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21 May 2024, London, UK – The CO2 Performance Ladder pilot has launched in the United Kingdom. This project marks a significant advancement in promoting sustainable practices and reducing carbon emissions within the UK’s procurement landscape. 

The Foundation for Climate-Friendly Procurement and Business (SKAO), the owner and manager of the CO2 Performance Ladder, has chosen Action Sustainability, an award-winning sustainability consultancy and the delivery partner behind the Supply Chain Sustainability School, as its UK partner for this ambitious initiative. Together, they will collaborate with leading government bodies to initiate the pilot project within selected tenders. 

Driving decarbonisation in the UK 

The CO2 Performance Ladder, originally a Dutch sustainability instrument, has achieved notable success across Europe, including in the Netherlands and Belgium. With pilot trials already underway in Ireland and France, the UK emerges as the latest frontier for this innovative approach to carbon reduction.  

Maud Vastbinder, Manager CO2 Performance Ladder Europe, said: “We are thrilled to be piloting the CO2 Performance Ladder in the UK, together with Action Sustainability and Transport for London. The Ladder is a vital tool for any procurer’s toolbox, and we’re convinced the tool can be a success in driving decarbonisation in the UK.” 

Reducing supply chain emissions 

The Ladder empowers organisations to effectively manage and mitigate their carbon footprint across operations, projects, and supply chains, while also serving as a procurement tool. Companies certified on the Ladder gain a competitive edge when tendering for public procurement contracts, as authorities increasingly prioritise environmentally responsible practices. 

James Cadman, Head of Consultancy & Climate at Action Sustainability, emphasised the pivotal role of sustainable procurement in achieving net-zero carbon goals, stating: “The vast majority of most organisations’ carbon impacts lie in the supply chain. If any organisation is serious about reaching Net Zero Carbon, they need a robust plan to reduce their supply chain scope 3 emissions. This is where sustainable procurement and the CO2 Performance Ladder come in.”  

Transport for London will pilot the tool within selected tenders, fostering a culture of sustainability and environmental stewardship in UK procurement practices.  

David Stokes, Assistant Director of Public Procurement at the Department for Business and Trade said: “I am delighted that the Co2 Performance Ladder will be piloted in the UK. Procurement is an important lever to help us decarbonise, and I look forward to seeing the results.” 

As the world increasingly prioritises environmental sustainability, initiatives like the CO2 Performance Ladder play a crucial role in driving meaningful change. With Action Sustainability’s expertise and the Ladder’s proven track record, the UK can look forward to a future where carbon reduction and sustainable procurement go hand in hand, paving the way towards a greener, more resilient economy. 

For more information on the CO2 Performance Ladder, visit co2performanceladder.com. 

Written by Holly Hansen-Maughan, Sector Manager for Retrofit

Retrofitting, the process of upgrading existing buildings to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, holds immense promise in Scotland’s journey towards a greener future. In recognition of this, the Supply Chain Sustainability School is running a conference to highlight retrofitting non-domestic buildings from a variety of perspectives; financiers, asset owners, educators and contractors working in urban and rural environments.

The Scottish Government has ambitious climate targets, which mandate significant reductions in carbon emissions. As part of this move towards carbon reduction, the Scottish Government has committed to accelerating the pace of retrofit across all sectors, including residential, commercial, and public buildings.

The government aims to have fuel-poor households retrofitted to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)EPC B by 2040, and social housing holding EPC B by 2032.

However, with 230,000 non-domestic buildings in Scotland, it is not just homes that need to be targeted. There is a real need to address the retrofitting of non-domestic stock. This includes Scotland’s most important cultural, community and heritage buildings as well as public and private sector buildings. The Scottish Government plans to introduce regulations that mean that non-domestic buildings must be net-zero by 2045, to align with the government’s target.

Retrofitting these buildings will bring a multitude of benefits as well as the reduction of carbon emissions. This means cleaner, greener buildings that are good for the planet, as well as being healthier for people to use – warmer, better ventilated and more efficient. Making these buildings more energy efficient means they will use less energy to run, meaning that power and resources can be distributed elsewhere.

Retrofitting these buildings requires significant work, and with that work comes various opportunities across the built environment. Indeed, the transition to a low-carbon economy, including retrofit and energy efficiency measures, is expected to create thousands of jobs in Scotland.

However, this also comes with many challenges that the built environment will need to learn from to quicken the pace of retrofit at scale.

Scotland has a very diverse built environment, from historical stone buildings, Victorian terraces and the famous urban tenements to more modern buildings and large industrial complexes. It also has a diverse landscape. Much of the focus on retrofit projects is on towns and cities. However, 98% of Scotland is classed as rural, which brings its own unique challenges such as access and services.

Scotland’s retrofit journey is unique, and that is why the Supply Chain Sustainability School has decided to dedicate a virtual conference within their NatWest Group-sponsored retrofit programme entirely to the Scottish retrofit market. The free Scaling up Retrofit in Scotland: Opportunities in Non-Domestic Buildings conference will be held on 15th May, 10am-12pm via Zoom.

The conference will include multiple perspectives. The keynote will be delivered by the Royal Bank of Scotland, who will explain the key link between finance and retrofit, and how the banks are supporting customers across Scotland to decarbonise. Robertson will provide a deep dive into retrofit projects from a contractor’s perspective, focusing on the retrofit of the famous King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, and in contrast, a retrofit of Rothesay Pavilion on the remote Isle of Bute. Knight Property Group will bring an asset owner’s perspective, to look at the choices they made in retrofitting their buildings. Then, Built Environment – Smart Transformation will help attendees understand their opportunities for getting involved in this work. The session will be chaired by Holly Hansen-Maughan, the lead for retrofit at the Supply Chain Sustainability School who will work to draw out key themes and enable audience participation and Q&A.

The conference will bring these projects to life, and ensure attendees understand retrofit from a variety of angles – for those who are working in large industrial buildings, offices, cultural centres and more. It will help attendees understand how retrofit is undertaken and consider how retrofit is not only making these buildings more energy efficient but also preserving their history and importance.

Aby Wardrop, Site Manager at Robertson, encapsulated the importance of retrofitting the Kings Theatre when she said: “Protecting this important piece of social and architectural history is special for the community, performing arts, and everyone involved. Together, we will ensure that the show goes on.”

This conference will highlight the work being done in Scotland and inspire others to do more. It will bring forward unique learnings on non-domestic retrofit in different Scottish settings, though these learnings will be relevant to people across the UK.

Please register now: Scaling up Retrofit in Scotland: Opportunities in Non-Domestic Buildings

If you want to learn more about retrofit, please visit our topic page. If you don’t know where to start with your retrofit learning, why not take a training needs assessment? Assess now.


The Supply Chain Sustainability School is pleased to announce the appointment of three new distinguished members to its Board of Directors. The new appointees bring a wealth of experience and expertise that will strengthen the School’s mission of enabling a sustainable built environment through knowledge and collaboration. 

Joining the board are: 

1. Aled Williams

Aled, currently Executive Director: Innovation & Partnerships at University College of Estate Management, brings three decades of experience working in Higher Education, having held previous roles at Salford University, LJMU and the Higher Education Academy. With substantial leadership experience in Built Environment education, he has been instrumental in driving forward innovative developments within the discipline and industry. He applies his leadership and strategic capabilities within the Executive Team; aiming to have a positive effect through engagement, education and collaboration to contribute to a more sustainable built environment. Aled supports, connects and interacts with a wide variety of stakeholders to actively influence (and be influenced by) communities to inform institutional and national policy and practice.   

Aled commented, “I am honoured to join the Supply Chain Sustainability School Board. Their compelling vision to deliver a more sustainable built environment is inspirational. I am eager to contribute towards shaping a more productive, innovative and sustainable sector; catalysing more engagement and partners.” 


2. Mandy Messenger

Mandy, with 34 years in construction, currently serves as Managing Director of Advanté, having held various leadership roles. She previously pioneered the Oasis welfare brand and now focuses on Advanté’s sustainable growth. Mandy is also dedicated to fostering the next generation of industry leaders and igniting transformative initiatives, actively participating in SECBE prestigious Innovative Future Leadership Programme (IFLP). 

Mandy commented on her appointment: “Having been an active Partner in the Supply Chain Sustainability School for the last eight years, I’m honoured to be joining the Board. With a passion for all things sustainability and bringing SME perspective, I aim to support increased engagement from the smaller companies, who make up a large part of the supply chain.” 


3. Ben Stone

With 20 years of sustainability experience, Ben currently serves as Group Head of Environmental Sustainability at Kier Group. With a proven track record of integrating sustainability into business strategies, he plays a critical role in strategy evolution and enhancing ESG disclosure. As Chair of the Board of Trustees at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, and a NED of Wildscapes, Ben offers a robust understanding of purpose-driven organisational governance. 

Ben commented, “Being appointed to the board of the Supply Chain Sustainability School is a privilege. It’s a great opportunity to weave my passion for sustainability into the fabric of the construction industry. I’m excited to roll up my sleeves, collaborate with fellow visionaries, and drive meaningful change towards a future where every link in the chain reflects our commitment to our people, our places and our planet.” 


The Supply Chain Sustainability School is dedicated to equipping professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to build resilient and environmentally responsible supply chains. The addition of these individuals to the Board of Directors underscores the School’s commitment to driving meaningful progress in sustainability practices. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Aled, Mandy and Ben to our Board of Directors,” said Hilary Hurrey, Head of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. “Their diverse backgrounds and deep expertise will be invaluable as we continue to empower our members and Partners to integrate sustainability into their operations.” 

For more information about the Supply Chain Sustainability School, explore the website here. 

Written by Saira Khan and Edited by Cathryn Greville.

LGBTQ+* History Month is a dedicated period of reflection, celebration and education that takes place annually, in February, in the United Kingdom. During this month the focus is on acknowledging and commemorating the rich history and diverse experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. This is essential in fostering inclusion, correcting historical oversights, and highlighting the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights.

At the Supply Chain Sustainability School, our Fairness, Inclusion, and Respect (FIR) Programme recognises the significance of surveys and data collection, especially during LGBTQ+ History Month. Delving into the results of our Diversity Data Benchmarking Survey, we aim to unravel the challenges and successes encountered by LGBTQ+ workers across the built environment sector. As the industry’s most extensive survey of its kind, our analysis of LGBTQ+ data within the Diversity Survey becomes a crucial tool for gaining insights into the LGBTQ+ experience and representation.

LGBTQ+ people and the built environment:

A notable trend in our annual data analysis reveals a positive shift in the percentage of employees identifying as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Over the past year, this figure has increased from 1.7% in 2022 to 2.04% in 2023. While this still falls short of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded value of 3.1%, the upward trajectory signals an encouraging future where more people are feeling comfortable confirming their LGBTQ+ identity.

To enhance the accuracy and inclusivity of our data, this year saw the incorporation of additional identity options. The introduction of asexual, pansexual and queer categories aligns with the ONS data points, broadening the spectrum of self-identification. As these options become more widely acknowledged and accepted, we anticipate a more comprehensive representation of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in future datasets.

Recognising the importance of providing individuals with nuanced identity choices, we encourage organisations to adopt these expanded categories in their data collection processes. By actively including asexual, pansexual, and queer, alongside the option to select ‘other’, businesses can foster a workplace environment that respects and acknowledges the diverse identities within the LGBTQ+ community. This not only aligns with the principles of equality and inclusion but also ensures that data collection accurately reflects the richness of experiences within the workforce. Embracing and promoting these inclusive practices is a vital step towards creating workplaces that truly celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community.

In our data analysis, we’ve noted a significant 11% decrease in the unknown percentage related to individuals’ sexual orientation since 2021, showcasing a positive trend in organisations’ commitment to comprehensive diversity data. Simultaneously, there has been a 7.1% increase in the ‘prefer not to say’ category, suggesting a nuanced dynamic where employees, for various reasons, are becoming more hesitant to disclose their sexual orientation. This underscores the importance of fostering environments that prioritise transparency and trust, encouraging open dialogue about sexual orientation in the workplace for more accurate and representative data. Gathering data on individuals’ sexual orientation in surveys is vital for fostering fairness, inclusion and respect and understanding diverse populations. This information helps organisations identify disparities, implement targeted policies, and create supportive environments for all.

Historically, people have been reluctant to disclose their sexual orientation in surveys due to societal prejudices and stigmatisation. Fear of backlash or discrimination has led many to hide this aspect of their identity. Encouraging open dialogue, destigmatising diverse sexual orientations, and ensuring survey response confidentiality are crucial steps in overcoming historical reluctance and obtaining accurate and representative data.

LGBTQ+ History Month goes beyond commemorating the past; it’s a call to action and an invitation to explore the stories of those facing adversity, discrimination and persecution. It’s not just about recognising progress but also acknowledging ongoing challenges. Surveys, like our annual Diversity Survey, play a vital role in identifying and resolving these challenges. By collecting data, we contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the LGBTQ+ community’s current experiences and representation within the built environment. The survey offers a contemporary snapshot, amplifying voices that might have been historically silenced and providing insights to guide future initiatives during and beyond LGBTQ+ History Month.

Our Diversity Survey is also crucial for documenting and preserving our past. Data captures provide a tangible record of the LGBTQ+ community’s journey, capturing the subtleties of societal attitudes and showcasing the evolution of acceptance and inclusion over time. By exploring individuals’ experiences through such targeted research, we not only honour past stories but also contribute to a living archive that shapes our understanding of history. In essence, research such as the Diversity Survey can become dynamic tools for promoting inclusivity, challenging stereotypes and advancing the ongoing pursuit of equality for all -both in the present and as a lasting record of our shared LGBTQ+ history.

* LGBTQ+ refers to the acronym for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace.

If you would like to learn more about our Diversity Survey or the extensive resources available to help you implement fairness, inclusion and respect (FIR) in your organisation, please contact the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) Programme team at [email protected] and follow us FIR on LinkedIn or X (Twitter).

Today marks a significant milestone as the Supply Chain Sustainability School extends its footprint to Ireland. Already recognised as a leading learning platform in the UK, the School is now set to provide free industry-supported training, knowledge sharing, and support for best practices in sustainability within the Irish built environment.

The launch event, held at Croke Park, Dublin, was supported by the School’s 15 Founding Partners. These Partners, including the Construction Industry Federation and key players in semi-states, homebuilders, major contractors, manufacturers, and service providers, such as Cairn Homes, ESB, Gas Networks Ireland, Glenveagh, Iarnród Éireann, IPUT Real Estate Dublin, John Sisk & Son, Kingspan, Kirby Group, Murphy Group, Roadstone, Saint-Gobain, Skanstec, and Uisce Eireann, showcased a collective commitment to building skills across their supply chain and the broader workforce. The event brought together a diverse range of industry leaders, highlighting a collaborative effort to advance skills and expertise within the construction and related sectors.

Mark Harmon, Chief Procurement Officer for ESB, commented: “ESB is proud to be a Founding Partner of the School, which we believe will play a key role in supporting our supply chain partners on our collective sustainability journey by providing tools, resources and learning materials.”

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has a well-established reputation in the UK, boasting a community of over 100,000 registered members and 200 Partners since it launched almost 12 years ago. The School team, instrumental in shaping the UK School’s success, now aim to replicate this achievement in Ireland.

Andrew Wilson, Programmes Manager for the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “We are delighted to establish a Supply Chain Sustainability School for Ireland. Building on the success experienced since 2012 in the UK, and working closely with our Partners, this initiative will accelerate collaboration to tackle shared industry risks such as climate change, labour shortages and modern slavery.”

The Irish School is steadfast in its commitment to providing free learning, fostering knowledge sharing, and encouraging a collaborative approach to tackle key sustainability challenges in the industry. These challenges encompass energy and carbon, sustainable procurement, waste and circular economy, community and social impact, as well as issues like modern slavery, fairness, inclusion, and respect.

Ellen McKinney, Sustainability Manager for IPUT Real Estate Dublin, said: “The School will support the wider uptake of sustainability training, improving our industry and positively shaping our cities. It will help build on our relationships with our design, construction, and building management teams and create new and lasting partnerships across Irish real estate.”

Membership to the School is free, offering access to hundreds of CPD-accredited online sustainability training sessions and e-learning resources. Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up via https://www.supplychainschool.ie.

Companies wishing to collaborate with industry peers to shape the School’s development for the Irish built environment industry can become a Partner. For more information on becoming a Partner, contact Rick Dunn.

Today, the Sustainability Tool, in collaboration with the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Programme, has unveiled the outcomes of the largest-ever employee diversity survey in the United Kingdom. This comprehensive survey, encompassing more than 526,000 individuals, has been a crucial annual fixture in the built environment sector’s progress tracking since 2016, offering a detailed record of diversity data and pinpointing areas for improvement.

The 2023 survey results, covering 526,415 employees across 537 supply chains of eight major companies and two membership organisations, highlight a substantial increase in participation, with a 55% surge in employees covered and a remarkable 99% rise in participating companies compared to 2022. The inclusion of contributions from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) played a significant role in this expansion.

This year’s findings reveal a noteworthy surge of women in the industry, rising from 23% in 2022 to 29.1% in 2023. This significant increase, marking the survey’s most significant rise in seven years, is primarily attributed to first-time reporting by several Tier 1 organisations. Sectors leading this positive shift include central government, rail, and facilities management, all surpassing the industry benchmark value of 29.1%.

Key takeaways from the 2023 survey:

  • Ethnicity: Despite constituting 52.5% of industry applicants, the representation of ethnic minority groups in the workforce decreased year-on-year slightly to 13.6%, trailing 5% below the ONS UK population average.
  • Attraction and Recruitment: The application-to-hiring ratio was notably higher for ethnic minority groups (90:1) compared to white applicants (28.4:1), on average making it three times as challenging to secure a job this year. Depending on background, ethnic minority groups found it between 1.2 to 6.4 times harder to be hired than their white counterparts.
  • Disability: Persistent data gaps exist around disability, with 35.2% of respondents’ data not being collected. The ‘prefer not to say’ option increased from 3.2% to 6.5% this year.
  • Sexual orientation: While disclosure is increasing, only 2.04% of employees identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, below the ONS UK population average of 3.14%. The survey now includes pansexual, asexual and queer categories to align with census data.

The survey plays a pivotal role in supporting the built environment sector’s commitment to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion, establishing benchmarks, and highlighting areas requiring action for industry-wide progress.

Belinda Blake, Senior Policy Advisor – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at National Highways, said: “National Highways recognises the indispensable role of comprehensive sector data to help drive meaningful change. This annual data capture exercise is instrumental in reinforcing the built environment sector’s dedication to diversity, equality, and inclusion. The report offers essential data, serving as a foundation for setting benchmarks and driving progress across the industry. The success stories within the supply chain stand as a testament to the transformative power of a comprehensive, data-driven approach to ED&I, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and diverse industry.”

Findings from the survey were initially shared at the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s ‘Diversity Data Benchmarking Conference’ in Birmingham last month. The conference emphasised the importance of organisations contributing to the survey to enhance the transparency of the sector and improve diversity and inclusion in key areas such as gender and ethnic diversity. Along with plugging gaps in data capture around disability, pay gaps were also highlighted as areas for attention to achieve a more transparent industry view.

Cathryn Greville, Head of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect at Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “The survey demonstrates the critical importance of quality data in addressing equity, diversity and inclusion issues across the built environment sector. Without relevant data, organisations simply cannot identify, understand and address the real issues they face in their businesses and supply chains, and they cannot track the success of any initiatives put in place to make the workplace more inclusive and successful.”

The Diversity Survey is set to reopen in March 2024, allowing anyone in the built environment to participate anonymously for free.

Organisations also have the unique opportunity to enhance their understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and identify pathways for improvement. Valuable insights can be collected by assessing employee and/or supplier bases against sector benchmarks and ONS UK population statistics. This tailored analysis not only empowers organisations to assess their EDI status but also provides a roadmap for targeted improvements, fostering a more inclusive and diverse workplace. For details on participation, please contact Max Lajtha.

Access the complete Diversity Survey 2023 results here.


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.

Equality in pay is an essential marker of fairness, inclusion and respect. We can’t achieve equity in workplaces until we understand and work to close pay gaps that exist to the detriment of minoritized groups.

On International Equal Pay Day, it is important to pay attention to the pay gaps* seen across the built environment sector.  Across all areas of gender, ethnicity and disability, we have a significant way to go to reach parity.

It is best practice to capture and monitor data on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps. The data is an essential first step to understanding, and then working to fix issues around equal pay for each of these groups. 

*NOTE: The Gender Pay Gap is a measure of the comparative hourly wage of men and women across the UK. It is not the difference in pay between men and women for doing the same job.


Gender Pay Gap

The 2022 Diversity Data Benchmarking Survey (the largest data capture exercise across the UK built environment sector) run by the Sustainability Tool found that a 20.7% gender pay gap remains in favour of men in the sector, leaving women with, on average, less than 80% of men’s earnings.  

This figure is worse than the census data from ONS, although there is considerable variation across trades and a lower gap for construction operatives – still unacceptably so. 

Ethnicity Pay Gap

We also see an average ethnicity pay gap of 8.3% – yet only 4% of respondents capture ethnicity pay data. It is encouraging that 28% of respondents intend to do so, but this still leaves a large majority of 68% of businesses not meeting best practice and unable to understand the issues and close the gap in ethnicity pay. 

Disability Pay Gap

In terms of disability pay, we see an average disability pay gap of 2.5% – however again, only a minority of businesses are capturing this data.  In 2022, only 2.2% of businesses captured disability pay data, with 22.6% intending to do so, and 75.2% not intending to capture disability data. 

Take Action!

We won’t achieve pay equity unless organisations commit to capturing this essential data, and using it to drive their diversity and inclusion work.

Attend our Diversity Data Benchmarking Conference on 12 December in Birmingham to hear about the latest data available on the diversity of the built environment   sector, and expert insights into how to use this data to drive positive change. 

Now in its third year, the Diversity Survey has grown to capture over half a million employees from over 520 businesses across the UK, and we continue to expand the reach to obtain critical insights for the built environment sector to collaboratively drive change. Participating in the survey is free, and provides organisations with standardised diversity measuring, comprehensive data analysis, progress tracking, and actionable insights to enhance business performance and support transparency and accountability. Further functionality is available through the Diversity Tool which allows organisations to drill right down into their supply chain metrics, unparalleled in the sector. 

Written by Cathryn Greville, Head of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect.

Cathryn Greville is our EDI specialist, and heads up the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) Programme which provides an extensive range of training, tools, guidance and resources to assist organisations in addressing workplace culture challenges and build inclusive and respectful environments. 

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.

The Plant Sector Representative Organisation (PSRO) and the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Plant Group have worked together to develop a new Eco-operations National Training Delivery Framework.

The construction plant sector is providing initiatives and solutions for the UK’s path to net zero, with machine usage identified as a contributor to carbon-based emissions. The long-term aim of the sector is to replace all carbon-emitting equipment with zero or low-emission-powered versions. However, in the short term, the aim is to reduce engine-derived emissions as much as possible through minimising engine run time and using the equipment efficiently. 

Addressing this challenge requires a comprehensive education program for equipment owners, operators, and users, and eco-operation courses are at the forefront of this educational initiative.

To ensure uniformity and standardisation in eco-operations across the industry, the PSRO and the School’s Plant Group have worked collaboratively to develop and launch the new training delivery framework.

The framework defines the parameters for consistent delivery, identifying and providing guidance on areas including core and optional learning outcomes, content, teaching methods, assessment strategies, and course durations. It also tailors the course content and delivery specifics for various roles, including Plant Operators, Supervisors, Plant and Site Managers, Planners, Plant Procurers, Maintenance Personnel, and more.

The aim is that upon completing a course based on this framework, delegates will attain a required level of understanding of how to reduce machine-based carbon emissions. This will enable them to recognise and apply learned reduction techniques, operational processes and emerging machine technologies. The goal is for each delegate to take personal ownership for emissions reduction.

The framework is structured into three parts: Part 1 outlines its aims and principles, Part 2 details delivery aspects for different occupations, and Part 3 specifies learning outcomes and training specifications.

Peter Brown from the PSRO said: “With education being a key part in terms of plant-emission reductions and from a programme jointly developed by CPA members Flannery Plant Hire and L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage, we’re pleased to have built upon and created the framework in partnership with the School. This will help ensure that future training courses on this topic both cover the relevant industry-derived content and provide a platform for the consistency of the training of plant and site-based occupations through this open-source framework.”

Imogen Player, Senior Sustainability Consultant and Plant Category Group Lead at the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “For the built environment to seriously tackle climate change and reduce emissions, then the impact that good operator behaviour has must be properly realised. The publication of the Eco-operations National Training Delivery Framework is great, and I’m excited for it to lead the way forward for best-practice training.”

The new training delivery framework is now available to download from here.

Learn more about the School’s Plant Group 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

Mental Health Awareness Week is an important reminder to think about mental health, tackle stigma, and explore how to prevent mental health problems.

The construction industry continues to face a mental health crisis in worker wellbeing that shows no signs of improvement. Rather, current statistics indicate the situation is getting worse.

Around 20% of all cases of ill health in the sector are due to stress, anxiety, or depression (with the true number of cases likely being higher due to a lack of reporting and recording). As a result, over 400,000 workdays are lost each year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, construction workers are three times more likely to see suicide than workers in any other industry. And if you are working in construction trades or groundworks, that number is even higher – about eight times more likely.

Systemic problems such as long hours, lack of diversity (with construction being a male-dominated industry), lack of employer awareness & support, extended time working away from home, and the precarious nature of many construction projects are all contributing factors to this crisis.

Making Wellbeing Visible

We must act now to drive positive change in wellbeing in the industry and ultimately save lives. In order to make a sustained change at the levels and the pace that we need to, this action needs to be a collaborative effort.

The new Make It Visible web portal aims to combat mental health problems facing the built environment industry by providing free wellbeing support to workers and their families.

To mark the launch of the portal, the School is hosting a virtual conference on Wednesday 24th May to discuss the importance of creating an effective wellbeing culture, how to work together to scale improvements in welfare and wellbeing, and the practical steps companies can take.

Attendees will hear from experts from CITB, Considerate Constructors Scheme, Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and Ripple & Co. along with major contractors, including Canary Wharf Contractors, Lendlease, L Lynch and Speedy Services.

Find out more about our ‘Scaling Wellbeing & Welfare Improvement in the Built Environment: #MakeItVisible Launch’ conference here.

Written by Lyndsey Morrison, the Wellbeing Lead at the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

The UK government has published new guidance for employers on how to measure, report on and address ethnicity pay differences within their workforce.

This resource assists employers to start reporting on ethnicity pay gaps, which we know is a key area for improvement based on our 2022 Diversity Data Benchmarking Results. The guidance is particularly relevant to those operating in the construction and built environment sector.

Our most recent Diversity Data Benchmarking Report found that only 4% of companies surveyed collect ethnicity pay gap data. Whilst it is promising that close to 28% intend to do so in the future, the vast majority (almost 68%) of companies in the sector had no intentions of reporting on ethnicity pay gaps.

Yet, at the same time, we know that people from ethnic minority backgrounds:

  • Make up nearly 40% of all applicants for jobs in our sector
  • Are significantly less likely to secure a job in the sector – on average, it takes 50 applicants to achieve 1 successful hire from an ethnic minority background, compared to 16 white applicants (for some ethnic minority backgrounds, this ratio is as high as 78 applicants to 1 successful hire)
  • When working in the sector, are subject to an 8.3% pay gap
  • Generally receive smaller bonuses (25.3% lower bonuses than white workers)
  • Leave their jobs in higher proportion than their representation in the sector itself, particularly if they are women or part of the LGBTI+ community

We know the sector needs to do better with recruiting, attracting, promoting and rewarding people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Businesses must understand their workforce across diversity metrics to identify areas for improvement and start to take meaningful action to close the gap.

This excellent resource assists employers to start collecting and reporting on ethnicity pay gaps, in addition to gender pay gap reporting.  It covers common queries such as confidentiality, aggregation and location of employees, provides recommendations regarding collection, calculating and reporting, and includes step-by-step instructions to ensure a consistent approach and allow for meaningful comparisons. Finally, it supports an evidence-based approach towards designing actions to improve, following data analysis and reporting.

The School’s Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) Programme provides an extensive range of training, tools, guidance and resources to assist organisations in addressing workplace culture challenges and building inclusive and respectful environments.

Our resources are free and accessible to anyone working in or aspiring to work in the built environment.  FIR is one of the arms of the People Matter Charter, a workforce strategy for the built environment.  Businesses can set learning pathways for staff and track progress on their dedicated corporate dashboard and can complete our FIR Growth Assessment, a structured maturity assessment tool which delivers a bespoke 10-point action plan suited to where they are on the FIR journey.

Explore the FIR Programme here.


Written by Cathryn Greville, Head of Fairness, Inclusion & Respect.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has partnered with the FIS (Finishes and Interiors Sector) to support their mission of bringing the interiors and finishes supply chain together to be a driving force for change.

In collaboration with the FIS Sustainability Leadership Group, the School has developed a bespoke learning pathway for their members and internal colleagues: ‘FIS Sustainability Awareness: Doing Business Better‘.

This learning pathway aims to demystify sustainability by clarifying some of the language associated with various sustainability issues, such as sustainability strategy, waste management, net zero, circular economy, well-being, modern slavery, fairness, inclusion and respect and social value. Two optional resources are also included in the pathway, covering science-based targets and embodied carbon.

Flavie Lowres, FIS Sustainability Champion, commented: “I am really excited about this course; as it takes only 20 minutes to complete and I hope it will allow all members of an organisation to upskill on some of the important sustainability topics”.

Access the pathway here.

Learn more about our learning pathways 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]

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.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has partnered with Balfour Beatty for the second year in a row, undertaking a joint survey targeting hundreds of supply chain partners across the UK to understand the barriers and opportunities faced in decarbonising the sector.

Recognising the important role that the construction and infrastructure sector has to play in achieving Net Zero, the companies set out their findings and recommendations for policy makers, customers, and the industry more widely in their latest thought paper – “2022 Greening the Supply Chain”.

Despite the positive steps that have already been taken across the industry, achieving Net Zero is not a foregone conclusion with 68% of respondents saying that the sector is not well enough prepared, 53% saying that the development pipeline for low-carbon materials is not sufficient to meet demand and 81% indicating that construction practices are changing too slowly.

In addition, 96% of those who responded said that they are experiencing a shortfall in access to skilled people, specifically relating to carbon, sustainability, digital and other related roles, which risks holding back efforts to decarbonise the sector.

In “2022 Greening the Supply Chain”, the School and Balfour Beatty highlight the importance of bringing in supply chain partners earlier to put in place the best, low carbon solutions. An area that also requires more focus is the creation of robust measurement and up-to-date reporting standards – these are key for consistency and driving forward progress.

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of Supply Chain Sustainability School said: “These reports offer a major insight into what the built environment requires to meet our net zero targets by 2045/50 and it is great to see that the sector is invested in the challenge! But there is still a long way to go. We must urgently address the skills shortage, as well as the speed in which construction practices are changing to utilise low-carbon technology and methods. Innovation, communication, and collaboration are key!”

Jo Gilroy, Group Director of Sustainability at Balfour Beatty, said: “The global climate change emergency is one of the biggest challenges that we have ever faced. It is a challenge requiring us to all pull in the same direction, together.

With approximately 80% of the sector’s carbon emissions stemming from our supply chain, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the barriers our partners face and where they need more support. By sharing our findings and learnings, we hope that the sector will move forward more quickly – together – in achieving Net Zero.”

To read “2022 Greening the Supply Chain” in full, please click here.

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

The Supply Chain Sustainability School (the School) is leading the way for the UK’s built environment to drastically reduce onsite emissions of 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.

The School’s Plant Group developed the Plant Commitment Charter to encapsulate and communicate this approach. Each organisation signatory pledges to work toward 4 commitments, including: measurement & reporting, engagement, training & education, and innovation.

The result: they contribute to a cleaner working environment.

12 organisations have now become Signatories: Advanté, BAM Group, Cheetham Hill Construction, Costain, EKFB, Flannery, GAP Group, Hercules Site Services, M O’Brien Group, Morgan Sindall, Select Plant Hire and Welfare Hire Nationwide.

Underpinning the Plant Commitment Charter are the Minimum Standards V2.1, refreshed and relaunched earlier this year. The Minimum Standards V1, launched in 2019, are still available to access.

Signatories to the Charter come from across the value chain and commit to improving air quality and reducing greenhouse emissions and any negative impact caused by their construction plant and equipment (CPE). Direct action on reducing tailpipe emissions can only lead to better local air quality for workers and neighbours, resulting in less impact on the global climate.

Signing the Plant Commitment Charter is free and voluntary. To find out more and become a signatory, visit this page.


Quotes from current Plant Charter Signatories:

Mandy Messenger, Managing Director, Advanté: “Offering sustainable solutions has been at the heart of Advanté for 25 years. The Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Plant Charter is a great way to externally, independently verify our commitment to sustainable product offerings and investment. Achieving Gold Status (with maximum points!) gives our Customers and other stakeholders peace of mind they can trust we do what we say we do.”

Gary Todd, Compliance Manager, BAM: “BAM aims to contribute to sustainable environments through our projects and the sustainable and innovative solutions we offer. BAM has a long-term ambition to become a net-zero company. We are focusing on reducing our carbon footprint and improving air quality as much as possible. Being an active partner of the Supply Chain Sustainability School and supporting their Plant Charter reinforces to our clients and wider stakeholders our commitment to lowering emissions. It also enables us to share best practice with likeminded organisations and influence our own supply chain through a collaborative approach so that we can create sustainable environments that enhance people’s lives.”

Mike Goodier, Contracts Director, Cheetham Hill Construction: “CHC are proud to be one of the signatories to the Plant Charter. We are committed to reducing emissions, ensuring our plant is continually updated with the most modern technology and ensuring our operators are trained to maximise outputs whilst minimising fuel usage. The Plant Charter helps us focus on these objectives.”

Lara Young, Group Climate Change Director, Costain: “Costain’s Climate Change Action Plan sets out the Group’s 2035 net zero target and plan to lead, at pace, the changes needed within the infrastructure industry to ensure the entire value chain achieves net zero. Having mandated since 2020 the use of telematics and set a year-on-year 20% plant idling reduction target, supporting the development and early adoption of the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Plant Charter was an evident next step in delivering on Costain’s Climate Change Action Plan. Working in collaboration with all major plant and machinery supply chain partners has ensured a consistent and coherent approach that will deliver immediate tangible emissions reductions across the industry.“

Craig Downs, Plant Manager, EKFB: “EKFB is incredibly proud to be part of the Sustainability School’s Plant Charter Group and a Signatory. Since joining the Charter under a year ago, EKFB has achieved Silver Status, which is a momentous accomplishment. As one of HS2’s main works contractors, delivering a 50-mile stretch of the new high-speed railway, sustainability and the environment are key focuses for us all, as we collaborate and work closely with our supply chain partners to innovate and strive to reduce our carbon footprint. We are committed to making our works cleaner and greener.”

Chris Matthew, Strategic Manager, Flannery Plant Hire: “The Flannery family and board members understand and accept our collective responsibility to lower emissions across all business activities. Flannery have proudly championed the Plant Charter and through that, the aims and objectives that have evolved over these past years. In order to protect and cultivate the industry that we serve and the communities that live and work alongside us, it is essential that we continue to work together collectively to drive better standards, education and behaviours designed to deliver measurable improvements on our construction sites nationwide. Flannery looks forward to continuing this journey alongside fellow partners and associates of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.”

Mark Anderson, Managing Director, GAP Group Hire: “As one of the signatories of the Plant Charter it is refreshing to be involved in an industry group that wishes to work together to achieve lower emissions from our operations. The Plant Group sets out challenging and realistic commitments to lowering equipment emissions, which are often broad-brushed by other groups who do not have the same level of expertise in plant and not recognising the hire industries place in the circular economy.”

Gary Davidge, Plant & Fleet Manager, Hercules Site Services: “As Supply Chain Sustainability School Partners and signatories to the Plant Charter, Hercules will continue to maintain and drive forward our commitments to lowering carbon emissions throughout our fleet of plant machinery.”

Dan O’Brien, Director, M O’Brien Group: “We are delighted to sign up to the new and updated plant charter created by the Plant Group of the Supply chain sustainability school. Reducing emissions is the right thing for our planet, cost saving and people health, the Plant Charter is a great vehicle for demonstrating this. But also, a great platform for likeminded companies to share their ideas and findings from sustainability activities in a collaborative way.”

Graham Edgell, Group Director of Procurement and Sustainability, Morgan Sindall: “The Plant Charter provides the industry with a mark in the sand that continues to stimulate positive action, driving improved performance whilst speeding up innovation. We all understand the need to raise the bar lifting the minimum standards for the betterment of not only our sector but the wider environment”

Alex Warrington, Business Unit Leader, Select Plant Hire: “As a signatory to the Plant Charter, we have a moral responsibility to future generations, following the declaration of a climate emergency, to take the necessary steps to immediately reduce on-site emissions and improve air quality. The framework SCSS provides gives Select great direction in driving continuous improvement and leading the way in sustainable plant innovations. This demonstrates to our clients that in achieving gold status, we are committed to lowering emissions, which have been defined by the charter, to help meet key strategic goals in their journey towards Net Zero.”

Andy Grayshon, Commercial Director, Welfare Hire Nationwide: “As a specialist supplier in ECO mobile welfare & lighting, we are delighted to align with the Supply Chain Sustainability School in an area we are passionate about. Welfare Hire have continually invested in high-level innovation with a track record in providing industry-first eco products and solutions. We will continue to champion this to help partners accelerate delivery of their carbon and wider ESG goals and welcome the opportunity to support the plant charter.”

The full report can be found here.


27th September, London, UK – The Supply Chain Sustainability School, a multi-award-winning initiative which represents a common approach to addressing sustainability within supply chains, has today released its Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) Annual Culture Report 2022.

The School surveyed over 1,000 of its members across the country, to get their feedback on the School’s Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Programme and how the FIR agenda is progressing within the built environment.

David O’Neil, Supply Chain Director, Commercial and Procurement at National Highways, said: “At National Highways we recognise that developing a diverse and inclusive supply chain (and workforce) is critical in meeting the needs and expectations of road users and communities. We see the FIR Programme, and our growing partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School, as an essential part of developing diverse capability across our sector.”

The report also offered insights on how the School has continued to positively impact organisations and supply chains, reinforcing the School’s mission to be the world-class collaboration enabling a sustainable and fair built environment.

With over fifty thousand registered users, the School provides free practical learning and support for the UK built environment, through training, networking, e-learning modules and online resources. Specifically, the FIR resources and the FIR Growth Assessment are becoming increasingly popular as FIR sits higher on the agenda for many organisations in the industry.

Members of the School anonymously stated that the FIR Programme offered “the confidence to tackle issues head on” , “increased efficiency and productivity” and created a “positive breeding ground for strong culture resulting in a much healthier and beneficial workplace for [our] colleagues.” One School member also highlighted the FIR Programme continues to “increase the level of diversity within the workplace and assist in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce.”

Organisations are becoming more conscious of FIR and its benefits to people, profit and enabling a sustainable business model. The School has been identified as a powerful tool to help organisations embed sustainability into their business practices, with 83% of survey respondents confirming that their company leaders are now better equip to understand Fairness, Inclusion and Respect and can better articulate the benefits. Furthermore, 79% of respondents confirmed their behaviours and attitudes towards teammates have improved due to FIR training. The FIR programme has also been identified as key to supporting businesses with retaining talent (68%) and recruiting a more diverse team (72%).

Lucie Wright, Head of Strategy (Careers and Pipeline) at CITB, said: “CITB’s evaluation team have produced a thorough report and it is great to see the evidence that FIR training is having a positive impact across construction. Nearly 80% of companies have reported improved behaviours as a result of the knowledge gained from the training, and that, in turn creates a happier working environment which will mean improved staff retention and greater opportunity to attract new talent into the industry. This is particularly important at a time when construction faces a large skills gap. The survey also helps us understand where support is needed and helps CITB improve our offer to industry and to support FIR to become embedded throughout.”

The quality of training remains extremely high this year, with an average of 90% of respondents rated the workshops and materials as “excellent” or “good”. There was also a strong impact on individuals, as demonstrated by the 87% of respondents who felt they were empowered to deal with FIR issues more effectively due to engaging with the FIR Programme. 82% of members also felt they had the confidence to challenge poor behaviours in the workplace.

Paul Aldridge, Sustainability Director at WJ Group, said: “This report with greater participation than ever, brings hope, demonstrating that we are breaking down the barriers to an inclusive industry but yet, sets us challenges. Listening and measuring the thoughts, concerns, hopes and ambitions of our colleagues helps us understand better where we can and must improve to become truly inclusive. We know the benefits of fairness, inclusion and respect, increased: employee and customer satisfaction; creativity and innovation; attraction of the broadest talent; profitability and business development; community value. FIR helps us nurture our people and achieve great results.”

The School is part-funded by CITB and industry Partners, with the direction of the School being led by over 182 Partners – working in collaboration, they share knowledge and free resources to inspire the UK built environment to drive positive change.


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.

The following companies have reached Gold membership on the School this month, demonstrating significant commitment to developing their sustainability knowledge. Find out more about their journey’s here, or discover how you can become Gold here.

Congratulations to all new Gold members!

  • Alfred Bagnall & Sons (North) Limited
  • Apleona HSG
  • Arco
  • Balfour Beatty PLC
  • BREBURltd
  • BW Workplace Experts
  • Centurion Traffic management
  • Gibbs & Dandy (Saint-Gobain)
  • H E Barnes Ltd
  • KONE plc
  • M Group Services Limited
  • Mabey Hire Ltd
  • Mace
  • Mivan Ltd
  • Moores Furniture Group
  • Peel Ports Group
  • Powerday plc
  • Readypower Group
  • Rhodar Limited
  • Selwood Pumps
  • Showersave
  • Thompson Cole
  • Venesky-Brown Recruitment


The Supply Chain Sustainability School and the Worshipful Company of Constructors are partnering to offer a Climate Action Scholarships Programme, aimed at addressing the climate crisis and uncovering opportunities that will improve sustainability in construction.

The 12-month programme, launching in Autumn 2022, will offer two successful applicants a £2,500 bursary to support costs associated with completing the programme, plus an experienced mentor will support them to shape and deliver their research project. Free attendance at a number of additional learning sessions will also ensure robust and appropriate experimental methods and data analysis are applied to deliver validated outputs.

The scholars will also receive support in disseminating the findings of the project widely, through the extensive networks that both organisations bring and also other relevant thematic groups.

The completion of these projects can also form part of applications for professional membership, as part of an accredited apprenticeship scheme or extending continuing professional development.

The scholarships are also a valuable mechanism for companies to develop the potential of their employees who may not normally have the opportunity and support to carry out structured research, as well as demonstrate their own leadership in the field.

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “We know that no single organisation or person has all the answers to addressing two of the main issues of our age: the climate and biodiversity crises. Thankfully, there is a multiplicity of solutions available to us – some we know already and some we are yet to develop. But to make them happen soon, and at scale, we know that we must collaborate.

Moreover, we need to inspire the next generation to carry on the work in generating new thinking and ways of working to maintain momentum in tackling climate change. To that end, the Worshipful Company of Constructors and the Supply Chain Sustainability School are working together to offer a number of research scholarships each year to address the climate challenges we face today and realise opportunities relevant to construction, now and in the future.”

For more information and the full benefits, see here.

The next programme will open in Autumn 2022. If you are interested in applying, please visit the website to download the brochure and application form.