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Net zero announcement: UK sets out plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions

Another big push towards electric vehicles is being made in the UK government’s latest strategy to make the great shift to a virtually zero-carbon economy.

Find out more >>

Three-quarters of UK SMEs without credible plans to reduce emissions

UK-based small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will need far more support to decarbonise, otherwise the nation risk missing its net-zero target, a new survey has revealed.


JCB targets first hydrogen diggers by end of 2022

The UK plant giant is investing £100m on its project to produce super-efficient hydrogen engines with a team of 100 engineers working on developing the new engines.

Take a look >>


November’s Featured Topic: Climate Change & Carbon

Climate change is the biggest issue of our times and the built environment is one of the major contributors to carbon emissions. Reduction in carbon emissions have to occur if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

We have a wealth of resources to help you gain a better understanding of Climate Change and Carbon – take a look:

Introduction to Climate Change and Carbon Footprinting Learning Pathway

This self-enrol learning pathway will provide you with not only the understanding of climate change, carbon emissions and how to identify were they occur, but also the skills to make reduction plans to tackle them and report on your progress to your stakeholders – clients, regulators and colleagues.

Enrol here >>

Decarbonising Construction: Building A New Net Zero Industry

This report from the National Engineering Policy Centre and the Royal Academy of Engineering focuses on four interconnected missions that cut across the whole of the construction sector that require urgent attention to achieve net zero.

Find out more >>

Climate Policy Tracker For Business

This tracker from the We Mean Business coalition provides businesses with up-to-date information on climate regulation; enabling you to build a comprehensive picture of the policies that are directly impacting your operations and value chains.

Get started >>


Get ready for COP26 with our Training Pack

To prepare our industry to take action in the year of COP26, we are pleased to provide our Members with a COP26 Training Pack, giving you direct links to free resources and training sessions designed to help your organisation and supply chain gain a better understanding of climate change and carbon.



The School’s Climate Action Group released its updated Carbon Calculator in August 2021. Still free to access online, it has been upgraded, taking on board feedback from the Group. It is now easier to use and has been adapted so that organisations with different levels of experience in carbon reporting can participate, report their data and allocate it to their clients.

We now have 75 registered Partners and 430 registered suppliers in the system, and this is only increasing. Partners are actively looking to their supply chains to get involved. As a member of the School you may well have had a request already.

We are continuing to run webinar sessions for members and Partners to find out more about how the Calculator works. The next sessions, all at 3 – 4pm, are on Weds, 27th Oct., Weds, 24th Nov., and Weds, 15th Dec., 3 – 4pm

More widely the School is running a series of training and webinar sessions in and around COP26. Information on this is available here.

If you want to know more about the Climate Action Group or the Carbon Calculator, contact [email protected]


What is the People Matter Charter?

Diversity, exploitation, wellbeing, employment conditions and training & skills are common challenges faced by organisations and their supply chains. People issues are vast, yet all connected.

With 99 signatories and counting, the ‘People Matter Charter’ helps organisations up and down the supply chain address these challenges together, in one workforce strategy.  The Charter has eight commitments that can apply to any organisation, of any size.

Why commit to the Charter and become a signatory?

Do you employ people? Do you work with supply chain partners who employ people, either sub-contractors or suppliers? If yes, regardless of your organisation’s size, the Charter applies to you.

By committing to the Charter you will:

  • Demonstrate to clients your commitment to engage and develop your workforce
  • Increase staff retention
  • Improve wellbeing and help decrease absenteeism
  • Improve supply chain resilience
  • Adapt to the needs of an evolving industry
  • Collaborate with industry to improve labour standards across the value chain

What commitment is required?

Signatories to the Charter must:

  • Already be at least level 1 in 6 of the 8 commitments outlined in the People assessment
  • Be committed to embedding the People Matter Charter in your organisation
  • Be committed to working with your supply chain and embedding the Charter’s commitments in your supply chain requirements
  • Provide the School with one written case study per year, providing either qualitative or quantitative evidence on the impact the Charter is having on your organisation and / or supply chain

Complete the People Matter Learning Pathway to become a free signatory.

For further information click here or contact [email protected]


The Fairness, Inclusion and Respect conference held in June focussed on Wellbeing. Kate Walker from Diabetes Safety Organisation presented some compelling statistics and insight into diabetes and the impact on individuals in the workplace.

Diabetes affects 4.6 million people in the UK and poses health and safety risks many people and companies do not recognise. Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 2 minutes, that equates to 700 people a day, a staggering 255,500 people a year.

A recent survey from the British Safety Council showed that nearly three in every five employers (59%) that responded did not know their legal responsibilities if one of their workers had diabetes, while the same proportion (58%) of employers did not implement and review risk assessments for the role(s) workers with diabetes undertake.

What makes diabetes a safety risk?

  • possibility of a hypo e.g. sudden loss of consciousness
  • lack of sensation in feet while driving vehicles or machinery
  • impaired awareness
  • impaired concentration
  • impaired balance or co-ordination

There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 which develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, the cause of this is unknown. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, which develops when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin the body is making is not being used properly.

Type 2 diabetes can be hard to recognise in the early stages and the symptoms can be put down to late nights and other lifestyle factors. It is vital people get tested if they have any concerns.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • increased thirst
  • blurry vision
  • slow healing
  • frequent urin ation
  • tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.

If you think you may have any of these symptoms or are concerned, contact your GP or you could use the UK risk assessment tool. Companies and organisations need to understand the condition fully and the impact it could have on their staff and business.

Implications at work can include:

  • increased time off for those not managing their condition or those undiagnosed
  • increased risk of accidents
  • not complying with the Equality Act, Health and Safety at Work Act and DVLA regulations

The DVLA states people on insulin must check glucose levels no more than two hours before driving, followed by repeat tests during breaks for every two hours of driving. This helps prevent the risk of a fatal hypo without blanket bans, as many people have their diabetes under control.

For those who know they have the condition, DVLA regulations can be met but there are 1 million people undiagnosed in the UK who may have less sensation in their feet or deteriorating vision.

There is good news, many people with type 2 diabetes, can do something to support or improve their condition by making changes to their lifestyles. We know it is not easy to make sustained lifestyle changes, so we are encouraging the one less challenge.

  1. One less sugar in your tea/coffee x 6 cups a day =1kg less a month, 12kg a year
  2. One less biscuit x 3 times a week = 5.5 packets less a year

To support staff at work, companies should be:

  • increasing awareness and understanding of the condition and educating those in high-risk roles
  • providing a non-judgmental environment where people feel they can share about their condition (there is still a stigma about type 2 diabetes being associated to weight)
  • providing an appropriate place to test and take injectable medications
  • ensuring specific diabetes safety risk assessments and safe systems of work are in place

Diabetes is a manageable condition and for many at high risk of type 2 diabetes, it is preventable with early intervention and lifestyle modifications. Diabetes currently costs 10% of the NHS budget, £14 billion a year. What is the cost to your company, both in human and financial terms? Are you doing enough to support your staff and reduce risk? If you feel you want to know more or sign up to the Tackling Diabetes Safety Charter, please contact Kate Walker.

A reflection from CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at work survey


Looking after people’s health and wellbeing at work is central to the CIPD’s purpose to champion better work and working lives. CIPD’s annual Health and wellbeing at work survey has been running for over 20 years and the findings help to inspire change and achieve this mission in organisations.

We’re now over 18 months into this global pandemic. The threat to people’s physical health from COVID-19 was immediate and obvious but the challenges are also psychological, which came through strongly in the survey. Over two-fifths (42%) of HR professionals said they were ‘extremely concerned’ about the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health and a further two-fifths (40%) said ‘moderately concerned’.

It’s encouraging that most organisations have been acting on that concern, with their top action in response to the pandemic being ‘more focus on looking after people’s mental health’. However, only just over half [54%] believe they have been effective in managing the mental health risks from COVID-19, which begs the question: why not?

The research suggests a number of areas where many employers could focus more attention to improve people’s health and wellbeing. First, more organisations need to adopt a systematic approach to identifying and managing the main risks to people’s health – both physical and psychological. This should include taking action to prevent ill health where possible, so it was very encouraging that this was the theme of the Inspiring Change Conference in June, delivered through the Fairness, inclusion and Respect Programme.

Organisations also need to be aware of the underlying factors that are influencing people’s wellbeing and driving behaviour. For example, our survey findings show that the main cause of stress at work is unmanageable workloads, and so organisations need to think about fundamental issues like allocation of work, deadlines, targets and objectives to make sure they are realistic.

The survey also reported high levels of presenteeism [people working when unwell] observed by HR professionals, so more action is needed to tackle this unhealthy working practice. People need to have healthy routines where they can balance work and personal responsibilities and switch off from work, as well as taking time off to recover when they’re ill.

‘Management style’ is the second main cause of stress which highlights how much influence line managers have on wellbeing, which can be detrimental if they are not equipped to go about their role in a supportive and effective way. Line managers can’t be expected to act as counsellors or medical experts but they should build relationships with people that are based on trust, where individuals can have sensitive and genuine conversations about work and health, and ask for any workplace adjustments or flexibility. Therefore, they need to have a good understanding of what health and wellbeing support is available in the organisation and how to signpost people to expert sources of help like an employee assistance programme or occupational health when needed.

Disappointingly, the increasing expectation on line managers to support people’s wellbeing isn’t always matched by the level of investment most receive in terms of training, ongoing guidance and support. Well under half of organisations (43%) have trained managers to support people with mental ill health, for example. Therefore it’s not surprising that there are low levels of confidence on the part of HR professionals in the capability of line managers: 38% think managers can have sensitive discussions and signpost to more specialist sources of help and 31% think they can spot the early warning signs of mental ill health.

People’s health and wellbeing has been slowly creeping up the corporate agenda over the past few years. This year shows a significant increase in the proportion of organisations reporting it’s on senior leaders’ agendas, with three in four survey participants saying this is the case. This isn’t surprising because the pandemic has made health and wellbeing a critical business continuity issue. The CIPD is keen to make sure it remains a priority going forward.

Key CIPD Resources:

  1. CIPD/Simplyhealth: Health and wellbeing at work survey report 2021
  2. Practical guidance for managers on preventing and reducing stress at work
  3. Resources to support line managers in their people management approach
  4. CIPD/Mind: People Managers’ Guide to Mental Health

The Plantworx team are collaborating with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to deliver a new technology and sustainability show case – Futureworx.

Standfirst: The CEA, hosts of the Plantworx construction exhibition, has joined forces with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to deliver a future technology event – Futureworx. The new event is taking place on the 30th and 31st of March 2022 at the East of England Arena, in Peterborough,  and will showcase the latest in technology and cutting edge innovations to make the workplace safer, smarter and more sustainable, as we head down the road to net-zero.

The event will focus on people plant interface management, telematics, the connected site, GPS systems, safety systems and advances in autonomous and electric and hydrogen machinery. The show aims to highlight sustainability, productivity and advances in future fuels such as hydrogen, electric and HVO.

This new technology showcase was first mooted by engaging with Plantworx stakeholders asking ‘what they wanted to see at an exhibition’ and indeed if they were ‘ready to attend live events following the COVID pandemic’. The results from the survey were quite clear with the majority of respondents saying they were very keen to get ‘live, interactive and in person’ events back on track.

The Plantworx team followed this survey, conducted by Gobby Surveys, up with a twitter poll and autonomous vehicles, machine technology and alternative fuels were at the top of the poll.

Futureworx will bring together industry professionals keen to find out what is in the pipeline of ideas and technology which will shape tomorrow’s construction equipment experience. The two-day event will also include conference sessions, live product demonstrations and technical talks.

On the first evening of the event Futureworx will host the Plantworx Awards evening in partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

The event will see a welcome return of networking, innovation and collaboration – the future is now!

James Cadman, Head of Consultancy and Carbon at Action Sustainability explains the work of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, “The School’s role is supporting businesses across the built environment sector in becoming more sustainable – environmentally, socially, and economically. Through our collaborative engagement work, and the knowledge we provide, more organisations are switching their business models to ones that are more forward looking, with sustainability principles woven through everything they do.

James continued “Our partnership with the CEA and Futureworx will provide the School, along with our partners and members, the perfect platform to engage with the sector to help promote and develop the skills and competence within the supply chain on key sustainability issues, and develop carbon reduction techniques, so they feel confident that they can engage with their clients on those topics.  This benefits everyone: client, contractor and the wider community. We are very much looking forward to the event.”

Rob Oliver, CEE (Construction Equipment Events) Director, hosts of Futureworx commented, “This is an exciting development for both the CEA and Plantworx. Virtual presentations of technological innovations have their place, but educating and exciting industry professionals on what the future holds is best done face-to-face with practical demonstrations. We see this as a service to both CEA members and the wider construction community. It’s all part of our Plantworx mission”.

To find out more about this event and if you have an innovative technology you would like to showcase please email [email protected]

The Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS) is leading the way for the UK’s built environment to drastically reduce onsite emissions to air that are harmful to human health and the planet, such that they will reach net zero by 2040 and contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 11 and 13.

The Plant Commitment Charter was developed by the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Plant Group to encapsulate and communicate this approach. Each organisation signatory pledges to work toward five commitments, including: minimum standards in procurement, engagement, awareness raising & education, measurement & reporting, and innovation. The result: they contribute to a cleaner working environment.

Kier and Cheetham Hill Construction are the latest signatories to the Plant Commitment Charter. They join nineteen other organisations publicly dedicated to actively reducing their emissions from the plant and equipment they buy, hire and use.

Jade Hunt, Group Environment Manager, Kier, said “Kier have been active for a long time in reducing the impacts of its business, across all sustainability issues. Signing the School’s Plant Commitment Charter is an outward confirmation of our determined intent, and we want our suppliers and subcontractors to match our ambition.”

Howard Chamberlain, Managing Director and Owner, Cheetham Hill Construction, said: “CHC has signed the School’s Plant Commitment Charter as a clear statement that we take the impacts of our business seriously, taking action to reduce them where possible, as far as possible.

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 from 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.

Chris Matthew, Strategic Manager, Flannery Plant Hire, said: “Flannery signed the Charter in June 2020, the first to do so, because we saw value in making a public declaration of our strategy to reduce emissions across our fleet and the service we provide to our clients. We are glad to see others joining the same declaration.”

Lara Young, Group Climate Change Director, Costain, said: “Costain were one of the first signatories of the Plant Commitment Charter in August 2020. As an early adopter of low emission plant and having introduced several Groupwide low emission plant standards since 2017, joining the Charter was an evident next step in our journey to net zero. Tackling one of our greatest whole life cycle emissions sources and providing a clear signal to our clients, supply chain partners and Plant OEMs to know of the importance we place on taking tangible action, reducing emissions from plant and machinery. I am delighted that more organisations are following suit.”

Signing the Plant Commitment Charter is free and voluntary. Visit the Supply Chain Sustainability School to find out more.

FIS and the Supply Chain Sustainability School are collaborating to help deliver Net Zero in the finishes and interiors sector through a new virtual training portal hosted on the Supply Chain Sustainability School website.

This sustainability training hub is another output of the FIS Sustainability Working Group, which has been established within the FIS community to support a focus on individual change, collective focus and supply chain engagement.  The working group has five core objectives:

  • Increasing knowledge and understanding within the supply chain
  • Setting targets and standardisation (including monitoring and measuring impact)
  • Providing an active network and encouraging collaboration
  • Highlighting individuals and approaches that help inspire and inform change
  • Informing design and encouraging better asset management

FIS Board Member Phil Brown from Meronden Ltd who has been supporting the FIS Sustainability Working Group said:

“In our supply chain there is a growing understanding, not only of our responsibilities, but also the potential of the sector to support change. Our Working Group really starts with a focus on helping individual businesses in the sector to take the first and identify the next step to being better in terms of sustainability.  In the true sense of sustainability there is absolutely no point in reinventing the wheel.  The collaboration with Supply Chain Sustainability was quickly identified as a priority, the School has a amazing wealth of resource that can help educate and inform our supply chain and we just needed as a first stage to curate this and help set up some suggested learning pathways.  This launch is the first step, but we have ambitious plans together to develop the content and with it the understanding of sustainability through our supply chain.”

Graham Edgell of Morgan Sindall who is a Board Member of the Supply Chain Sustainability School added:

“Collaboration is key to driving change.  The School exemplifies this with an open source approach that makes content, developed by experts, available to all.  It is great that we have teamed up with FIS, one of the more dynamic bodies in our sector and a key sector within construction to really help drive knowledge and capability on sustainability issues. With an improved understanding of the issues we can all individually and collectively help companies and the sector deliver more sustainable outcomes and play our part in the CLC CO2nstruct Zero programme and the national Net Zero effort”.

With construction accounting for 40% of UK carbon consumption, the construction industry is critical to supporting the UK Net Zero Effort.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Roadmap to Recovery has laid out proposals to secure the future of construction businesses nationwide, while setting the industry on a sustainable path towards recovery.

The goal of the strategy is to: Improve design, product selection and manufacturing and construction processes to deliver built assets that achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases as part of the pathway towards net zero.

With the finishes and interiors sector estimated to be responsible for 40% of energy consumed by a building and an estimated 300 tonnes of fit-out materials going to landfill every day, FIS is working to rally the sector and, in addition to work with the School has recently signed up as a partner organisation to support the delivery of the Co2nstruct Zero strategy.

You can view the Finishes and Interiors Sustainability Virtual Training here Finishes & Interiors | Supply Chain Sustainability School (supplychainschool.co.uk)

You can visit the FIS Sustainability Hub here.

Action Sustainability and the Supply Chain Sustainability School will once again be supporting and sponsoring the Sustainability Summit at London Build Expo 2021.

London Build Expo is set for a huge return to Olympia London’s Grand Hall on the 17 & 18 November 2021. Learn from London’s leading architects, developers, contractors, engineers, suppliers and industry bodies, who are leading the way to a sustainable future for London’s construction industry.  **Use our unique link to get your free ticket now.**

We will be hosting a networking lunch on Wednesday 17 November between 11:15am – 12:45pm, located in the Built Environment Networking Hub. Join us to meet businesses that are outside your current network, enabling you to expand your connections to benefit your business. If you get there early, we’ll also be showcasing our Sustainability Tool, displaying how to easily and effectively measure and manage your organisation’s sustainability performance.

If you are unable to attend, you still have a chance to visit us at our stand A37, located near the Sustainability Summit stage.

Action Sustainability’s leading sustainability experts will also be joining panel discussions on the Sustainability Stage, along with other leading contractors, engineers, architects and developers. Please come and hear our speakers on Wednesday 17 November 2021:

15:00-15:50: Helen Carter, Lead Consultant, Action Sustainability will be speaking on a panel about Modern Slavery in Construction.

16:00-16:50: Vaishali Baid, Social Value Consultant at Action Sustainability will be speaking on a panel about Social Value in Construction.

Check out the full conference agenda here: https://www.londonbuildexpo.com/conference-agenda

London Build Expo is free to attend and promises to be two fun-filled days of high-level content, networking opportunities and endless entertainment.

Register your team for FREE tickets at https://www.londonbuildexpo.com/supply-chain-sustainability-school

Or if you have any further questions, please get in touch with the organisers at [email protected]

Highways England’s commitment to net-zero by 2050


Highways England is inviting suppliers to showcase their innovative, sustainable technology for plant and equipment operations that supports the carbon net-zero target. This is a great opportunity for the supplier community to work with Highways England

The event is taking place on Tuesday 12 October from 10am – 3pm. To exhibit, please complete the criteria form.

Your submission will be reviewed and if it supports the requirements and output from this event, you will then be notified of acceptance.

Embracing offsite manufacture and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is becoming a strategic priority for many businesses. As the largest regional builder in the UK, Kier’s use of MMC spans multiple sectors and geographical locations, and they see the supply chain partners they work with as integral to the success of their business.


To make it as easy as possible for organisations to choose offsite, and to showcase the diverse range of MMC manufacturers across the UK, Kier has partnered with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to develop a new database specifically for MMC manufacturers.

The new database forms a highly visual interactive map, colour coded to reflect the full spectrum of MMC technologies available and is fully searchable, making it quick and easy to find a manufacturers’ details for a project via the geographical location of their factories. Over 160 manufacturers have already signed up to be included.

“Through our behavioural change initiative at Kier, The Choice Factory, we are constantly looking for new ways in which to make offsite manufacture and MMC more accessible for our colleagues, clients and supply chain. As a team, we are often asked which manufacturers to approach when considering adopting a specific offsite methodology for a new scheme, so we wanted to come up with a dynamic way of communicating this information, as well as making it open and accessible in order to benefit the wider industry.”Elizabeth Cook, Kier Strategic Projects.

Increasingly, clients are setting ambitious sustainability targets. Kier has therefore added fields to promote supplier’s sustainability credentials, helping to bring responsible procurement to the forefront of initial selection criteria.

View more here.

To view the MMC database, click here.


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. The full report can be found here.

The School surveyed over 800 of its members across the country, to get their thoughts on the FIR Programme and how the FIR agenda is progressing within the built environment. Mark Lomas, Head of EDI at HS2 Ltd, said: “It’s great to see organisations responding to the FIR survey, giving great insight into EDI across the 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 sustainability training, networking, e-learning modules, tailored assessments, and online resources. The FIR resources 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 “huge benefits for [their] business and life in general” and enabled companies to easily introduce initiatives such as “inclusion moments […] largely due to the influence of FIR ambassadors within the company pushing the initiative.”

COVID-19 forced the Supply Chain Sustainability School to move all learning online, resulting in the FIR Programme seeing an increase of 66% of members completing e-learning modules over the past year, and many members accessing FIR online workshops and webinars.

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.

The FIR survey showed that 55% of businesses felt the FIR Programme helped them win new business, and 58% believe it enabled an improvement in productivity. Furthermore, 62% of respondents feel that the FIR Programme supported their business to retain talent, and 73% felt FIR helps to improve stakeholder engagement.

Lucie Wright, Careers Strategy Manager at CITB, said: “More and more construction employers are seeing the benefits in productivity and winning new business that the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect training brings. A workplace that works for everyone will also help retain employees into the future, particularly important during a period of labour shortage, and I would encourage employers to visit the Supply Chain School website to see what free training is available.”

The quality of training provided by the FIR Programme has been higher than ever this year. An average of 96% of respondents rated the workshops and materials as “excellent” or “good”, compared with last year’s figure of 91%. There was also a strong impact on individuals, as exhibited by the 89% of respondents who felt they were empowered to deal with FIR issues more effectively as a result of the FIR Programme. A massive 82% of members also felt they had the confidence to challenge poor behaviours in the workplace.

Paul Aldridge, Director at WJ Group, said: “This year’s survey demonstrates how people want, need even, to work for organisations with good Fairness, Inclusion and Respect credentials. It shows areas we need to improve and that to be high performing organisations, we need to nurture all our people and allow them to thrive in a psychologically safe, inclusive space. By doing so, we can harvest the business benefits FIR will accrue; improved productivity, safety and collaboration, new business, better staff retention, stakeholder and community engagement.”

The School is part-funded by CITB and industry Partners, with the direction of the School being led by over 125 Partners – working in collaboration, they share knowledge and free resources to inspire the UK built environment to drive positive change.

A leading supplier of labour to the construction industry, has partnered with the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS) to launch a campaign, encouraging those within the industry to embrace diversity and boost conversations around mental health.

Fortel Group, which supplies more than 2,000 staff to more than 130 projects across the UK, has collaborated with the SCSS to launch a sticker scheme, where staff who complete certain training use their hard-hat to highlight their expertise, as well as raising awareness on site as to who can be confidently and confidentially approached for conversations on these issues.

It is hoped that the scheme will encourage more people to undertake training, such as the SCSS’ Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Ambassador Programme, Mental Health First Aid training or Fortel Group’s own LGBTQ+ Ally training.

Amar Sandhawalia, Fortel Group Chief Operating Officer, said:

“The construction industry is making great strides towards creating a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds. Our team works with our clients and partners at sites across the UK and we hope that by launching this scheme, we can start positive conversations, as well as boost awareness of the fantastic training opportunities that are available, such as those created by the Supply Chain Sustainability School. When someone goes out of their way to learn more about what they can do to help others feel comfortable in the workplace, we want them to be proud of that and encourage others to do the same.”

Fortel has a number of FIR ambassadors amongst its ranks, with all senior staff completing training during 2020. The Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) programme is an industry-wide initiative that aims to make workplaces better for everyone. The programme provides free, industry-endorsed training and resources that supports businesses to be more innovative and profitable by addressing workplace culture challenges and helps attract and retain people from the full pool of talent. Individuals who attend the FIR Ambassador training are expected to embody the principles of FIR: working collaboratively, whilst stepping in to take action, challenge behaviours and positively impacting workplace culture.

Ian Heptonstall, Director at the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said:

“We are thrilled to be supporting Fortel in rolling out their sticker scheme that identifies trained FIR Ambassadors on sites across the UK. This is a great initiative that encourages open conversations and will help nurture a more inclusive and respectful workplace culture. Thanks for being so pro-active and for joining us on our mission to make workplaces better for everyone.”

Fortel Group will continue to work with its partners to create stickers in line with any relevant training staff complete and will seek out training opportunities and new partners for the scheme as it grows.

Supply Chain Sustainability School continues to positively impact a sustainable UK built environment, report finds


● COVID-19 forced the Supply Chain Sustainability School to move all learning online, resulting in a year-on-year increase of 269% of members partaking in free training sessions; +101% utlising learning resources and +84% downloading e-learning.

● The School helped 76% of members gain a better understanding of their organisations’ sustainability impacts: two thirds confirmed they had reduced their carbon emissions, over half reduced their waste, 44% improved air quality and 37% reduced their water consumption

● Members are changing their business processes to embed sustainability thinking: over two thirds reported the School enabled this change

● Three quarters of members admitted the School helped them gain a clearer understanding of their own business sustainability objectives, as well as client’s sustainability objectives

● Findings also show the School helped companies be more collaborative, with 58% confirming they developed a better relationship with their supplier

Read the full press release here.

The full Impact Report can be found here.

Laing O’Rourke’s Head of Procurement for Europe, Carol Williams, has been appointed to the Board of the industry leading Supply Chain Sustainability School.
The appointment was announced during the School’s AGM held on Thursday 25 March.

Carol said: “I’m honoured to join the Board of the Supply Chain Sustainability School and look forward to playing my part in establishing it as a centre of excellence for developing supply chains who can deliver a sustainable built environment.

“While I joined Laing O’Rourke last year, the company has partnered with the School since 2014 during which time we have internally increased awareness of sustainability issues, upskilled our supply chain and played an instrumental role in the development of the offsite leadership group.

“I look forward to continuing that support and am passionate about driving for progress towards a more sustainable 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. When required, the Board will consult expert advisers on matters such as training, media and communications and legal services.

Shaun McCarthy OBE commented: “I am delighted to welcome Carol to the Board. Procurement expertise is critical to the Supply Chain Sustainability School and Carol’s deep experience from a variety of sectors will help to bring a fresh perspective to our work. This coupled with her undoubted passion for sustainability makes me feel confident that she will make a great contribution to our world class collaboration.”

Carol outlined her hopes for the coming year, saying: “We will continue to collaborate with client partners within the School to understand key sustainability priorities, adopt the use of the carbon measurement tool, and e-learning modules, whilst also working in partnership to create new modules.”

There are currently 190 Laing O’Rourke employees who are active members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Last week, Raconteur published its 2021 report on Procurement & Supply Chain Innovation where Carol joined fellow procurement professionals to discuss strategic 2 supplier partnerships and other ways of making supply chains more sustainable. Read what the roundtable participants had to say.


The Supply Chain School working with Build Offsite has today launched the Smart Construction Network, building on a Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Innovation in Buildings Workstream review. The review identified a need for “Centres of Excellence” to support the uptake of Smart Construction techniques, materials, and processes amongst construction suppliers, sub-contractors, and contractors.

By providing a free and easy to use tool that locates these centres, the Network aims to encourage the uptake of Smart Construction across the sector, connecting businesses to a national network of leading research and development organisations.  These Centres of Excellence are universities and innovation organisations, which will allow the sharing of skills and knowledge to enable best practice, inspire collaboration and showcase new opportunities.

There are over 20 organisations in the Network with the Manufacturing Technology Centre, National Composites Centre, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and the Universities of Cambridge, Reading, Salford, and Huddersfield all speaking at the conference.

Keith Waller, Programme Director, Construction Innovation Hub who provided the keynote address said:

“Collaboration between the universities and research centres that are leading innovation in our sector is essential to help construction businesses accelerate and focus their investment on R&D. The Smart Construction Network provides a simple, quick and easily accessible way for businesses to find those centres with the right knowledge local to them.”

Smart Construction Network helps address the government’s goal to “build back better”, which will require improved skills, processes, techniques, and materials to achieve higher performing buildings and infrastructure. The Network will foster collaboration and ultimately accelerate innovation in the industry.

Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain School commented,

“Build back better is a great phrase, but to do this, we as an industry need to do things differently. That means we need to innovate and invest in research and development. The Smart Construction Network will allow businesses large and small to engage with the organisations leading the thinking in innovative construction techniques, materials, and processes. Through this knowledge and collaboration, we hope to see an acceleration in innovation.”

The UK construction industry is second bottom in the league of R&D investment, while construction productivity has flat lined over the last 30 years, compared to the near doubling of productivity in manufacturing, according to leading consultants, McKinsey.

Shelagh Grant, Chief Executive of the Housing Forum, who chairs the Smart Construction Network, said that although many businesses are keen to become smarter in construction, they are lacking a tool that will help them make the first steps.

She said “We know there are many construction businesses out there that would like to make the journey towards smarter construction but are perhaps uncertain about how and where to begin that journey.

Across the Smart Construction Network, our members offer an extensive range of world-leading expertise. In collaborating to create this free digital resource, we want to help accelerate the pace of transformation in our sector by making it easier for businesses of all sizes to identify and access the type of expertise and support that is right for them.”

The Supply Chain School, who is a member of the Network, provides training free training to industry to enable businesses to build more efficiently buildings and infrastructure that performs better and help us tackle the key sustainability challenges our industry faces.

You can find the tool here.

French Chamber of Commerce in Britain recognises cloud-based Sustainability Management Tool for potential to manage social and environmental business impacts


The Sustainability Tool, a recently launched cloud-based sustainability performance measurement tool, was awarded the Innovation prize by the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain (FCCGB).

Developed by leading consultancy Action Sustainability, the Tool allows organisations to collect, report, analyse and reduce the social, economic and environmental impacts of their supply chain and key departments.

Pascal Boris CBE, Honorary President of the FCCGB and Chair of the Franco-British Business Awards (FBBA) said,

“The jury is delighted to award the Innovation award to Action Sustainability to shine a light upon its innovative sustainability performance reporting tool. The jury was impressed by the tool which can support many businesses as they improve the sustainability of their supply chain.”

In the announcement of winning, the FBBA praised the tool for changing the sustainability conversation in business through increased data transparency, accountability and stakeholder engagement.

The award includes a year’s membership with the Chamber, helping the company’s expansion into France.  Charles Naud, Lead Consultant for the Sustainability Tool at Action Sustainability commented,

“Winning this award brings great pride to our team. So many businesses are promising to reduce their impacts on the environment and society, but we need a way to hold them and their supply chains to account, so they deliver on these promises.

Thanks to the Chamber for recognising the Sustainability Tool will do just that. We now look forward to our year’s free membership of the Chamber, it’s a great opportunity to gain further visibility and to continue to drive positive environmental and social change.”

The Tool has recently been launched and is now in use by organisations such as Bouygues Energies & Services, EMCOR UK, Kier, Eiffage, Balfour Beatty, Vinci. It aims to bring clarity to the vast amount of sustainability data that is available on projects and in supply chains. By collecting it in one place and crunching the data, the tool allows manages to focus on where the problems are to drive real change.

Dave Farebrother, Sustainability Manager at Bouygues Energies & Services, one of the first adopters of the Sustainability Tool commented,

“The Sustainability Tool enables us to really compare and understand where performance is great, where it is excellent and where it is perhaps not as good as it should be. Data collection is facilitated across our supply chain and projects, and simple dashboards show our progress against our sustainability objectives, glowing red, amber or green depending on our performance. This transparency is essential to making informed decisions.”