers.

United by a shared mission to deliver more efficient and sustainable projects, 200 Partners are now collaborating through the Supply Chain Sustainability School to share best practice, knowledge and free resources with their supply chains and wider industry.

Launched in 2012, the School was funded by seven founding Partners and CITB, with training delivered by Action Sustainability consultancy. Since then, it has led pioneering work to set new standards in climate change, modern slavery, social value and much more.

Skanska UK was one of the School’s founding Partners. Dale Turner, Director of Procurement and Supply Chain for Skanska UK, commented: “Before the School was launched, the industry was really fragmented. What the School has done is create a great collaborative environment for companies and their supply chains to improve on sustainability going forward. As one of the founding Partners, to see it reach this 200 Partner milestone is incredible.”

The School has continued to grow and adapt in response to new challenges and opportunities, looking to impact the future of the built environment. In 2022, the School trained nearly 25,000 people from over 5,000 companies. It was also awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in recognition of the significant environmental, social and economic benefits it has delivered to its Members and Partners. 

Most recently, the School launched a ‘Future Workforce’ initiative. This welcomes education providers to join as Partners and engage in the sustainability agenda to prepare their staff and students in the same way as their peers in the industry. The initiative will also provide opportunities for the School’s existing Partners to collaborate to tackle the skills gap and workforce planning. Facilitating this collaboration is vital, as the School recognises the important part education providers play in the future of the industry and how, in turn, the industry has an impact on education. 

The first education provider to join as a Future Workforce Partner was Wigan & Leigh College, at the same time becoming the School’s 200th Partner. 

Anne-Marie Francis, Vice-Principal for Wigan & Leigh College, commented:It is a real honour to be not only the School’s 200th Partner but also the first Partner supporting the Future Workforce initiative. Moving forward, the School will be instrumental in providing the necessary training to help our staff and students develop the sustainability knowledge and green skills needed for future careers within the industry.” 

Having achieved its 200th Partner milestone, the School will continue to grow and work towards its vision of a built environment industry where everyone has the skills and knowledge to deliver a sustainable future. 

Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, commented: “When we first floated the idea of an online sustainability learning platform for the built environment industry, we were told it was unlikely that competing companies would collaborate, nor would people use an online training platform. But most of all, that supply chains were simply not interested in sustainability. 

I am delighted to see that our 200th Partner is Wigan & Leigh College. If we are to ensure that we attract the best talent into our industry, this collaboration with the further education sector is essential and true to our vision of a School that is for all those who work in or want to work in the industry.” 

Join us to ignite change and create solutions to address the sustainability challenges we are facing as an industry. Learn more about becoming a School Partner here.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has partnered with Offsite Expo 2023, presenting an exciting opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

With sets of common goals, the School and Offsite Expo will strive to drive change in the construction industry and provide innovative solutions for customers, both at Offsite Expo’s two-day event and via the School’s free online learning platform.

Offsite technology is now recognised as providing the most important solutions to many of the problems facing the industry today. Offsite Expo is the brainchild of leading industry experts who understand the urgent need for a dedicated event which showcases international offsite best practices and innovative technology.

As offsite is one of the core topics covered by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, the School is proud to be an industry Partner for Offsite Expo again this year.

Offsite Expo brings together the sector’s most influential organisations, individuals, commentators and business leaders who are driving change in the construction sector. 

This year’s event takes place at the Coventry Building Society Arena on the 19th and 20th of September. It will welcome 4,000+ visitors, host 100+ exhibition stands, hear from 100+ speakers and facilitate over 300+ meetings in the buyers and specifiers lounge.

Throughout the two days, you can come and chat with the School team at our exhibition stand Z14. Our director, Ian Heptonstall, will also be speaking on the ‘Training, Skills & Innovation‘ panel at 3pm on Wednesday 20th September at the Offsite Alliance Stage.

Register for your free ticket to Offsite Expo here: https://bit.ly/offsite-expo-scss

21st June marks the 11th anniversary of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, an industry-wide collaboration to enable a sustainable built environment.

To mark this occasion, we spoke with Hilary Hurrey, Head of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. We asked her to reflect on the history of the School, her experiences since joining, and what lies ahead for the School.

Tell us about yourself:

I’m Hilary, and I am an avid (slow) runner who loves being outside whenever I can. I have two children, a cat and a husband, who also works in sustainability. I like to think, as a family, we are making our mark on the world for the better by making as many small changes as we can!

How long have you worked at the Supply Chain Sustainability School?

I have worked for Action Sustainability (the School’s delivery partner) for over 8 years. I joined to help launch the offsite section of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Now I am Head of the School, leading the team forward to deliver high-quality training and content for our Partners’ internal teams and supply chains.

How has the School impacted the built environment industry during this time?

I have seen the School grow from just over 40 Partners and a membership of around 2,500 to a whopping 197 Partners and 5,500 member companies (representing just over 24,000 active individuals). 

There are now 20 different collaborative leadership groups. These are driven by our industry Partners, all of whom want to inspire change and support their supply chains to build more sustainably. They have helped establish the School’s solid reputation in the industry for enabling businesses (of all sizes) in the built environment to understand what changes they can make to have an impact; our annual Impact Report demonstrates this.

What has been your proudest moment? 

It’s hard to choose a specific moment, but I am continually proud of those who are part of the School – from the core delivery team who work hard every day to ensure that the School delivers excellent training to the Partners who work with us to make it all happen. Everybody involved is so passionate about making change for the better. It’s a great team to be part of! I was especially delighted to see the School being recognised for this collaborative effort in 2022 when we received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.

What’s next for the School?

The School will continue to build upon the impact it has made so far, inspiring the leaders in the built environment to want to make a change and helping to make that change happen. Our vision is an industry where everyone will have the skills and knowledge to deliver a sustainable future.


Connect with Hilary on LinkedIn.

Not yet a member of the School? Sign up for free here.


For International Women’s Day 2023, we’re supporting the UN Women’s theme of ‘DigitALL – Innovation and technology for gender equality‘, which addresses the impact of the digital gender gap as a major topic for organisations to understand and act on.

As part of this, we interviewed Dr Reyhaneh Shojaei, a research associate at the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research whose work addresses how social context impacts new technology and digital innovation in the housing and construction industries. Read on to learn about her background, projects, and the current challenges and opportunities provided by digital innovation and technology in overcoming gender inequality.

What drew you into digital innovation and, in particular, your focus on the built environment sector?

“My background is in city planning, and I hold a master’s degree and a PhD in urban studies and planning, where I focused on the challenges facing the housing market. I have always been concerned about the shortage of affordable housing and the broader challenges facing the construction industry. As digital innovation and new technologies have become more prevalent, I became interested in how these tools could help address these challenges. Governments around the world, including the UK, are pushing for transformation in the built environment sector, and I wanted to be a part of that change.

At the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Housing and Planning Research, digital innovation and modern methods of construction are one of the main streams of research. My previous research focused on understanding the socio-economic factors that inhibit the uptake of digital innovation in the construction industry. This research was part of a £72 million project funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Construction Innovation Hub and the Centre for Digital Built Britain, which aimed to transform how the built environment in the UK is designed, built, operated, and managed.

Through my work, I have become passionate about the potential of digital innovation to improve the affordability, sustainability, and inclusivity of the built environment. I believe that by harnessing the power of digital tools and data analytics, we can create more efficient, equitable, and sustainable cities and communities.”

What have been the most challenging aspects of working in this field?

“One of the biggest challenges we face is overcoming cultural and individual barriers. In this field, the industry is slow to embrace new technology, and there is a tendency to continue with the conventional method. There are also gender barriers that can make it difficult for women and other underrepresented groups to fully participate in the construction and housing industry. Historically, the construction industry has been a male-dominated field, and this has created a culture that can be unwelcoming to women and other minorities. However, I’m encouraged by recent efforts to address these issues and make the industry more inclusive.”

What are you currently working on?

“I am working on two exciting projects. The first is TAPPI2 (Technology for an Ageing Population Panel for Innovation). This project aims to improve how technology is used in housing and care for older people. The second project I am working on focuses on finding innovative ways for stakeholders in the construction industry to successfully adopt digital technologies. I was awarded the Social Science Impact Fund, which will allow me to expand the reach of my previous research findings to wider stakeholders, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). I am also working with David Emery on designing and developing leadership courses for Supply Chain Sustainability School.”

The UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’. How do you think digital and technological opportunities can be best utilised to understand the impact of social context on industry transformation and drive innovation whilst ensuring inclusion in the built environment?

“I believe there is plenty of opportunity for innovation in the built environment and for understanding the effects of social context on industry transformation to be made possible by digital and technical options. We can learn how various social groups are impacted by changes in the built environment using data and analytics, and also spot places where focused initiatives can encourage greater inclusion.

Making sure that digital platforms and technologies are created in a way that is inclusive and accessible to everyone is a crucial part of this endeavour. This entails taking into account the requirements and preferences of various user groups, including women and girls, who could have numerous technological experiences and expectations. Creating digital tools and platforms that are, for instance, user-friendly and simple-to-use digital tools and platforms can help to lower barriers to participation and make sure that all views are heard during the innovation process.

At the same time, it’s crucial that we also focus on protecting the rights and safety of women and girls in digital spaces. This includes addressing issues like cyberbullying, online harassment, and the spread of harmful content that can negatively impact women’s mental health and wellbeing. By implementing strong policies and regulations and promoting digital literacy and awareness, we can create a safer and more inclusive digital environment that empowers women and girls to participate fully in the innovation and transformation of the built environment.”

Where are you seeing the most, and the least, positive transformation in this regard?

“I believe there have been significant advancements in the use of data analytics and digital technology to encourage greater inclusivity and equity in the built environment. The use of digital tools and platforms to involve communities in the planning and design of public places, for instance, is undergoing positive change. This includes programmes like interactive online forums and virtual reality simulations, which enable community members to offer input and suggestions for how we can alter public areas to better suit their requirements.

There are some areas, though, where the changes are less noticeable. One example is the continued presence of gender-based abuse and harassment in online environments, which can deter women and girls from fully participating in the innovation and transformation of the built environment. While there is still much work to do to ensure that digital and technological opportunities are leveraged in ways that promote gender equality and inclusivity in the built environment, I believe that there is a lot of potential for positive transformation in this area. By focusing on issues like accessibility, safety, and community engagement, we can work towards a more equitable and inclusive future for all.”

What role can digital education and transformative technology play in overcoming existing patterns of gender inequality?

“Digital education can provide women and girls with access to education and training opportunities they may not have had before that can help close the gender gap in education and enable women to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the tech industry. Furthermore, transformative technology can help to break down cultural barriers that have traditionally prevented women from pursuing careers in technology. For example, remote work and flexible schedules made possible by technology can enable women to balance work and family responsibilities more effectively. In addition, transformative technology can help create more diverse and inclusive workplaces by removing bias from recruitment and hiring processes and enabling more flexible work arrangements.”

What would your advice be to organisations interested in adopting digital technology but not sure where to start?

“Begin by assessing your current operations and identifying areas where digital tools could provide you with the most value. It’s important to remember that digital transformation is a process that takes time, capital resources, and effort to implement successfully. However, it’s also important to recognise that digital transformation is necessary to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving business landscape. One key thing organisations can do to facilitate digital transformation is use the many available resources, such as online courses and webinars, to help employees learn new digital skills and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies.

It’s crucial for organisations to understand that digital transformation is not a choice but a necessity. It’s happening all around us, and those who fail to adapt risk being left behind. While the process may be challenging, the benefits of adopting digital technology are clear. It can help organisations streamline their operations, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and ultimately improve the customer experience.

My advice would be to embark on this journey sooner rather than later to stay ahead of the curve and position themselves for long-term success. Digital transformation is not a one-time event but an ongoing process, and organisations must commit to continuously evolving and improving their digital capabilities.”

Do you have any tips for women and girls interested in a career in digital technology?

“Be confident in your abilities and stand up for yourself. Women are still underrepresented in many fields of the technology sector, therefore it’s critical to stand up for yourself when pursuing possibilities such as promotions. As the tech sector is continuously evolving, be versatile and willing to try new things. Don’t be afraid to take risks and give new ideas a shot. Take chances and chase opportunities that may be outside of your comfort zone without fear. Because digital technology is always changing, it’s important to establish a solid technical foundation that can be used in a variety of contexts.

Women and girls have a unique perspective and skill set to offer to the industry, and I encourage them to pursue their passions and take advantage of the many opportunities available to them.”

Explore our library of digital technology learning resources.

Hear from Dr Reyhanah Shojaei at our Lunch ‘n’ Learn, ‘Are You Safeguarding your Digital Investments‘, on Thursday 16th March. She will be sharing insights on individual and cultural barriers to adopting digital technologies, and how to transform project delivery by utilising digital technologies. Register here.

Balfour Beatty’s Group Sustainability Director, Jo Gilroy, has been appointed to the Board of the industry-leading Supply Chain Sustainability School. 

The Supply Chain Sustainability School seeks to upskill those working within, or aspiring to work within, the built environment sector. Jo, who has worked at Balfour Beatty since April 2022, was recently elected to govern alongside eight other Partner representatives responsible for the fiscal governance and strategic direction of the School, including; Wilmott Dixon, EMCOR UK, Morgan Sindall Group, Speedy Services, VINCI Facilities, Skanska, Laing O’Rourke and National Highways.  

Jo commented: “With the climate change emergency becoming increasingly more urgent, it is integral that the construction and infrastructure industry pulls together in the same direction.  

“I am therefore delighted to have been appointed to the Board of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, as we continue our mission to upskill and educate our supply chain partners on what it means to be a truly sustainable business and ultimately, change our industry for the better and the future.”   

As Group Sustainability Director at Balfour Beatty, Jo provides focused leadership and advances the group’s achievements in this area, whilst bringing her breath of international experience from SAB Miller in India, IKEA in Sweden, and the mining sector in Australia and New Zealand. 

Prior to working at Balfour Beatty, Jo was responsible for Kier Group’s strategic direction on ESG and for leading Kier’s sustainability framework, ‘Building for a Sustainable World’. She has also worked closely with government and key customers in the hospitality and retail sectors to address ocean pollution from single use plastics. 

In recognition of her work within the corporate sector she was ‘Highly Commended’ at the 2021 Business Green Sustainability Leaders Awards, and previously won the Business Green Sustainability Executive award in 2017, and the Rising Star award 2016 at the Packaging Industry Awards.   

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of Supply Chain Sustainability School, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Jo to the Board. Along with her energy and passion, she will bring significant experience from both within and outside the construction sector and will no doubt provide valuable contributions to drive our vision forward.” 

The School’s vision is an industry where everyone will have the skills and knowledge to deliver a sustainable future. In April 2022, the School was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in recognition of the significant environmental, social, and economic benefits it has delivered to its Members and Partners.  

There are currently 155 Balfour Beatty employees who are active members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. 

Jo Gilroy, Group Sustainability Director for Balfour Beatty

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has partnered with UK Construction Week (UKCW) to support the industry in being more sustainable.

With sets of common goals, the School and UKCW will strive to work towards a more sustainable built environment and provide innovative solutions for customers, both at the events and via the School’s free online learning platform – enabling members access to over 3,000 learning resources, 400 virtual training sessions each year, and a range of diagnostic and benchmarking tools to support companies on focusing their sustainability strategies.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, commented: “UK Construction Week is delighted to be working with Supply Chain Sustainability School as an official show partner. This is a significant step up for their involvement in the show as we increase our focus on sustainability. We look forward to welcoming the School to UK Construction Week and hearing from their leadership team on best practices and how we can all work together towards a more sustainable future.”

UKCW is the UK’s largest event for the built environment, taking place at ExCeL London between 2-4 May 2023 with a second show at Birmingham’s NEC on 3-5 October 2023. This year’s theme is Celebrating Culture Change in Construction, whereby UKCW London will host three days of debate and discussion from top speakers on how the industry can move forward to tackle its biggest issues, including sustainability, offsite manufacturing, mental health, and improving diversity and inclusion.

Ian Heptonstall, Director of Supply Chain Sustainability School, commented: “We are thrilled to be working closely with UK Construction Week to drive real sustainable change within the industry and support their mission of improving inclusivity throughout the built environment.”

The School delivers the industry’s leading Fairness, Inclusion & Respect programme and will share free resources and training sessions with delegates.

School Members are offered free VIP tickets to the events, whereby they can attend a busy programme of high-profile thought leadership panels, hosting experts from Supply Chain Sustainability School: Shaun McCarthy OBE; Dr James Cadman, Helen Carter and more.

VIP registration for UKCW London is now live. Register your team for FREE VIP tickets at https://ukcw-london-2023.reg.buzz/vip-supply-chain-school or if you have any further questions, please get in touch with the organisers via [email protected]

Liban Ahmed is our Business Administration Apprentice, working across the Supply Chain Sustainability School and our Sustainability Tool since April 2022. For National Apprenticeship Week, we invited him to share his story and experience with apprenticeships.

Tell us your story – why did you decide to embark on a Business Administration Apprenticeship?

Before I dive into why I decided to embark on this journey, let me give you a little background about myself. Although I don’t mind traditional approaches to education, which involve learning a lot of theory about a subject, trying to remember it and taking examinations, I find apprenticeships a far more exciting way to learn. If you are a practical person like me, it is a great opportunity to test your knowledge in a real-world setting. That was what sold me on the apprenticeship model of education.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m constantly busy and never have a dull moment! My tasks include:

  • Ensuring the business runs smoothly by offering administration support to the three key areas of the business
  • Making sure to provide excellent customer service and experience to members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School and clients
  • Applying what I learn in my apprenticeship modules to tasks at Action Sustainability
  • Helping the marketing team with marketing operations by trying to push our reach and awareness of our organisation

What do you think is the advantage of doing an apprenticeship?

There are several advantages to doing an apprenticeship. One of the biggest advantages, in my opinion, is the opportunity to learn on the job and gain real-world experience. It’s such a valuable way to learn and grow, as you get to apply what you learn in class to practical situations and vice versa. Additionally, apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn and provide a great introduction to being a part of the workforce.

Another advantage is finding an organisation like Action Sustainability that is invested in your professional development and willing to help you improve your skillset. You always feel like you are an asset.

How has the apprenticeship helped develop your career?

Since embarking on my apprenticeship module focused on data, I have found that it serves as a great introduction to the roles of data analyst or data scientist, which I aspire to pursue as a career.

My Business Administration apprenticeship offers me the opportunity to build my skills from the ground up, working on exciting and meaningful projects that allow me to hone them.

Not only does my apprenticeship allow me to make a difference within my organisation by making sense of our data and delivering value in our offerings to clients, but it also provides me with the opportunity to build up a portfolio of projects that will be incredibly useful later in my career. This portfolio allows me to document all the amazing work that I am doing and showcase my abilities to potential employers.

What would your advice be to people applying?

If you’re considering applying for an apprenticeship, my advice to you is to do your research and find a program that aligns with your career goals. Don’t be afraid to reach out to current or former apprentices to get their perspective and ask any questions you may have.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider working with a reputable provider like Multiverse. They’ve been incredibly supportive of me, and they will ensure you succeed as long as you show up and do the work. Do not let a rejection set you back or, even worse, stop you from applying. Somebody will spot your value and give you an opportunity, so don’t give up.

What do you think is the best thing about working for Action Sustainability?

For me, the best thing about working for Action Sustainability is doing meaningful work. Imagine that your work is making a real-world impact and being able to be part of an organisation which is a thought leader in sustainability and the drive to net zero.

But that’s not all – the team culture here is so friendly and supportive, and I feel valued as an employee. I have the opportunity to communicate, collaborate, and work alongside everyone due to Action Sustainability’s organisation structure and size. I get to interact with senior leadership in a way that I wouldn’t at bigger companies. Plus, the fact that Action Sustainability pays the real living wage is a huge incentive to work hard and progress in my career with the company.


In conclusion, pursuing an apprenticeship has been a fantastic decision for me. It’s allowed me to gain real-world experience, earn while I learn, and be a part of an organisation that values my professional development and supports my growth.

If you’re considering an apprenticeship, don’t hesitate to take the plunge. Just make sure to do your research, reach out to current or former apprentices for advice, and consider working with a reputable provider like Multiverse. And if you’re lucky enough to land an apprenticeship with a company like Action Sustainability, you’ll get to do meaningful work and be a part of a supportive team culture.

I hope my story and insights on apprenticeships have been helpful. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me!

Explore careers with our delivery partner, Action Sustainability

The Sustainability Tool, in partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Programme, has carried out the largest-ever employee diversity survey in the UK, covering nearly 340,000 individuals.

Providing an in-depth record of diversity data, the survey tool has been tracking progress in the construction and utilities sector annually since 2016, with 2022 being the first-year companies reported pay gap data.

Employee data across 270 supply chains of eight major companies and two membership organisations was collected and analysed, including: HS2, National Highways, Network Rail, Transport for London, Environment Agency, Morgan Sindall, VolkerWessels, Cadent Gas, Infrastructure Client Group, and the Major Projects Association. This reflects a 206% increase in companies participating compared to 2021, in part due to a significant rise in contributions from SMEs (small and medium enterprises).

David O’Neil, Supply Chain Director at National Highways, said: “It’s positive to see the progress being made and the growth in engagement throughout the supply chain. The results are becoming even more significant and representative. This has provided us with many themes/trends which, as a sector, we can use to connect leading practices and focus activity in collaboration with Highways Suppliers.”


Despite increased engagement levels and sample size, diversity inequalities remain apparent (as notably highlighted by the attraction and recruitment statistics). Key takeaways from the 2022 survey include:

  • Gender: inequality persists, with women making up only 23% of employees
  • Ethnicity: representation of ethnic minority groups increased to 13.7% for 2022, but ethnic minorities representation was still 5% below the ONS UK population average
  • Attraction and Recruitment: the application to hiring ratio ranged between 21:1 to 78:1 for Ethnic minority groups, 16:1 for white applicants, 16:1 for women, 22:1 for men and 22:1 for disabled people.
  • Disability: the lack of data collection around disability persists, with 44.5% of employees not disclosing whether or not they have a disability
  • Sexual orientation: disclosure is progressively increasing across the sector, yet only 1.7% of employees identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community for the sector. While this is an increase over previous years, it is well below the ONS UK population average of 3.1%

The survey plays an integral role in supporting the transport and infrastructure sector on its mission to engage and raise awareness of diversity, equality, and inclusion, as well as to establish benchmarks and set targets for the industry to work toward.

Osita Madu, Senior Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Supply Chain at HS2, said: “The data shows the true picture of the built environment sectors and shines a light on those who offer symbolic gestures but, in fact, resist change. It showcases those who are having courageous conversations and evolving inclusive organisations. We can compare the data year on year to identify what progress has been made and which areas we should focus on.”

The FIR Programme

The survey continues to be complemented by FIR Programme activities. Funded by CITB and run by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, the FIR Programme is an industry-wide initiative that aims to make workplaces better for everyone. It provides free industry-endorsed training, workshops, resources and guidance materials along with a tailored Ambassador program and other initiatives to support businesses to be more innovative and profitable by addressing workplace culture challenges and helping to attract and retain people.

Paul Aldridge, Sustainability Director at WJ Group, said: “This annual exercise gives us an insight into our industry. It can shock and inspire and gives us an understanding of what we need to improve, helping build the FIR programme now and for the future. The constant improvement in participation is, in itself, a cause for great optimism that we can create an industry that is truly inclusive, where everyone is treated with fairness, inclusion and respect as a matter of course and can bring their whole selves to work.”

How to participate

The survey will re-open in Spring 2023, whereby all organisations working in the sector can participate.

Supply chain organisations are invited to anonymously report their employee data voluntarily within the Sustainability Tool, with categories including Gender, Age, Religion & Belief, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, Disability, Voluntary Leavers, Part-Time Status, Pay Gap, and Attraction & Recruitment.

Respondents have free access to in-depth and interactive dashboards that compare their employee base with the sector’s and the ONS UK population statistics.

The Diversity Survey is also available for usage across other industries, whilst the Sustainability Tool can help businesses report and manage sustainability performance across more than just diversity, whether within an organisation, its projects, contracts and supply chain. Organisations wishing to use the Diversity Survey or wider Sustainability Tool within their own supply chain should contact [email protected].

Access the full Diversity Survey 2022 results here.

National Highway’s Executive Director – Commercial, Supply Chain and Procurement, Malcolm Dare, has been appointed to the Board of the industry-leading Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Malcolm brings 30 years of industrial experience working across multiple sectors, of which 22 years have been spent working within supply chain, logistics, commercial and procurement roles. He also has a track record of successful change management at functional and business levels and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.

Malcolm has also championed the Carbon Net Zero and Social Value thinking and deployment within the supply base, ensuring clear direction and understanding of the National Highways approach and targets. Many are supported by or use the Supply Chain Sustainability School platform and tools so that they benefit all sectors.

Malcolm commented: “I am delighted to join the Board and to help support the development of the School and the broader industry. I hope that by bringing external industry experience and a client perspective we will be able to help further develop the supply base to support the sustainability agenda right across the infrastructure industry.”

The Supply Chain Sustainability School seeks to upskill those working within, or aspiring to work within, the built environment sector. The Board members provide governance through nine elected Partner representatives with Shaun McCarthy OBE as the independent chair. The Board is responsible for the fiscal governance and strategic direction of the School.

Shaun McCarthy OBE commented: “As well as being a leader representing one of our most influential Partners, Malcolm brings a wealth of experience from a wide range of sectors. I am convinced he will challenge and support us to take the School to the next level.”

There are currently 330 National Highways employees who are active members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Malcolm Dare
Malcolm Dare, Executive Director (Commercial & Procurement) for National Highways

Last week, at a special ceremony in London, the Supply Chain Sustainability School was presented with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.

The presentation took place at Saddlers’ Hall on Thursday 12 January 2023. The Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of London presented the award to Ian Heptonstall and Shaun McCarthy OBE for the significant environmental, social and economic benefits the School had delivered to its Members and Partners, plus the pioneering work it led to set new standards in climate change, modern slavery, social value, sustainable supply chain management and more.

Ian Heptonstall, Director of Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “When we first floated the idea of an online sustainability learning platform for the built environment industry, we were told it was unlikely that competing companies would collaborate, nor would people use an online training platform. But most of all, that the supply chain were simply not interested in sustainability.

“A decade on and 50,000 people have trained through the School – last year alone we had over 100,000 e-learning downloads. We’re thrilled to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. I see it as thank you to all those people who have joined us to collaborate and drive real sustainable change across our industry.”

Her Majesty The Queen personally approved the winners, who were publicly announced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on Thursday 21 April 2022. This was the last year a Queen’s Award was given by the late her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, only awarded for outstanding achievements, entitling winning businesses to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.

11 October, London, UK — A new report, published by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, Akerlof and the University of Salford, has launched to support clients and supply chain organisations on how to enhance the benefits of the social value created through the use of offsite manufacture.

In the face of urgent challenges (including the need to rapidly decarbonise, combat growing poverty and inequality, and address the cost-of-living crisis) what and how we build is crucial! Offsite construction and the social value agenda are two responses, driven by both government and industry. This report brings these agendas together, addressing a gap in guidance for clients and the supply chain.

Contributors to the report described how proposals which involve factory pre-fabrication are sometimes disadvantaged during bids, due to clients restricting social value measurement to the municipal area of the development site. Such assessments miss the significant benefits offsite manufacturing facilities can bring to other geographical areas, for example through provision of stable, long-term employment.

The report illustrates the potential benefits that can be felt at both development and manufacturing sites across five themes: employment, skills, economy, social and environmental. Across these, was unearthed promising stories of offsite organisations contributing positively, along with significant scope for improved data gathering and communication to support assumptions.

Examples of ‘good work’ include:

  • Opening opportunities for employment to members of local communities, students and under-represented groups.
  • Measuring reductions in embodied carbon.
  • Inclusion of local stakeholders in the design process using digital tools.
  • Creation of training opportunities and routes to progression through direct employment.

Ultimately, the findings indicate there is potential for offsite to deliver the same, if not more, value to society than traditional construction, providing early communication takes place among stakeholders to understand the possibilities and agree clear boundaries and methodologies.

Pressing forward in this space, there is a great deal of work needed to build up the robust evidence base required to set baselines for improvement and effectively communicate the benefits, which the School and collaborating organisations are keen to support.

Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “I’m delighted to share this guide providing practical recommendations with the offsite sector. I hope organisations will find it useful as a jumping off point to get to grips with their social value offering, measuring and communicating impact for the benefit of all in the sector.”

Ellie Jenkins, Partner at Akerlof and co-author of the report, said: “Offsite construction can create significant social value. We hope this guide will shape understanding and encourage the offsite sector to embed social value, growing a community of great practice.”

The report can be downloaded from the Supply Chain Sustainability School website here.




Gemma Laws

[email protected]

About Supply Chain Sustainability School:
The Supply Chain Sustainability School (the “School”) is a multi-award-winning initiative which represents a common approach to addressing sustainability within supply chains. Co-funded by over 180 collaborating companies (Partners), the School is delivered by an independent third-party consultancy, Action Sustainability. Leadership is provided by a School Board comprising elected representatives of Partners, responsible for fiscal governance and strategic direction. A Code of Ethics is signed by all Partners as part of the School Constitution and Partners lead the direction of the School content and activities through leadership groups. With more than 50,000 registered users, the School provides free practical learning and support in the form of sustainability training, events and networking, e-learning modules, tailored assessment and a library of over 3,000 online resources. https://www.supplychainschool.co.uk/

About Akerlof:
Akerlof is a specialist consultancy focussed upon delivering high value outcomes within the built environment through integration of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). Responding to contemporary challenges with creativity and clarity, Akerlof work with ambitious leaders in both public and private sectors to offer fresh and objective thinking on how to deliver economic, environmental and social value through Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). http://akerlof.co.uk

We had the pleasure of interviewing Luke Coggon, from Equans Fabricom, for National Inclusion Week 2022

Welcome, Luke! Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 32 years old, live in Doncaster, South Yorkshire and have a physical condition called Arthrogryposis, which I have had since birth and will have it for the rest of my life. It primarily affects the joints, muscles, and tendons in my arms, and I have a much smaller jaw than normal. Over the years, I have had seven surgical operations. I do not know if I will choose to undergo or require any further operations in the future, only time will tell. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, socialising and playing or refereeing football. I have recently become an FA qualified football referee this summer.

It is now 11 years since I began working in the Construction and Petrochemical Industry, the first 7 years of my career I was based full-time as a Contractor on P66 Humber Refinery in the Yorkshire and Humber Region. From 2019, I worked on the neighbouring Lindsey Oil Refinery and other sites in the UK for my previous employer including Bardon Hill Quarry, Tronox and CF Fertiliser sites at Billingham and Ince. I currently work as HSE Advisor/Lifting Appointed Person for Equans Fabricom and cover sites across the UK, predominantly in the Yorkshire and Humber and North East regions. I have been with Equans Fabricom since November 2020. At the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, I was unfortunately made redundant from my previous employer, for a few months from August to October 2020 I had a brief stint working at Amazon as Safety Coordinator, until an opportunity to get back into the industry presented itself.

Since 2019, I have done a significant amount of work around Mental Health Awareness in the Industry, developing my own ‘Thinking Differently Mental Health’ presentation, where I speak about my own personal experiences of mental health growing up with a physical disability and raising mental health awareness in the industry as a whole. I have delivered this across the UK at various sites, offices, and institutions. Just this month, I delivered it to the UAE Branch of the IIRSM (International Institute of Risk and Safety Management) to over 100 people globally online, which was really exciting! I am extremely passionate and driven to improve disability awareness across the whole industry and I am currently working on developing my own Disability Awareness, which I intend on rolling out internally and across the Industry in 2023.

We would love to understand your journey within the industry, as someone with a physical disability? 

When I first started in the Industry, I had very little knowledge of the industry, no industry specific qualifications, I remember my first morning arriving at the P66 Humber Refinery as if it were yesterday. I pulled into the Newton Building car park, in preparation for my induction and a multitude of thoughts and emotions were racing through my head, as I headed into the induction. After the induction, we headed to the gatehouse to collect our site passes and met our site representatives. It was here when the magnitude and size of the refinery hit me, I was awestruck!

During the very early days of my career, I kept second guessing and doubting myself, wondering how I was going to cope in the industry with a physical disability. At this point, my self-confidence was nowhere near the level it is at now. For the first couple of months of my career, I aided the local mechanical workshop management team, carrying out general admin duties and learning about the industry, whilst gaining invaluable knowledge and insights. I steadily built my self-confidence and belief in my abilities and after this period I moved back to Humber Refinery to become part of the site team for the next seven years.

Over the course of these 11 years, my self-confidence, self-esteem, drive, determination, and ambition increased exponentially. I have learnt a vast array of skills including Safety, QA, controlling lifting operations, behavioural safety, AutoCAD, SAP, and many others. I have also got to know a great amount of work colleagues, who I can say will be friends for life.

I have achieved a couple of professional achievements. In 2018, I was awarded a special Recognition Award for my outstanding commitment to safety by P66 during a major site project. I became the first Mental Health First Aider in the business for my previous employer, which led to me being invited to be a key part of a business wide steering group, developing, and delivering a Mental health Strategy across the business, in partnership with the mental health in construction charity ‘Mates in Mind’. At the end of 2019, I was given an amazing opportunity by P66 to put together a presentation about my own personal experiences with mental health and my knowledge about mental health in construction. I delivered this to over 300 people on the refinery during safety week. Following on from this, I delivered my presentation at various sites and offices around the country. The feedback and positive response I had, has been amazing. Most recently with Equans Fabricom, I am playing a leading role within the HSE team to develop and drive a behavioural based safety programme ‘Challenge the Norm’ and I am also playing a key role in helping to develop and drive their Mental Health Strategy, as well as covering safety across multiple sites in the UK.

In my current role as a safety professional, my physical condition doesn’t hold me back although there are certain things that I am unable to do, such as climbing ladders on sites etc. However, I ensured my employer was aware of that before I started and they were very accommodating, also all of our clients are aware and fully understand also. Due to my hands being how they are, I am unable to lace up boots, so one very simple yet extremely effective adjustment my employer made for me, was to purchase safety that are fully compliant and conform to the correct standards but have zips on the side, so I don’t have to worry about laces at all.

I know I still have a long way to go in my Journey and I will face various challenges as I progress, however I am really looking forward to it, I am pushing myself in a professional capacity as much as I can and who knows where it will take me!

From your experience, what final words of advice do you have for the industry?

As someone who has grown up with a physical disability from birth, I have had to adapt and overcome different situations all my life, this is a key learned attribute for a lot of people with any type of disability, whether they are born with it or acquire a disability through an event at a later age. This skill enables a lot of people with disabilities to be assets and crucial employees in any organisation, especially if there’s a business change or the need to adapt quickly.

I have also read and reviewed a recent report by the CITB, stating that from now until 2026, there is going to be a very significant growth period in the industry which will require organisations and federations across all spectrums of the industry to attract, retain and develop new talent to keep up with demand. From personal research I’ve done, there are very many people with disabilities that would be assets and potential industry leaders, but they don’t feel that there are opportunities out there for them. I would advise that employers and business leaders look at the ‘Disability Confident’ programme, which is a government run scheme which shows potential disabled candidates, that organisations are a disability proactive employer. There are also numerous resources and organisations including, ‘Business Disability Forum’ and ‘Scope’ to name a few.

I also fully intend on becoming a FIR Ambassador to help push and drive disability awareness across the whole industry. I highly encourage everyone to take a look at the FIR Toolkit, which offers free resources available to support the industry in becoming a better place for all.

Is Offsite a barrier or an opportunity for Offsite construction?

We’re looking for organisations with experience understanding and/or measuring Social Value outcomes for Offsite projects to help form a briefing paper on the this question. The project will be a main focus for FY22/23 and is being led by the School, Akerlof, the University of Salford and other partners.

We will be hosting a scoping workshop during the Offsite Leadership Group meeting, on 9th March, 10-12 to kick the project off. We’re opening this out to all Partners and interested organisations, so f you’re not a member of the Offsite Group but have experience to contribute, please get in touch and we will send you more info.

This project will produce a 10-page practical guide to…

  • Discuss challenges and opportunities for key Social Value (SV) themes that arise through Offsite construction
  • Help organisations understand the SV implications of their operations and supply chain
  • Provide case studies to illustrate how to integrate SV and overcome challenges
  • Introduce some of the measurement tools available
  • Include multiple sectors beyond housing and into infrastructure, hospitals and schools, and so on

We’ll be using the scoping workshop to cement the aims and key questions to answer in the report, as well as identify key projects in this space to follow up for case studies.

For some inspiration check out this article on a recent modular project in Wales providing energy efficient and affordable homes.

Upcoming training sessions

  • Offsite for Site Managers – Workshop, Wednesday, 16 March, 1 – 4PM. Register now
  • DfMA in Practice: Thinking Beyond Categories 1 & 2, Wednesday, 30th March, 1 – 2 PM. Register now
  • Offsite Fundamentals – Workshop, Tuesday, 5 April, 9-12 AM. Register now

New and recommended resources this month

If you don’t measure, you can’t manage

Complete our free self assessment to get your bespoke action plan today. The list of resources will advise you where you should focus your learning with direct links to top-quality materials.

You can also benchmark your company’s offsite maturity here.

This National Apprenticeship Week we’ve interviewed Aya – our Business Administration Apprentice – on why she decided to pursue an apprenticeship and how it’s helped develop her career so far!

Tell us your story – why did you decide to embark on a Business Administration apprenticeship?

I’ve previously worked in customer service, as well as in sales and I was looking for a career change, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do! I knew I wanted an office-based job, not entirely sure which role I should apply for and I wasn’t sure what I’d particularly be good at.

One challenging aspect of having a career change was needing experience, which most office-based jobs are looking for. I knew I wanted to work in sustainability and I managed to secure an apprenticeship with Action Sustainability, working across the Supply Chain Sustainability School and Sustainability Tool.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me is checking and responding to emails, answering client calls, and helping with admin tasks such as updating website information, booking train and/or hotel tickets, and many more. The collaborative nature of this role is something I really enjoy as I get to work on and support with multiple projects across the School and Tool and work with lots of different people.

What do you think is the advantage of doing an apprenticeship?

A big advantage is that I was able to get my foot in the door and start a career in an industry which I have no experience in but I was eager to work in and advance my career.

Another benefit is the great experience I get from working alongside talented people, soaking in the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in my role.

What would your advice be to people applying to do an apprenticeship?

I would say there are three main qualities which employers are looking for and are crucial to getting and succeeding in an apprenticeship:

Adaptability – The world is ever-changing, being able to adapt and adjust to different situations is a really important ingredient in excelling within any role.

Technical skills – As a lot of companies have moved online because of the pandemic, technical skills are becoming even more popular and necessary such as proficiency in Word, PowerPoint, Excel. It’s really useful to polish skills in analysing data as this can transform numbers into useful visuals and it’s a better way to present information.

Curiosity and willingness to learn – There are a million skills out there you can learn and it’s a matter of if you are willing to improve and explore. You never know if you’re going to be good at something unless you try!

Also, I started my apprenticeship during lockdown, which shifted a lot of businesses to online platforms and remote working. This enables people to work from home, which does come with perks, but there are also downsides. In terms of wellbeing, studies have shown that remote workers experience loneliness and mental health problems because the social aspect of work is cut out. It’s really important to build good relationships at work as this helps with motivation and creates a support network.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Especially if you don’t understand something, it is important to clarify and make sure you’re on the same page.

What do you think is the best thing about working for the Action Sustainability?

Action Sustainability was recently awarded with Best Companies’ “One to Watch Status”, which I strongly agree with! I’m really proud to be part of a company where they invest heavily in employee wellbeing.

Action Sustainability make sure that we experience a positive working environment, the team is very supportive, and people are always willing to lend a helping hand. It’s really motivating to know that I am part of a company that creates a significant impact on sustainability, especially in the construction industry which currently contributes around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

Aya Macahis is our Business Administration Apprentice, working across Action Sustainability, Sustainability Tool, and Supply Chain Sustainability School since April 2021.

Offsite and Net-Zero

This past month has seen progress in linking Offsite construction and decarbonisation, with new standards for social housing in Wales favouring MMC and use of local timber being announced, and a new net-zero housing development at Granton Waterfront in Edinburgh given the green light. Led by the City Council, the Edinburgh Home Demonstrator project will see the construction of 75 net zero homes and three retail units, constructed offsite using a fabric-first approach including CCG ‘s ‘iQ’ Timber System.

Carbon will be a key focus for the Offsite group this year along with Social Value. Earlier this week, we were joined by John Hanscombe for a webinar discussing Akerlof’s project investigating methods to reduce the carbon impact of precast concrete. He explained how carbon was mapped along the whole lifecycle, and how 40% carbon reduction gains were achieved using techniques that could be implemented immediately by manufacturers. If you missed it, you can rewatch at the link below.

The sustainability benefits of offsite vs traditional construction are often placed centrally in arguments for the approach, but there is currently a lack of solid, up-to-date information to back this up. We’ll be hosting more webinars on the subject and reaching out to key organisations this year in order to build an evidence base. If you would like to be part of these conversations, please get in touch to discuss joining the Offsite Leadership Group.

Upcoming training sessions

  • What does Offsite mean for Site Managers? – Lunch ‘n’ Learn, Tuesday, 15 February, 1:30-2:30 PM. Register now
  • Offsite for Site Managers – Workshop, Wednesday, 16 March, 1 – 4PM. Register now
  • Exploiting Digital in Sustainable FM – Business Byte, see below

Resources recommended for you this month

If you don’t measure, you can’t manage

Complete our free self assessment to get your bespoke action plan today. The list of resources will advise you where you should focus your learning with direct links to top-quality materials.

You can also benchmark your company’s offsite maturity here.

Exploiting Digital for sustainable FM

Active Plan, Hexagon, Sunbelt Rentals, UWS

Join us on the 22nd February from 10:00am -12:00pm on Zoom Webinars at our Exploiting Digital in FM Conference. This session will examine how digital data and technologies are helping Real Estate to become more safe, productive and sustainable.

Speakers Include: Active PlanHexagonSunbelt Rentals and University of West Scotland & Conexa

By attending this session you will:

  • Hear from experts about the importance of good quality data in the aftermath of Grenfell
  • Understand how to simulate maintenance and safety procedures in the buildings you manage or supply to
  • Recognise what tools and innovations are ‘just around the corner’
  • Learn how to quantify the benefits and risks of digital innovations


Happy new year! Read on for a quick breakdown of our recent work in the world of Offsite.

Offsite Leadership Group

The Offsite Leadership group convened last month to discuss plans for the year ahead as well as the social value implications of offsite construction, a topic we will be looking into more over the coming months. To find out more, please view the minutes here. We also welcome new partner organisations to the leadership group – so if you think it’s for you, please get in touch.

DfMA Overlay Shorts

All of the DfMA Overlay short videos we produced in association with RIBA have now been released! These provide short introductions to key themes and case studies in the Overlay including procurement, digital, and the implications for architectural practices, and can be viewed on our DfMA webpage. We hope you find them useful and share widely with colleagues.

UKGBC Circular Economy Surveys

As part of UKGBC’s Circular Economy programme, two surveys have been launched: an industry survey gathering data on the carbon impact of circular economy principles, and another targeted at product manufacturers assessing the status quo of circularity and to identify the barriers to circularity they are facing. We encourage any members to complete these, especially those who have implemented circular economy principles and measured/estimated whole life carbon impacts in recent projects. Both surveys close on the 17th January.

Circular Economy Survey

Manufacturer Survey

Upcoming training sessions

  • DfMA for Architects Workshop, Wednesday, 12 January, 1 – 4PM. Register now
  • Decarbonising Precast Concrete – Lunch ‘n’ Learn, Monday, 24 January, 12 – 1PM. Register now

Resources recommended for you this month

If you don’t measure, you can’t manage

Complete our free self assessment to get your bespoke action plan today. The list of resources will advise you where you should focus your learning with direct links to top-quality materials.

You can also benchmark your company’s offsite maturity here.

Competition Rules

With the festive season swiftly following last month’s COP26 summit, we thought to test your knowledge on the outcomes from this all important climate conference, via our COP26 Christmas quiz.

In-line with our company values, we’ll be giving away a sustainable hamper. T&Cs apply – see below.

What could you win?

The Norway Spruce Christmas Hamper from Social Supermarket, worth £119.99. The hamper is compromised of 13 items containing gin, coffee, chocolate, wine and more, all sourced from brands which are eco-conscious, offer economic empowerment, or make charitable contributions.

How can I enter? 

The competition is free to enter – all you need to do is:

  • Complete our COP26 Quiz. There are 10 questions to answer, all dedicated to the outcomes from last month’s Glasgow summit.
  • Ensure you’re following the Supply Chain Sustainability School social media accounts:

LinkedIn | Twitter

The competition closes at 23:59 on 12 December and the winner will be announced on our social channels at midday on the 15 December 2021, so make sure you follow our channels to hear if you’ve won.

To read the full terms and conditions, just click here.

Where can I read more about the outcomes of COP26?

Luckily for you, Action Sustainability consultant Imogen Player has written an excellent overview of COP26 which you can read here.

Tip: Make sure you read this before taking the quiz!

Where can I find FREE carbon and climate change training?

The Supply Chain Sustainability School offers FREE resources and training sessions, designed to help your organisation and supply chain gain a better understanding of climate change and carbon.

Download this COP26 training pack, which will guide you through relevant videos, e-learning modules, virtual training and information on the new carbon calculator. Download below or share with your colleagues and supply chain.

What is the carbon calculator and how can it help my organisation report on our carbon impact?

Did you know we have launched a FREE carbon calculator, in partnership with the Sustainability Tool? The tool is designed to support supply chain organisations with calculating their annual, organisational greenhouse gas emissions, and to provide clients with a view of emissions embedded in their supply chains.

If you’re a member of the School, you can register for a FREE carbon calculator account here.

Where can I get support with my company’s carbon strategy?  

Action Sustainability, the delivery team behind the Supply Chain Sustainability School, has in-depth experience of supporting clients in developing their approach to mitigating their impact on climate change.

They work with clients to develop sustainability strategies that incorporate climate change, provide an outsourced service for the calculation of carbon footprints, recommend options for reducing carbon impacts and also develop learning content on carbon measurement and reporting to help them embed best practice across their teams.

Contact the team today!

Shaun McCarthy, Chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, joined Speedy CEO Russell Down, to cut the ribbon and officially open Speedy’s new low carbon innovation and hire centre.

More than 120 construction industry representatives joined equipment and services provider Speedy for the opening of its new Innovation Centre in Milton Keynes; an industry-first low carbon facility that will showcase net-zero equipment and provide an extensive hire range for contractors.

Contractors were able to view the latest sustainable construction equipment demonstrated by Speedy’s suppliers including HiltiMilwaukee and Generac at the new 100,000 sq ft site.

The centre will showcase the latest electric, solar and hydrogen powered technologies that will help to lower contractors’ environmental impact. The site adds to the list of larger new Regional Service Centre’s launched in the past 12 months including sites at Reading, Swindon, Doncaster, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, providing a comprehensive range of hire tools, equipment, plant and powered access under one roof.

All commercial vehicles operating out of the site will be electric or fuelled by hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which emits up to 90% less CO2e when compared to red diesel, minimising the environmental impact of deliveries.

The centre is powered by 670 solar panels and utilises pioneering bespoke energy efficient lighting and climate control technology. It’s also home to a wellbeing and wildflower garden, an 18-metre living wall and beehives made from repurposed hard hats. The site uses furniture, from desks to garden benches, made from recycled materials to help further lower its environmental impact.

Employing more than 50 staff, the site is strategically located in Milton Keynes to support contractors building the first phase of HS2 from London to Birmingham, and provides low-emission equipment to help meet the project’s sustainability goals, including electric lighting towers and track laying machinery.

Russell Down, Chief Executive at Speedy, said: “Our new Milton Keynes facility represents the gold standard in decarbonised construction hire. This first-of-its-kind facility showcases to industry the innovation that’s driving forward the development of new sustainable technologies, while acting as a blueprint for how we’ll minimise the environmental impact of our hire centres.

“Customers are increasingly scrutinising the sustainability of their supply chains to meet growing demand for low-carbon construction projects. We recognise as a key intermediary our responsibility to enable this transformation, which is why we’re investing millions of pounds across the business to expand our range of eco products, to decarbonise our delivery fleet, and to lower the environmental impact of our facilities.”

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, who officially opened the site alongside Russell Down said: “Speedy’s new centre is an impressive vision for the future of construction – hiring zero-emission equipment from a carbon neutral centre, delivered to site by an electric truck. Seeing a site like this, and the progress being made by manufacturers and intermediaries, proves how decarbonisation can soon be within the industry’s reach.”

Maria Willings, Regional Director for Midlands and Anglia at Speedy said: “I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication of the Speedy team in designing our new flagship Regional Service Centre. As well as its low carbon credentials and the ability to showcase the latest in product innovation, it will enhance the customer experience as well as make Speedy a great place to work for our people.” 

Specialist services for lifting equipment, survey requirements, and powered access will also be available from the centre, with a dedicated training suite providing courses including safe working at height, through real-world and virtual technology.

Speedy is the UK’s leading provider of tools, equipment and plant hire services to a wide range of customers in the construction, infrastructure and industrial markets, as well as to local trade and consumers. It operates from 200 sites across the UK and Ireland [including a number within B&Q stores].

For more information visit: https://www.speedyservices.com/ 

As the World’s leaders gather to address the climate emergency one Wales based steel manufacturer has taken further steps towards helping the construction industry become more sustainable.

Celsa Steel UK, based in Cardiff, has signed up to become a Partner of the award-winning Supply Chain Sustainability School to work in collaboration with the industry towards twin goals – a more sustainable and decarbonised construction sector.

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School said: Celsa Steel UK is the latest large-scale manufacturer to join the School and commit to working with the construction industry to drive forward our goal of creating a more sustainable sector. Celsa’s commitment to creating a circular economy is admirable and we look forward to working in partnership with them both in Wales and across the UK.”

Already focused on creating a truly circular economy through the recycling of scrap metal to create their steel products, Celsa Steel UK is set to push forward ambitious new sustainability plans and targets.

Eoin Bailey, UK Innovation Manager for Celsa Steel said: “At a COP26 event last week the new Chief Sustainability Officer, Juan Carlos Orozco announced the vision for CELSA Group is ‘to be leaders of the CIRCULAR SUPPLY CHAIN to build a NET POSITIVE future’. For CELSA the pathway towards Net Zero and true Circularity are one in the same. In the UK we are certainly making strides from linear to circular. However, we know that true circularity and sustainable prosperity cannot be achieved in isolation, collaboration is the key. Therefore, we are delighted to join the school with hope to developing the collaborative approach that will help us all to build a positive future.”

With more than 50,000 registered learners, the School provides free practical learning and support in the form of sustainability training, events and networking, e-learning modules, tailored assessment, and a library of over 2,900 online resources.

The School’s Partner organisations are committed to building sustainability skills and knowledge across the industry. This will help safeguard the future of the UK’s built environment and ensure that it is fairer, greener, and more robust.

To become a Partner of the School visit or to register as a FREE School member, visit.

The UK’s largest distributor of fuel and lubricants has shown its commitment to helping the construction industry become more sustainable by becoming a Partner to the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Certas Energy, based in Warrington, joins 142 other companies from across the built environment supply chain who are working together through the School to create a more sustainable industry.

“COP 26 has shown, if we didn’t already know, just how vital it is that we address the sustainability challenge in the construction industry”, said Shaun McCarthy OBE, Director and Chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. “The industry has done brilliant work to deliver more sustainable projects but there’s still lots to do. We are delighted to welcome Certas Energy to the School, and we look forward to working with them to help decarbonise the industry and push sustainability to the forefront of delivery.”

Angus Blundell, Director of Corporate Affairs at Certas Energy adds: “We are proud to fuel the future success of our customers by helping them to meet their environmental goals during this important energy transition. We achieve this in diverse ways, from exploring cleaner alternative fuels to providing expert advice on improving fuel efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and navigating legislative changes.”

Angus continues: “We are right there on the journey with our customers, with our own targets of net zero emissions by 2050 and a 20% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. Joining the School expands on and confirms our commitment to these goals, and we look forward to collaborating with other like-minded partners in this next step on our journey. We can’t wait to get started.”

With more than 50,000 registered users, the School provides free practical learning and support in the form of sustainability training, events and networking, e-learning modules, tailored assessment, and a library of over 2,900 online resources.

The School’s Partner organisations are committed to building sustainability skills and knowledge across the industry. This will help safeguard the future of the UK’s built environment and ensure that it is fairer, greener, and more robust.

To become a Partner of the School visit or to register as a FREE School member, visit.

Action Sustainability, the delivery partner behind the Supply Chain Sustainability School, has been recognised for its approach to workplace engagement with a sought-after industry standard.

We have been certified by Best Companies and recognised for our commitment to employees, with a ‘One to Watch’ status, which represents ‘good’ levels of engagement. Achieving a Ones to Watch status takes a BCI score of at least 600 – we are happy to have achieved well above this score, with a 96% employee completion rate.

Ian Heptonstall, Director and Co-Owner of Action Sustainability, said: “I am extremely proud that our employee engagement strategy has been recognised with a One to Watch Best Companies accreditation. I hope our recognition speaks volumes not just for what a great place to work Action Sustainability is, but also for what an inspiring sector Sustainability is. But we recognise that this is a work in progress, and we will continue our efforts to be an even better employer.”

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Director and Co-Owner of Action Sustainability, said: “Ian and I are committed to ensuring our company is the best it can be, including empowering our team to share their ideas and feedback, so that meaningful change is made.”

Jonathan Austin, Founder and CEO of Best Companies, said: “Congratulations to Action Sustainability on this significant achievement of a ‘One to Watch’ status. This award recognises that they understand the importance of workplace engagement and genuinely value their people.”

Best Companies has over 20 years’ experience in helping organisations measure and improve employee engagement using a robust methodology, with their accreditation standard certifying excellence in the workplace since 2006.

New DfMA Overlay video content released 

To bring the concepts and case studies in the new DfMA Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work to life, we brought together leading minds from the world of DfMA in a series of 10 short films. These accessible, easily digestible videos will be published weekly on our social media and YouTube channels, and cover topics from Procurement to Digital. The first two shorts are now available online – see resource links below – so check them out and spread the word!

Upcoming training sessions…

  • The New RIBA Plan of Work DfMA Overlay – Lunch ‘n’ Learn, Thursday, 11 November, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Register now
  • Offsite for Quantity Surveyors and Cost Consultants Workshop, Thurs 25 November, 9:00 – 12:00. Register now
  • Offsite and MMC Procurement – Lunch ‘n’ Learn, Tuesday, 30 November, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Register now

Digitisation is crucial to the success of Offsite construction and MMC. Check out these sessions to skill up, and make sure you check ‘Digital’ as an interest topic in your personal dashboard settings if you’d like to learn more.

  • How to be a Digital Leader, Friday, 12 November, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. Register now
  • Demystifying BIM – Lunch ‘n’ Learn, Wednesday, 24 November, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Register now

Resources recommended for you this month…

NEW: DfMA – Why now? Find out more

NEW: The MMC Categories. Find out more

If you don’t measure, you can’t manage

Complete our free self assessment to get your bespoke action plan today. The list of resources will advise you where you should focus your learning with direct links to top-quality materials.

You can also benchmark your company’s offsite maturity here.