× Search

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched a consultation to canvas views of property and construction professionals on a definition of social value for the built environment sector.
The definition will help to set a standard of ambition for projects and provide a common language around social value for built environment practitioners
The consultation looks at what elements should be included within the definition, with questions designed to elicit feedback on each element’s usefulness, as well as on the content itself.

The deadline for the consultation is 21 August 2020.

Last month, UKGBC announced participants in the industry task group for this project, with experts from organisations including the Supply Chain Sustainability School, been involved in the design of this consultation.

The task group will play a key role in reviewing the responses and making recommendations. Feedback will be used to develop the first draft of the definition and ascertain which elements require further exploration through roundtable discussions this autumn.

This work forms part of UKGBC’s Social Value programme which has been made possible this year thanks to the generous support of Programme Partners: Argent, Avison Young, Buro Happold and Federated Hermes.

Respond to the consultation >

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has announced a new task group which will develop a definition of social value for the built environment sector.

Despite growing interest, there is still significant confusion around social value in the context of the built environment. Planners, procurement teams and investors often don’t know what to require from delivery partners and sometimes set requirements in an inconsistent way. There are often calls for standardisation, particularly around the measurement of social value, but also for flexibility, with practitioners recognising that social value must be considered in local contexts.

The task group aims to develop a definition of social value that is relevant to a broad variety of development types, geographies and communities, providing the industry with a common language, consistent principles and an agreed hierarchy of delivery.

UKGBC will undertake a consultation later this summer to canvas views across the industry to inform the definition.

The task group is being supported by, and includes representation from, the following trade associations, professional institutions and non-profit organisations:

  • Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) British Property Federation (BPF)
  • Buildings Research Establishment (BRE)
  • HACT
  • Local Trust
  • Quality of Life Foundation
  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Supply Chain Sustainability School
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI)

Read more detail in the UKGBC press release here >

The Supply Chain Sustainability School launches its industry Plant Charter, committing to emissions reductions.

The School has launched its Plant Charter, a commitment by organisations designed to reduce their air quality emissions, and School Partner Flannery Plant Hire, has committed to be its first signatory.

The Plant Group has been working on how the sector can collaborate to reduce both air quality emissions that lead to local health impacts and the global effects of carbon emissions from the plant and equipment we all use.  As a result, the group developed the Charter to encapsulate and communicate their approach to this.

James Cadman, School Plant Group lead & Lead Consultant at Action Sustainability explains:

“Our aim is that the Supply Chain Sustainability School will lead the way for the UK’s built environment to drastically reduce onsite emissions to air that are harmful to human health and the planet, such that they will reach net zero by 2040 and contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 11 and 13. We would like organisations up and down the value chain to collaborate with us in coordinating our efforts to reduce these emissions for everyone’s benefit.”

Flannery have been a proactive member of the School’s Plant Category Group and support the collaborative approach across the industry to achieve these goals.

Managing Director Patrick Flannery commented:

“As a business, understanding our environmental impacts and managing these is really important. Sustainability and innovation are two of our key value drivers and underpin the decisions we make and ensure we can support clients in the delivery of the cleanest, and most efficient hire solutions for their construction projects.

It is, however, really important that there is a consistent approach throughout the supply chain and the Supply Chain Sustainability School are best placed to facilitate this. I am sure that this Charter will have a great impact and as a business, we wanted to confirm our commitment and support by being the first signatory.”

The industry has been under increased scrutiny from clients and the government on the negative effect engines have on the air quality of our towns and cities. Coupled with policy and penalties pushing organisations to address these issues via a fleet and plant strategy, the construction industry has been looking closely at how it operates plant, what it invests in, and how plant is disposed.

The Plant Group was established by School Partners and other key industry stakeholders to develop and facilitate the implementation of the School’s position on best practice sustainable procurement within the category. This Partner collaboration, including Flannery (Partners since 2012), is helping to identify and provide the supply chain with information and guidance on plant standards and management.

Flannery’s Strategic Manager Chris Matthew, who sits on the Group’s team, said:

“Being part of the working group that has developed this Charter has proved hugely beneficial for our business. Sharing best practice and ideas can only help to drive the behavioural change our industry needs to meet commitments to papers like this, but also broader papers like Construction 2025.

It has identified, for us, key areas that we know we understand and can now help our supply chain partners develop and adopt, through examples like our ECO-Operator program and our developing data offering for clients (the effective use of telematics to optimise hire fleet).

It has also supported the business as we forward plan, talking to manufacturers about investment and renewal of our fleet and the types of innovation we would like to continue seek out and bring to market.”

More information:

Visit our dedicated page on the Charter and see all the latest signatories here.

To read the Charter, please click here.

If you are interested in becoming a signatory to the Plant Charter, please get in touch with [email protected].

You can also have a look at the Plant Group’s Minimum Standards Guide.

An update from the School in regards to CITB Funding


The Covid 19 crisis is having a profound impact on economies around the world and the School is not immune from this. Some of our partners are facing hard times and on 13th May 2020 we were advised that all our CITB funded projects are to be suspended for an indefinite period. This combination of events has resulted in a 37% reduction in our revenue for 2020/21.

On 14th May 2020 the School Board has approved a plan to deal with this in a way that delivers all the School’s core services virtually and puts a hold on some of our projects until we can find alternative sources of funding or until the CITB funding returns.

We remain 100% committed to delivering our vision to be “the world class collaboration to enable a sustainable built environment”.

Please click here to see our formal update for our members.

London Build 2019

Hear us speak & see us at stand L22

27th-28th Nov | London Olympia

**Use our unique link to get your free ticket now.**


Action Sustainability and the Supply Chain Sustainability School will once again be supporting and sponsoring the Sustainability Summit at London Build 2019 next week (27-28 November, London Olympia). Come visit us at stand L22.

London Build is the leading construction and design show for London. Learn from London’s leading architects, developers, contractors, engineers, suppliers and industry bodies, who are leading the way to a sustainable future for London’s construction industry.

Please come and hear our speakers:

Wednesday 27th November 2019

Graham Edgell, Director of Sustainability and Procurement, Morgan Sindall Group and School Board member will be chairing day 1 of the Sustainability Summit.

Thursday 28th November 2019

Martin Gettings, Head of Sustainability, Canary Wharf Group and School Board member will be chairing day 2 of the Sustainability Summit.

2:40pm: Helen Carter, Lead Consultant, Action Sustainability will be speaking on a panel about modern slavery.

3.10pm: Liz Holford, Lead Consultant, Action Sustainability will be presenting on Fairness, Inclusion and Respect and how it works across the construction industry, how any company can meet its duties under the Equality Act 2010, then go beyond legal compliance to create an inclusive workplace culture, and capture the business benefits that brings.

3.30pm: Martin Gettings will also be doing a double act presentation with James Cadman, Head Consultant at Action Sustainability on climate change, and sharing examples from the industry.

**Use our unique link to get your free ticket now.**

London Build 2019 Stand L22

Download the show preview guide.


If you have any further questions or need any more info, get in touch with the organisers at [email protected].

Sourced from Just-Drinks

Anybody with half an eye on the UK’s tortuous progress – I use the word in the loosest possible sense – towards departing the European Union would be surprised, if not amazed, to find a civil servant or minister engaged in anything beyond the Government’s hapless navigation through the Brexit process. It is, therefore, testament to the gravity and urgency of the issue of plastic waste, and the degree of public concern the issue provokes, that amid the unprecedented political turmoil and mountainous legislative backlog created by Brexit, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) this week launched three consultations, representing the initial phase of its ‘Resources & Waste’ strategy.

The three consultations relate, respectively, to the reform and expansion of extended producer responsibility regulations; measures to increase consistency in the materials collected for recycling by local authorities and the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks cans and plastic and glass bottles, covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Also this week, the UK Government’s Treasury department has launched a consultation on its proposed tax on packaging that does not meet a set minimum threshold of recycled content, scheduled to take effect from April 2022. The consultation will seek feedback on the Government’s initial proposal of a threshold of 30% recycled content.

The Government has an unusually large number of consultations pending, which prompted a group of 32 trade associations to write to Environment Secretary Michael Gove earlier this month, urging planned consultations be placed “on pause” until current uncertainties over Brexit are settled. Food and drinks businesses are, the letter stated, “totally focused” on mitigating the “catastrophic impact” of a no-deal Brexit.

Having launched his Resources & Waste strategy with considerable fanfare in December, Gove was clearly reluctant to see its initial phase delayed unduly, even though government resources are every bit as stretched at the moment. While a number of other Defra consultations have been put on hold, the three relating to waste and recycling have only been extended so they now close on 13 May rather than in April. Gove has also intimated officials will look into whether the Department of Health’s consultation on the promotion of HFSS (high in fat, salt or sugar) might also be extended.

Among the bones of contention likely to be aired during the consultations is the scope of the DRS. A choice has clearly been set out between an ‘all-in’ scheme which would cover all containers, or one that focuses on the smaller containers used in the ‘on-the-go’ sector.

In their immediate responses to the launch of the consultations this week, the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents UK supermarkets, have backed different approaches. While applying a returnable deposit to the largest number of containers possible appears compelling in terms of maximising the proportion of packaging being recovered for recycling, if a comprehensive DRS model were adopted, there would be an impact on the economies of kerbside collection for local authorities.

“We need a targeted Deposit Return Scheme, working across the UK, that complements kerbside recovery,” the BRC stated. “The best way is by focusing on cans and plastic bottles consumed outside the home, to decrease the chances of them littering our streets or ending up in the ocean. Targeting on-the-go consumption avoids undermining existing household collection schemes, taking away a key source of revenues for local councils, as well as making life more difficult for households who can currently recycle these items from the comfort of their home.”

However, the BSDA said it supports the introduction of a nationwide DRS for all beverage containers, as its assessment “suggests this is the best way to increase recycling levels and tackle litter”.

The UK Government’s strategy also reflects a determination to optimise the UK’s extended producer responsibility ?(EPR) legislation, whereby the costs of managing packaging waste are met by the businesses initially creating the packaging. While EPR measures have been in place since 1997, they currently meet only 10% of the net costs. The plan is to reform and expand EPR so it meets the full net costs of managing packaging waste.

In a period of such bitter political division, there appears to be relatively broad support for the new measures to tackle packaging waste and boost recycling, underlined by an endorsement of the Resources & Waste strategy in a recent report from cross-party think tank Policy Connect.

Policy Connect engages in key public policy debates through the work of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, forums and commissions, which are informal groups of Members of both Houses of Parliament with a common interest in particular issues, and through collaboration with the public, private and third sectors.

The Achieving Zero Waste Exports report welcomes the recognition by Michael Gove that the UK can no longer rely on shipping plastic waste abroad. It describes the RWS as “an ambitious blueprint”, and sets out 18 recommendations to “build on the direction of travel set by the strategy, seeking to stretch its ambition for plastic waste”.

Of concern to drinks companies in the UK and elsewhere is that the supply of recycled plastic (rPET) is sufficient to meet targets companies are now setting themselves for the use of recycled content in packaging. The prospect of a tax from 2022 on packaging containing less than 30% recycled content makes the supply issue even more crucial. With this in mind, the Policy Connect report recommends a variable threshold.

“The Treasury should set the percentage of recycled content target for their proposed tax at different levels for different packaging formats, depending on the availability of recycled material,” the report states. “The Treasury should devise a protocol for periodically revising these target percentages upwards as recycling improves.”

While the UK ponders new waste and recycling legislation, it was reported last month that the Indonesian island of Bali is planning to introduce a US$10 tourist tax levied on each of the island’s 5.7m visitors annually, to raise funds to address plastic waste pollution on its beaches and in its waters. Last month also saw the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), an industry coalition that aims to bring together companies from along the plastics value chain, including oil and chemical producers and consumer goods firms. Backed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the AEPW plans to invest US$1.5 bn over the next five years to “help end plastic waste in the environment”, developing and bringing to scale “solutions that will minimise and manage plastic waste” and “helping to enable a circular economy”.

However, the initiative drew immediate and harsh criticism from environmental pressure group Greenpeace, which described the coalition as “a desperate attempt from corporate polluters to maintain the status quo on plastics”.

While FMCG giant Procter & Gamble is a founding member, as yet no drinks firms or food producers have joined, though an AEPW spokesperson told just-drinks: “There are discussions with several companies in the food and beverage sectors about joining the Alliance.” By contrast, a number of major drinks producers, including NestleDanone, the Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo, were prominent founding signatories last October to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, a multi-stakeholder initiative led by environmental campaign group the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to eliminate plastic pollution at its source.

Although the AEPW’s membership so far only includes companies, the Alliance spokesperson stressed that taking a “multi-stakeholder approach” would be “essential” to its work. “We continue to talk with not only companies from throughout our value chain, but with NGOs, governments, multilateral institutions and others about ways to combine our efforts for greater impact.”

The Alliance spokesperson also appeared to suggest a global NGO could become a strategic partner, stating: “The World Business Council on Sustainable Development is a strategic partner. Circulate Capital is also a strategic partner. There are ongoing discussions with global NGOs and we hope to be able to share more in the near future.”

Sourced from Ecotextile News

MAIDSTONE – Following today’s publication of the Environmental Audit Committee’s ‘Fixing Fashion’ report, the Textile Recycling Association has called for the UK government to accept and act on the recommendations made.

It has also called on stakeholders from across the clothing supply chain to accept responsibility and do what it takes to deliver a ‘circular economy’ for the sector given that: “the British public consumes more clothing per head of population than any other country in Europe,” says TRA director Alan Wheeler.


These 9 technological innovations will shape the sustainability agenda in 2019

McKinsey sustainability experts weigh in on the year ahead.

Sourced from McKinsey & Company

With a new year, we’re taking a fresh look at where sustainability is headed globally. What technologies will drive the global discussions, and moreover, which will have the greatest impact in 2019? I asked McKinsey’s leading sustainability experts for their thoughts.

1. Public electric transport. It’s not only individual vehicle owners who have better access to electric vehicles (EVs) than ever before—there are 160 electric and hybrid vehicle models available today—but municipalities are taking notice as well. In China, 300,000 electric buses hum down city streets every day. Their widespread adoption in China—an economic coup as much as a policy one—will entice European cities to follow suit. Although these eBuses have higher acquisition prices due to upfront battery costs, their total cost of ownership (TCO) is lower due to their independence from pricey diesel. They also eliminate local particulates, including SOx, NOx, and CO2, all major issues in most cities today.

Read more: The European electric bus market is charging ahead, but how will it develop?

2. Electric trucks. With personal electric vehicles grabbing more and more market share, commercial fleets could follow suit rapidly. But to ensure an efficient transition, we need a firm understanding of the total cost of ownership. Decades ago, widespread adoption of electric trucks—or “eTrucks”—was cost prohibitive. But today, the total cost of ownership could soon be on par with diesel-run trucks, due in part to increasingly cost competitive and available electric vehicle infrastructure. We predict that adoption of battery electric commercial vehicles (BECVs), especially in the light- and medium-duty segments, could surpass the car EV sales mix in some markets by 2030. And although many heavy-duty BECVs will need to charge mid-route, our analysis shows that a charging station every 80 to 100 kilometers on popular routes will suffice for early phases of adoption.

Read more: What’s sparking electric-vehicle adoption in the truck industry?

3. Cheap energy storage. The new age of electric vehicles has rapidly expanded the market for lithium and cobalt batteries—and drastically reduced their price. Lithium ion batteries now cost $200 per kilowatt-hour compared to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour just nine years ago. The expanded market for batteries has implications for more than just EVs. Industry and utilities are finding broader use for them as energy-storage solutions. With prices for batteries rapidly dropping, they are proving valuable to reduce power costs, increase reliability and resiliency, and make power systems more flexible to operate. But the wide accessibility of cheap energy storage also means utilities will need to change quickly. One way will be to move away from a variable rate structure to a fixed fee for access to the grid (like cable TV), especially as consumers begin to generate their own energy. Another will be to revise grid-planning approaches by increasing circuit-by-circuit nodal planning.

Read more: Battery storage: The next disruptive technology in the power sector

4. Long-term storage. Lithium-ion batteries are great for addressing short-term storage needs (4-5 hours) that arise frequently (20-200 times per year), but the market also wants solutions that address long-term storage needs brought on by seasonal shifts and multi-day periods when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. Historically, hydropower dams were one of the only approaches to manage these seasonal shifts. Otherwise, the system would need to build a whole series of plants that only run for a few days each year. Fortunately, a new series of innovators believe they are close to developing long-duration storage technologies. Google X just spun off Malta, which is storing renewable energy in molten salt. Antora Energy is trying to solve the same problem by building a low-cost thermal battery for grid-scale energy storage. And BP-backed Lightsource is adding storage to solar developments. What’s clear is that if long-term energy storage works, the price of power will decline significantly. These long-term solutions could eliminate the cost incurred through the underutilization of assets during and save money by inserting lower-cost generators such as solar and wind in the power supply.

5. Plastic recycling. 260 million tons of plastic waste is generated across the globe every year, but only 16 percent gets recycled. The plastics industry has the opportunity to move away from a “take, make, and dispose” business model and adopt a circular model, which aims to eliminate waste across sectors while creating economic, societal, and environmental benefits. One promising circular process is pyrolysis, which uses heat and the absence of oxygen to reconvert plastic waste back into liquid feedstock. The benefits are economic as much as environmental, with a recycling-based profit pool estimated at $55 billion by the next decade.

Read more: No time to waste: What plastics recycling could offer

6. LED light efficiency. Energy-efficient LED lighting is quickly replacing traditional incandescent bulbs in American homes and is expected to achieve 84 percent market share by 2030. In 2030 alone, LED lights will reduce energy consumption by 40 percent, which adds up to $26 billion in savings adjusted to today’s energy prices. These are dramatic cost savings, but according to the Department of Energy, the U.S. can still see an additional 20 percent in energy savings with increased investment in LED lights.

7. Accessible solar power. Renewable energy continues to become cheaper and more accessible into 2019, a trend that has major implications for the nearly 1 billion people across the globe without access to electricity. While expanding the grid is part of the access solution, countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, which account for a majority of the world’s unelectrified population, are exploring renewable solutions like solar energy to bring energy quickly and inexpensively to millions. Innovative financing plans can help make previously unaffordable solar home systems (SHSs) a smart solution for communities that are too far from a reliable grid connection. A recent McKinsey assessment determined that SHSs can help power 150 million households by 2020.

Read more: Bringing (solar) power to the people

8. Carbon capture and storage. Instead of just focusing on completely decarbonizing the major industrial commodities behind plastics and cement, we can also consider safely capturing the carbon emitted when these commodities are produced. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) allows industry to capture carbon at its source, compress it, and move it to a suitable permanent storage site. The technology not only has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions—it can also mean more money if the CO2 can be used profitably to make other products. Several industries are already working to put captured carbon dioxide to profitable use, including manufacturers who use captured carbon to make plastics, such as polyurethane. Emerging technologies, including direct air capture, have previously been too cost prohibitive to implement at scale. But a new Stanford University study predicts that direct air capture, which grabs carbon dioxide from the air and converts it into synthetic fuel, could eventually drop from $600 per ton of carbon dioxide to less than $100.

Read more: Why commercial use could be the future of carbon capture

9. Hydrogen in the energy transition. It’s difficult to imagine how we meet ambitious global warming benchmarks without including hydrogen as a critical part of the solution. Hydrogen-led pathways to cleaning up the environment forecast hydrogen powering more than 400 million cars, 15 to 20 million buses, and more than 20 percent of passenger ships and locomotives by 2050. Although battery-powered electric vehicles exhibit overall higher fuel efficiency, hydrogen-powered fuel cells can store more energy with less weight. This makes them an ideal solution for heavy cargo vehicles that must travel long distances. Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles are already on the road in Japan, South Korea, California, and Germany—and more than 10 models are slated for release by 2020. In short, hydrogen fuel could help the world meet its goal of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent. Although the necessary technology exists today, the costs for producing hydrogen need to decline significantly, and the infrastructure that supports it needs a step up. Hydrogen could facilitate smarter use of other renewables by acting as a long-term transport and storage solution for renewable electricity. It could be a key enabler in the energy transition.

Read more: Hydrogen scaling up: A sustainable pathway for the global energy transition and Hydrogen: The next wave for electric vehicles?

Defra want to know what you think about their proposals to make biodiversity net gain necessary for developments when granting planning permission. Biodiversity net gain is an approach which aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than beforehand. In particular, they are interested in hearing views on:

  • Standardising the approach so that it’s simpler and clearer for developers
  • Whether they should add this requirement
  • How they could implement the net gain approach
  • How to measure and monitor the net gain approach

They are also seeking evidence on how we could also include other environmental improvements.

Click here to participate in the consultation!