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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).

In an exciting development for the built environment sector, the Supply Chain Sustainability School is proud to announce its Industry Collaboration with the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) through the FIR Programme. This collaboration represents a crucial step forward in fostering equity, inclusion, sustainability, and positive workplace practices within the industry. 

  • As part of this collaboration, members of RSMA now have access to a wealth of FIR Programme resources. From webinars to CPD-accredited e-learning modules, Toolbox talks, case studies, and research reports, we are providing everything needed to embed FIR into businesses and reap the associated benefits.  
  • Additionally, members can enhance their expertise with virtual training sessions, including workshops, webinars, and conferences, ensuring they remain at the forefront of our rapidly evolving industry. 
  • Members will also be able to access the FIR Growth Assessment to measure business maturity in critical areas of FIR: commitment, employment, working practices, site environment and supply chain. Completion of the FIR Growth Assessment provides businesses with a 10-point action plan to benchmark and start or continue them on their FIR journey. 
  • Another, exciting aspect of this collaboration is the opportunity for members to join the FIR Ambassador Network—a community of over 950+ FIR Ambassadors committed to helping us drive positive change across the sector. Along with recognising positive action in FIR, Ambassadors have access to a support network and advancement pathways and can earn bronze, silver, and gold badges, recognising their dedication and continuous growth. 
  • Finally, RSMA members will be invited to participate in the annual Diversity Survey, the largest data-capture exercise across the built environment sector, based on industry-agreed diversity metrics. The Survey reports publicly on the sector and industry findings, and businesses participating in the survey receive a tailored report benchmarking their diversity data against the sector, industry and ONS data sets. 

Cathryn Greville, Head of Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) at the Supply Chain Sustainability School explained “We are excited to work with RSMA and the road safety markings sector to collaboratively move towards a future where sustainability and inclusion are integral to the fabric of our industry. This is a sector full of opportunity, that should be drawing from the broadest pool of talent. Together, we have the power to drive positive change, creating workplaces that are welcoming, inspire people and enable everyone can succeed, and driving a brighter, more equitable future.” 

The FIR Programme, available to all RSMA members, serves as a powerful tool for positive change. It equips individuals and organisations with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate workplace challenges in an evolving industry while delivering fairness, inclusion, and respect in every aspect of their work. 

This partnership is a great example of the industry collaboration which the Supply Chain Sustainability School is built on. 

If you are interested in learning more about the FIR Programme and an Industry Collaboration between the Supply Chain Sustainability School and your own organisation, please reach out to Cathryn Greville at [email protected] to learn more.  

Find out more about the impact of FIR through the FIR Culture Impact Report 2023 and follow FIR on LinkedIn or X (Twitter).

As we reflect another successful year, we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners and all our attendees for their active participation and meaningful contributions during the annual Diversity Data Benchmarking Conference for the Built Environment Sector, held in December 2023 in Birmingham. Hosted by the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Programme, the conference showcased the sector’s largest Diversity Survey, aligning with industry-approved and CLC-endorsed diversity metrics.

In its third year, the 2023 Diversity Survey, which garnered insights from over half a million employees across 537 companies, provided valuable data on diversity and equity across protected characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, disability, age along with other diversity and equity metrics. The conference itself offered an unparalleled opportunity for engaging discussions, gaining and sharing practical tools, and exploring ideas on enhancing diversity within workforces and supply chains, thereby contributing to the overall capability, sustainability, and organisational performance for the whole industry.

We had the chance to hear from sustainability and supply chain specialists, as well as industry leaders, on crucial topics such as attraction and recruitment, retention, ethnic diversity improvement, site-based operations, and supporting SMEs in fostering fairness, inclusion and respect.

The keynote address by Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, FREng, FIChemE, FCGI, Non-executive Director of HS2, Chair of Enginuity and Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety further emphasised the significance of diversity in the built environment, offering personal insights and examples that underscored the importance of creating inclusive environments that cater to all individuals utilising it. Dame Judith emphasised the vital role of diversity and inclusion in attracting talent and improving sector outcomes. We extend our gratitude to Dame Judith for her impactful message on the significance of FIR in shaping a better-built environment and understanding community needs.

By bringing together industry experts and supply chain partners, the conference served as a catalyst for meaningful transformation, fostering collaboration to build a more inclusive and equitable future. As the annual Diversity Survey continues to grow, our partners play a pivotal role in expanding the dataset, drawing insights from various market segments, roles, and specialties within the sector. This collective effort allows for further analysis, measurement of progress, and identification of areas for targeted initiatives.

The discussions during our Q&A sessions and roundtables were remarkably insightful. The diverse views and experiences shared by participants made the conversations rich with ideas, best practices, and innovative solutions. These interactions not only made the event better but also gave us valuable insights for the FIR Programme moving forward. We look forward to building on these conversations as we continue to grow and expand the impact of FIR across the sector.

The Diversity Survey is open to, and we encourage, participation by all organisations working in the sector – the broader the reach, the more accurate picture can be obtained. Funded by partners of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, participating in the survey is free for all organisations operating in the built environment sector (from the smallest micro/sole trader businesses to the largest companies). Those that participate in the Diversity Survey receive a tailored report benchmarking their organisation’s diversity data against the sector, industry and ONS data sets.

The Diversity Survey is supported by industry partners including the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) which has set the target of achieving one million workers represented in the survey data by 2025.

Organisations may also choose to purchase the full Diversity Tool to capture diversity data right down into their whole supply chain. The Diversity Tool provides access to detailed reporting and interactive dashboards where organisations can interrogate the data, with analysis remaining confidential to them. 

On the 12th of December 2023 the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect programme held the 2023 Diversity Data Benchmarking Conference where we explored and looked at the data from our annual Diversity Survey, already the largest built environment sector data capture exercise and continuing to grow. The 2023 Survey represents data on over 526,000 employees from 537 companies – 382 of which are SMEs with the remainder comprising large organisations operating in the built environment sector.

One of the highlights of the Conference was the insightful keynote delivered by Dame Judith Hackitt, where she addressed the importance of diversity in the built environment. Dame Judith highlighted her personal connection to diversity and inclusion, emphasising the need to break down barriers for individuals pursuing their chosen paths, as well as the need for our built environment to cater to all people who use it.

Dame Judith’s full keynote address is published below.

Thank you and good morning, it’s a real pleasure to be here, standing here, looking out on this very Diverse audience. Believe me if you go back over my career the number of times I’ve stood on platforms and talked to all-white males has been more often than I care to think about.

I have been asked me to talk about why diversity is important in the construction and infrastructure sector. Diversity is actually important in every sector. There should be no barriers to anyone working anywhere. We should all be free to choose our chosen path and be given the opportunity to demonstrate our full potential.

Diversity & Inclusion is very close my heart – it is personal. I decided I wanted to be an engineer back in the 1970s. I cannot tell you how many people tried to persuade me other-wise and told me I couldn’t do it. I fought to prove them wrong, but I shouldn’t have had to do that, and I often wonder how many other girls back then were talked out of what they really wanted to do. I suspect too that many boys were also talked out of roles they wanted to do if they didn’t fit the stereotype.

I am proud to be the diversity champion on the HS2 board and I am proud of what we have achieved and what we lead on. Our most recent stats show that across the organisation we have 39% females and 29% ethnic minorities. Because we also set expectations for our supply chain we’re seeing a change there too – 30% women and 20% ethnic minorities.

All significantly above industry average for construction and infrastructure.

None of this happens by accident. It comes from working hard to attract and encourage people to join us. By offering work experience to young people to join us which changes their perception of the industry; by offering a job brokerage service; by offering job starts to those who are out of work and long term unemployed; and by having an apprenticeship programme which targets under-represented groups and those who are disadvantaged in the labour market.

Our equality, diversity and inclusion expectations for our supply chain providers are part of our contractual requirements, not just a nice thing to do. Many of our supply chain are now externally accredited in diversity and inclusion which is great.

At HS2 we continue to live out our values by leading EDI. We are driving the industry culture change and we have recently had our clear assured platinum status re-confirmed.

Some of you may have read a recent interview I did for Rail Industry magazine where I explained not only what we were doing in HS2 but why we were doing it.

First and foremost, we have a shortage of skilled and talented people. We need to attract more people into the infrastructure sector – we cannot afford to exclude large swathes of talent out there who assume that this sector is not for them, or worse still, that we wouldn’t what them. It’s just common sense for us all to work together to increase the size of the pool of talent we are all fishing in.

But it’s also important because of what we do. The infrastructure we create has a purpose and that is to improve the lives and experience of everyone in the communities we serve. To do that, our workforce needs to reflect the diversity of those communities – mothers travelling with children, the elderly, those who are visually impaired or hard of hearing, those who feel vulnerable or different, they all use the infrastructure we create. If we have a workforce that truly understands how they feel and what their needs are then we will deliver better outcomes.

At this point I just want to take a few minutes to reflect on another real-life aspect of what I encountered when I conducted my building safety review that you will have seen and that I am sure many of you will have heard about after Grenfell tower disaster. I was shocked by the lack of connection between those who were responsible for the building construction and the occupations – with the purpose of what they were delivering – the need for them to deliver safe homes for people to live in. I also encountered bias/prejudice with respect to the different communities – dependent upon whether buildings were for private sale or rent and whether or not the buildings were intended for social housing for disadvantaged individuals and families. Assumptions about the worth of the people for whom we provide solutions have no place in our industry.

Fairness, inclusion and respect is not just about those we employ but also those we serve. The more we embrace Diversity and inclusion internally the better we will do in our business outcomes and our reputation. However, there is still a long way to go.

There is a lot of good practice to share among ourselves but there is also a wealth of good practice in other industry sectors which we need to explore and learn from. We will see some of that comparative data during the course of today and we all need to commit to go looking for, and seeking to transfer, that learning into this sector. All too often, we have a tendency to put the blinkers on and rationalise why we’re different or ‘special.’ That creates barriers in our minds as to why what they did won’t work for us. It will, it is applicable if we’re smart and open to change.

I am really looking forward to today as I am sure you are. We have already seen some fascinating data which of course need further exploration. But today isn’t just about us all seeing that data and reflecting on where our organisations fit in that. The real purpose of today if it is to be useful for all of us is for us all commit to leave this event today committed to do even more in EDI in construction and infrastructure. I know that’s what I intend to do.

Thank you.

We would like to extend a big thank you to Dame Judith Hackitt for attending the conference and for her strong message about the relevance of diversity in both driving better sector outcomes and understanding the needs of the community who use the built environment .

Please click on the links if you would like to learn more about our Diversity Survey and the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Programme.

This article was co-created by Cathryn Greville, Head of Fairness, Inclusion & Respect, and Saira Khan, Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Conference & Outreach Officer.

On 18 October 2023, the Supply Chain Sustainability School recently held it’s Black and Ethnic Minority Experiences in the Built Environment Sector Conference. Part of the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Programme offering, the virtual conference delved into the statistical difficulties that persist for individuals from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds when seeking employment and striving for career advancement within the built environment.

These challenges were illuminated through recent diversity research such as our Diversity Data Survey and FIR Culture Impact Survey. In bringing together the insights and experiences of industry leaders, professionals and thought leaders, we examined the collective responsibility to delve deeper, examine and understand the data, and most importantly, take action.

This article discusses the key insights and findings from the conference.

Importance of Data:

Both internal organisational data, and the data of those that organisations engage in their supply chain, is of critical importance in measuring, tracking and understanding the make-up of the workforce and stakeholders. Not only should we be striving for inclusion within our own businesses, but we should also be looking beyond that to everyone we engage with, and how we use our purchasing power. After all, the impact of a business extends far beyond its own walls, so to speak.

We used the opportunity to examine research both within the built environment sector, and beyond it, to make informed comparisons and shed further light on the issues requiring attention.

Set out below is a snapshot of key findings arising from that research.

Diversity Data Survey 2022

Findings relating to ethnicity from the 2022 Diversity Data Survey.  

The Diversity Survey is the largest data capture exercise across the UK built environment sector. Unique in its ability to capture and analyse data from both organisations and their supply chains, the survey provides important insights into the state of the sector.

The 2022 Diversity Data Survey Results capture over 370,000 employees from over 270 companies, providing a substantial sample for analysis and benchmarking.

The 2022 results provide insights into the challenges faced by candidates and workers from ethnic minority backgrounds.

  • Representation: Workers of ethnic minority backgrounds constitute 17.5% of the workforce, 1% less than the UK population which sits at 18.5% (ONS 2021 Census).
  • Entry Challenges:Attraction and recruitment is a significant focus area. Among the 367,000 applicants represented in the data, close to 40% (39.3%) came from ethnic minority backgrounds. However, ethnic minority candidates face greater challenges in securing jobs in the sector. Across every ethnic minority group, it is harder to get a job than a white candidate. On average, it takes 50 ethnic minority candidates need to achieve an ethnic minority hire, whilst white candidates are hired at a rate of 16 candidates to 1 successful hire. However, this is an average across all ethnic minority groups, the actual success rate ranges from 21 candidates to 1 hire, to 78 candidatesto 1 hire. Ultimately, it is between 3 to 5 times harder for ethnic minority candidates to get a job.
  • Pay Gap: For those who do achieve a role in the sector stand to face an ethnic pay gap of 8.3% – that is, staff from ethnic minority backgrounds earn on average 8.3% less than their white counterparts. This gap extends to bonus pay, where workers from ethnic minority backgrounds receive 25.3% lower bonuses compared to white workers. However, the sector needs to significantly improve its capture and reporting on ethnicity – only 4% of organizations currently do so, with 28% intending to do so in the future, that leave the large majority (68%) who neither capture this data or intend to do so.
  • Monitoring: A significant improvement is also required with respect to monitoring diversity. We found that only 57% of organizations actively monitor diversity internally, with even fewer tracking diversity within their supply chains. Without access to diversity data and the analysis that can be drawn from it, it is difficult for organisations to identify issues and address disparities. It is also impossible to track the impact of diversity initiatives.
  • Leavers (Attrition): Our survey captured almost 20,000 people leaving their jobs. Approximately 17.7% of voluntary leavers came from ethnic minority backgrounds, roughly in alignment with 17.5% representation of the total workforce. However, there is limited data available on the ethnicity of leavers. We do know that the majority of leavers are Indian (21%), African (13.5%) and to similar extents Other Asian and Pakistani (approximately 9% each). A higher proportion come from other diversity categories, in particular women, LGBTIQ+ and other religions. Alarmingly, 21.3% of those leaving the sector from ethnic minority backgrounds leave before the age of 34.

2023 FIR Culture Impact Survey.

Overview of findings relating to ethnicity from our 2023 FIR Culture Impact Survey.

The 2023 FIR Culture Impact Survey focuses on the impact of initiatives and activities related to the FIR Programme in the built environment sector. Key findings include:

  • Impact of ethnic background: Interestingly, the survey reveals that ethnic background is the factor most likely to influence an individual’s experience in the industry.
  • Positive trends: Advancement is being made, with 25% of participants having fully embedded diversity monitoring into their companies, and 55% making progress towards this goal.
  • Less disparity between ethnic groups: In a number of areas, there is little difference among White, Black, and Asian respondents. For example, we see a high level of agreement on behaviour-based areas such as feeling treated fairly at work, feeling comfortable to be onself and being comfortable with how people speak and behave at work. In terms of social involvement at work, there is only 2% separating the experiences fo White, Black and Asian respondents.
  • Improvement in Experiences: We found substantial improvement in terms of increased likelihood of Black respondents recommending the workplace to friends or family – up 30% to 78% of respondents likely to make this recommendation (from 48% in 2022). The experience of Asian workers over the same period remained steady (72%).
  • Integration of FIR: Encouragingly, we are also seeing progression in how organisations are integrating FIR into their practices, with more integration in people management, recruitment processes, and procurement.


Key Takeaways:

  • We need further progress to achieve proportionate representation, but representation is only a start.
  • A focus on the quality of jobs is needed – the significant pay gap indicates Black and ethnic minority workers are earning less overall and occupying fewer senior positions.
  • Black and ethnic minority candidates are certainly attracted to the sector – the issue is the impediments they face securing jobs.
  • Organisations need to review business and team practices and upskill everyone involved in recruitment process to truly embed inclusive hiring practices.
  • Culture is critical – we need to ensure we retain Black and ethnic minority talent and see them grow and advance in their careers (particularly the younger generation). This requires a positive work environment, psychological safety and due recognition.
  • Monitoring diversity is an essential step to creating a more equitable and inclusive work environment.


Examination of UK Employment Data

Overview of facts and figures from UK-wide research into ethnicity and employment.

We also examined research regarding ethnic employment disparities in the wider UK landscape.

Comparing internal and external data is essential for our diversity and inclusion efforts in the Built Environment sector. While our internal data helps us understand our own practices, external data provides a broader view. It lets us see how we’re doing compared to others in the industry, confirms if our efforts are effective, and highlights important issues we may miss otherwise. This comparison not only helps us make progress and inspire industry-wide change but also reminds us that diversity and inclusion are responsibilities shared by the entire sector, not just individual organisations. During our conference we did look at both types of data focusing on ethnic employment disparities in the wider UK landscape to compare with our data on the built environment, below is what we examined:

Ethnicity Pay Gap:

  • The UK’s ethnicity pay gap is a significant issue, with disparities existing across most ethnic groups.
  • A 2020 report by Tom Evans from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysing the Annual Population Survey (APS) and the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) shows that, while some improvements have occurred, the ethnicity pay gap persists.
  • Notably, these disparities vary by age and location. The gap is more prominent for those aged 30 and over compared to those aged 16 to 29, and it varies by region, with the highest gap in London (23.8%) and the lowest in Wales (1.4%).
  • Evans’s 2019 report emphasises that factors like location, age, and ethnicity often intersect, leading to complex wage disparities that are interconnected and contribute to employment disparities among ethnic groups.

Pay gaps, including the ethnicity pay gap, have profound implications for individuals’ financial security, well-being, and quality of life.

Workplace Discrimination and Bias:

  • Regarding workplace discrimination and bias, they are significant factors contributing to ethnicity pay gaps and discrimination for ethnic minorities.
  • A study titled “Ethnic Penalties and Hiring Discrimination: Comparing Results from Observational Studies with Field Experiments in the UK,” conducted by researchers including Dr. Wouter Zwysen, Dr. Valentina Di Stasio, and Professor Anthony Heath, reveals troubling findings. Ethnic minorities in the UK face higher unemployment rates due to employer bias, known as ‘Ethnic Penalties.’
  • The study concludes that employers are more likely to reject job applications from individuals with names suggesting non-white ethnicity. Field experiments showed that candidates with ethnic-sounding names were less than half as likely to be invited for job interviews.
  • It’s important to note that ethnic discrimination levels vary among different minority groups. A 2022 report from the Office for National Statistics showed that Chinese and Indian minorities tend to face fewer barriers, possibly due to stronger social networks.
  • However, hiring discrimination is pervasive across all ethnic minority groups, affecting not only job opportunities but also career advancement and job satisfaction.
  • These implications contribute to the ethnicity pay gap and hinder career progression and job satisfaction.

These findings underscore the urgent need to address workplace discrimination and bias, which has far-reaching consequences affecting individuals in various ways.

Key Findings:

  • Our exploration of ethnic employment disparities across the UK, covering all sectors, reveals a multifaceted challenge extending beyond statistics.
  • The ethnicity pay gap is a nationwide issue, with consideration needed for how different characteristics intersect.
  • Discrimination and bias contribute to reduced opportunities for ethnic minorities across all sectors in the UK.
  • While UK-wide data suggests better outcomes for Chinese and Indian minorities, the Diversity Data findings for the Built Environment sector tell a different story. Indian candidates face challenges in construction, requiring 74.1 applications to secure one successful hire. This highlights the need for specific and in-depth research to understand sector-specific bias better.

Our recent conference highlighted the crucial need to blend internal and external data for advancing diversity and inclusion in the Built Environment sector. The 2022 Diversity Data Benchmarking Report revealed the industry’s diversity challenges, emphasising recruitment difficulties, pay gaps, and inadequate monitoring. The 2023 FIR Culture Survey showed positive trends and diversity programme integration. Additionally, external data exposed the persistent ethnicity pay gap in the UK, influenced by age, location, and ethnicity. Discrimination and bias in the workplace contributed significantly to these disparities, necessitating urgent attention. In summary, our conference has shed light on the challenges and opportunities in achieving diversity and inclusion in the Built Environment sector. It’s clear that there’s work to be done, but with continued efforts, we can create a more inclusive industry for all.



Diversity Data Benchmarking Report 2022 

Diversity Survey – further details on how to participate.

FIR Culture Survey 2023

FIR Toolkit

FIR Growth Assessment

FIR Ambassador Network

Ethnicity facts and figures – Employment

Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report

England and Wales’ Census 2021 – Ethnic group differences in health, employment, education and housing

Ethnic minorities more likely to be unemployed because employers reject applications from ‘non-white’ names

Ethnic, Religious and Gender Differences in Intragenerational Economic Mobility in England and Wales

Are employment opportunities for ethnic minorities in the UK really improving? Fact checking the Sewell Report

Keynote speech by Mark Reynolds delivered at the Inspiring Change Conference on 27 June 2023. 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today – on a subject that is close to my heart.  

We’re all here today because we recognise that our industry needs to change.  

And we know we can’t take the easy route and say “the demographics are difficult in construction – it’s hard for people to invest in change”. 

We’re here because we take collective ownership of the problem, but’s leadership and accountability that will make a difference. 

Failing to address this and embed the right culture will mean we all lose.  

We all lose when brilliant and talent people can’t find a home in our industry and take their talents elsewhere. 

We all lose when people who have worked in construction for years, find that their employer can’t offer them the flexibility or understanding they need to take the career forward.  

We all lose when actions exclude talent and poor behaviours mean that people’s personal and career ambitions are restricted, and they are not able to flourish.  

We all lose when we dismiss diversity of thinking, different cultures and fresh ideas. 

We all lose when young people look at construction, and assume it isn’t a place for them.  

And those losses cost us dearly.  

We’ve certainly made progress, particularly in the past few years, but we are not yet at a tipping point.  

For seismic change to happen we must make it every person’s responsibility who works in construction to help address culture of fairness, inclusion and respect. 

Sometimes there is a perception that this is a problem primarily to be solved on site.  

But it’s everywhere – from the board room to the site cabin, from the office to the canteen, from clients to the person who sparkle cleans the fantastic facilities we build. 

People are surrounded every day by behaviours and culture that excludes them – intentionally or unintentionally.  

At Mace, we have some fantastic volunteer network groups.  

Over the past five years, they’ve transformed our organisation, from one that was behind the curve on inclusion, diversity and equality.  

To one that I believe is transforming us to become a place where everyone can be themselves at work.  

They’ve also made a tremendous impact on me personally – helping me to reflect on my own behaviour, how I communicate and importantly how I evolve.  

As a leader, I know it’s my responsibility to learn and to understand the challenges faced by the people who work at Mace and the wider industry. 

But I still get it wrong.  

Recently, I joined a panel event for Mace’s International Women’s Day celebrations.  

And, I’ll be honest, I slipped up.  

I encouraged women to push back on colleagues and leaders that didn’t meet the right expectations. 

But in doing so, I now realise I put the responsibility on them to fix problems not of their making.  

I spoke about working mothers being ‘superwomen’.  

But I did so without reflecting on the fact that it’s a characterisation that can make people feel like it’s their responsibility to fix everything. 

I failed, in the moment to recognise it’s not a level playing field and it’s my role, and my company’s responsibility to provide them with the flexibility to not have to feel like a super-hero every day of the week.   

Although I was acting with the best of intent, in both cases, I realise now that I didn’t understand enough about other people’s experiences.  

And it took a conversation with Charlotte Leigh, the chair of our fantastic Women at Mace network group, to help me understand what I had got wrong.  

So what did I learn?  

I learnt that as a leader, we have to keep searching for the perspectives of our people and avoid assuming we understand the challenges that others face.  

I learnt that fixing the culture isn’t something you ‘do’ once, or it’s special project, or done in a workshop – it’s something that takes constant review, checking and maintenance.  

And I learnt that even with the best will in the world, people get things wrong, and that’s a greater opportunity for change.  

So what are the solutions? 

We all know there is no one size fits all answer.  

Every organisation is different, every culture is different.  

As leaders, though, everyone needs to be prepared to be humble and listen to others first.  

And be prepared to do the hard yards to drive genuine cultural change. 

As the CLC, we’ve put together a plan under our wider strategy that aims to make our industry more inclusive, diverse and fair.  

It’s hard to build a solution that fits every organisation and context in our industry, but there are five elements that I believe are applicable everywhere.  

We need to support people to get trained on these issues – so they can help themselves, rather than rely on marginalized groups to help them.  

We’re targeting the delivery of fairness, inclusion and respect training to 6,000 employers.  

We need to make our industry attractive to everyone, by promoting our industry as place where people can be themselves and have rewarding careers. 

We’re looking to delivery 28,000 taster sessions to school kids around the UK.  

We need to do the basics well, like providing appropriate welfare facilities that respect multi faith religions and PPE that fits.   

We need to offer greater flexibility in working pattens, the report published by Timewise outlined plans for flexible working in our sector. 

And – and some of you may have heard me say this before – we can’t fix what we don’t measure.  

We need to make sure we’re properly tracking diversity, inclusion and fairness outcomes across the sector.  

We’re pushing for more than a million responses to our industry EDI measurement survey by 2025.  

These are just the first steps – they’re far from enough – but they’ll make a real and tangible difference.  

Because our ambition must go beyond ‘good enough’. 

We can be true leaders.  

We can create an industry where inclusion, fairness and respect is a given – for those who work in it, and those who join us.  

We know that change isn’t going to be easy – and some people will feel uncomfortable as the world changes around them.  

We should be kind to those people – but our expectations should be as high for them as they are for everyone else.  

This conference and these awards do make a difference, not only to Inspire Change but to Lead Change. I’m encouraged by the progress we have made.  

But our goal over the next 3-5 years, is to reach that tipping point, so that we win on every front, and we create a culture that enables everyone working in this fantastic industry to realise their personal and professional ambitions. 

Together we can do this, but we must be persistent, bold, and brave. 

Thank you.  


If you’re interested in inclusive leadership, please see our FIR Programme resources, including: 

  1. The Key to Inclusive Leadership (supplychainschool.co.uk) 
  2. 6 Examples Of Inclusive Leadership (supplychainschool.co.uk) 
  3. How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation (supplychainschool.co.uk) 
  4. The Leadership Shadow (supplychainschool.co.uk) 
  5. Inclusive Leadership & Business Impact (supplychainschool.co.uk) 

Find out more about participating in our annual Diversity Survey to understand your organisation’s your supply chain’s diversity performance and benchmark your performance against the sector.  

Here at the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) Programme we will be pausing to celebrate and prioritise the delicate equilibrium between our professional and personal lives. From 2nd to 6th October, it’s National Work Life Week, a week dedicated to recognising the importance of work-life balance, promoting wellbeing in the workplace, and championing family-friendly working practices. 

This year, as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of work, it’s important to remember flexibility is not a one-size-fits-all concept; rather, flexibility requires an inclusive approach that accommodates the unique needs of every individual, no matter their background or profession. 

Join us in exploring the importance of workplace flexibility, as we delve into the world of flexible working, the new Flexible Working Bill, and the positive changes that are reshaping the way we work and live. We will be sharing resources from the FIR Programme to help you on your journey to making flexible working work for you!  

National Work Life Week is not just a calendar event; it’s a call to action, an opportunity to reshape the future of work in a way that benefits us all.

Unlocking the Benefits of Flexible Working: A New Era of Employee Rights 

In an era where work-life balance has become increasingly vital, the importance of flexible working cannot be overstated. It’s not just a matter of convenience; it’s a fundamental shift towards accommodating the diverse needs of the modern workforce. And now, with the introduction of the new Flexible Working Bill, flexible working is not just an option; it’s the law.

The Evolution of Flexible Working 

Flexible working has evolved from being a ‘nice-to-have’ perk to a crucial aspect of modern employment. It recognises that employees have varying needs and responsibilities outside of the workplace, whether it’s caring for family members, pursuing further education, or simply maintaining a healthier work-life balance. 

The concept of flexible working has grown beyond the traditional nine-to-five office job. It encompasses remote work, compressed workweeks, job sharing, and flexible start and finish times. The pandemic further accelerated this shift, with many businesses embracing remote work arrangements to adapt to changing circumstances.

The Importance of Flexible Working 

Flexible working offers a multitude of benefits, both to employees and employers: 

  • Improved work-life balance:  
  • Flexible working empowers individuals to better manage their personal lives, reducing stress and burnout. Employees can allocate time for family, hobbies, and self-care, leading to increased job satisfaction and overall well-being. 
  • Enhanced productivity:  
  • Research consistently shows that employees who have control over their work schedules are more productive. They can choose when and where they work best, resulting in higher efficiency and output. Obviously we need competent managers and team members to realise the biggest productivity advantages through flexible working. 
  • Attracting and retaining talent:  
  • Offering flexible working options is a powerful recruitment tool. It helps companies attract top talent, especially those who prioritise work-life balance including carers and those returning to the workforce after illness or a career break. Additionally, it enhances employee retention by promoting job satisfaction. 
  • Reduced commute and carbon footprint:  
  • Remote work reduces the need for daily commutes, saving employees time and reducing traffic congestion. It also contributes to a decrease in carbon emissions, aligning with environmental sustainability goals. 
  • Adaptation to special circumstances:  
  • Flexible working allows employees to adapt to unique life situations, such as parental responsibilities, health concerns, or pursuing further education. This adaptability fosters a more inclusive workplace. 

The Flexible Working Bill: Empowering Parents and Carers 

The legislation will come into effect in 2024, marking a monumental shift in the landscape of employment rights. This change grants people the invaluable right to request flexible working from day one of a new job. Additionally, it elevates the right to request flexible working to twice per year. 

This forward-looking legislation is a substantial stride toward establishing flexible working as the default rather than the exception in the modern workplace. It opens doors for countless individuals, enabling them to experience the myriad advantages of flexible working arrangements. 

The key provisions of the Flexible Working Bill include: 

  • Consultation requirement: Employers must consult with employees before rejecting their flexible working requests, promoting transparency and fairness. 
  • Multiple requests: Workers can make two statutory requests for flexible working in any 12-month period, instead of the previous limit of one. 
  • Reduced waiting times: Employers are now required to make decisions on statutory requests within two months, down from the previous three months. 
  • Simplified process: The legislation eliminates the need for employees to explain the potential impact of their requested changes on the employer. This streamlines the process and removes potential barriers. 

These changes expand the scope of the entitlement, benefiting approximately 2.2 million more employees. It acknowledges that flexible working is not just a privilege for a select few but a right for all. 

A Call for Evidence: Non-Statutory Flexible Working 

In addition to the measures in the Flexible Working Bill, the government is launching a call for evidence on non-statutory flexible working. This initiative aims to enhance our understanding of informal flexible working arrangements and their role in meeting the diverse needs of both employers and employees. 

To wrap up, the introduction of the Flexible Working Bill is a landmark moment in the world of employment. It signals a shift towards a more inclusive and adaptable workforce, where individual needs and responsibilities are valued. Flexible working is no longer a perk but a fundamental right that empowers both employees and employers. 

As the workforce continues to evolve, embracing flexible working practices is not just about compliance with the law; it’s about embracing the future of work, where everyone can thrive, regardless of their unique circumstances. 

Flexible working isn’t limited to office-based environments either. These resources focus on flexible working on site as well: 


Check out the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Programme Resources to help you implement flexible working practices that work for everyone:  

Additional Resources:  


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

In the dynamic realm of the built environment sector, diversity has proven that it is not just a buzzword; it’s a strategic imperative. As the industry continues to evolve, embracing the core tenets of Fairness, Inclusion, and Respect (FIR) isn’t just about being socially responsible—it’s about setting your business up towards success.

Our latest video resources bring you invaluable insights from industry leaders, each shedding light on crucial aspects of fostering diversity and inclusivity within your company.


Engaging a Diverse Supply Chain

Have you ever wondered what it really means to embrace diversity throughout your supply chain? Curious about how it can benefit different aspects of your organisation?

Join Aaron Reid of Morgan Sindall, Osita Madu at HS2, and Chris Reid of EKFB as they reflect on the benefits of supplier and workforce diversity. Drawing from their extensive experience, these industry leaders take you through the process of building a diverse supply chain—an essential topic in today’s business world. Watch this introductory discussion to find out more.


Fairness, Inclusion and Respect: Benefits of a Diverse Workforce

Do you know how having a diverse workforce could benefit your organisation?

Get ready to hear from Osita Madu, the Senior EDI Manager at HS2, as they delve into the importance of having a diverse workforce. As the person responsible for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at one of the industry’s prominent organisations, Madu shares how a diverse workplace can truly transform your business.

Tune in to learn how you can make a difference by promoting inclusivity, supporting your team, and fostering positive change. Remember, a diverse team is more than just a group of individuals; it’s a driving force for innovation, growth, and resilience.


Fairness, Inclusion and Respect: Procuring for a Diverse Workforce

Are you familiar with the importance of choosing procurement strategies that put diversity first?

Diversity isn’t just an abstract concept — it’s a promise that reaches every part of your company. Aaron Reid, the Director of Sustainability at Morgan Sindall, emphasises why seeking a diverse workforce isn’t merely a choice anymore, it’s a matter of ethics. With a shortage of skills and a noticeable lack of representation, Reid’s insights carry a sense of urgency. Let his knowledgeable insights lead you through new territory, helping your business stay at the forefront of positive change.


The importance of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect

Are you curious to know how implementing FIR in your organisation can generate positive results?

Fairness, Inclusion, and Respect are more than just words at EKFB—they’re the foundations of a culture based on openness and inclusivity. In this video, you will explore how FIR seamlessly intertwines with EKFB’s core values, fostering an environment where diversity isn’t just embraced, but celebrated. From bustling sites to corporate corridors, EKFB’s commitment to an all-encompassing ethos serves as a stirring testament to what’s possible when diversity becomes the bedrock of culture.


Now it’s your turn

The journey towards a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable built environment begins with knowledge and action. These thought-provoking video resources stand as beacons, guiding your first steps towards a better future for your all.

Join these companies and become a catalyst of change. Take the first step — watch the videos and empower change today.


Written by Berta Santos, Project Coordinator for Fairness, Inclusion and Respect.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has partnered with National Highways to develop two brand new e-Learning Modules, to help drive forward the importance of inclusive attraction and selection practices in the industry.

Collaborating together on these two new e-Learning Modules, National Highways and the Supply Chain Sustainability School have developed these FIR resources to enable those hiring in the industry to have the best possible support when recruiting.

The Fairness, Inclusion and 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, guidance and materials, 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.

Malcolm Dare, Executive Director, Commercial & Procurement at National Highways, says: “From the data that we have collected, it’s clear that to attract more diverse people with a wider range of skills to join our sector, our approach to recruitment needs to change.

Expert advice and views from the sector have led us to funding the School to develop these two e-learning modules. These modules guide learners through inclusive attraction and recruitment processes that will encourage new entrants to the sector and provide great hints and tips on how to put it all into practice.”

Access the Inclusive Attraction module here.
Access the Inclusive Selection module here.

How is Wales trying to create a brighter future for generations to come?

Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations Act is the first piece of legislation in the world which aims to ensure the long-term social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of the country. It strives, through this sustainable development, to tackle the big issues both now and in the future, such as climate change, poverty, health and wellbeing, coronavirus, jobs and economic activity.

This forward-thinking policy will require bodies within the public sector to set objectives in maximising well-being across these areas, and to take action in meeting these objectives. A big part of this will involve fostering collaboration with the private sector and supply chains in order to put these well-being goals into practice.

Sectors within the built environment have an immense potential to make these objectives a reality in Wales. Infrastructure, transport and energy networks, to name a few, all have an enormous impact on not only the environment and climate, but also public health, well-being and the economy. By creating sustainable projects and driving innovation in these areas which keep the goal of a healthy society at the forefront, the needs of the future generations will be met.

Additionally, the construction sector will be a key focus of the Act. With overall carbon emissions from construction amounting to 40% in the UK, this sector will play a major role in helping deliver the environmental ambitions of the act. The construction sector has more to offer, however, than just ensuring environmental sustainability. Opportunities for these industries to deliver on social and economic aspects are plentiful, particularly regarding the well-being and equality within its workforce, and the development of high-quality jobs to rejuvenate communities and take people out of poverty.

We talked to Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner of Wales, about the Well-being of Future Generations Act and in particular, what the role of the construction sector will be in delivering the objectives of the legislation. Also hear from Gavin Hawkey, Foundation Director at CCFC Community Foundation, about how the football club has adopted the objectives of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and the benefits it has brought.

Make sure to check out the videos of the conversations below:

  1. The Well-being of Future Generations Act & Construction Sector Collaboration
  2. The Well-being of Future Generations Act: Challenges in the Construction Sector
  3. The Well-being of Future Generations Act & The Construction Supply Chain
  4. The Well-being of Future Generations Act & Construction Sector Collaboration
  5. Construction as a force for good in Wales
  6. The Well-being of Future Generations Act & Opportunities for Construction
  7. The Well-being of Future Generations Act; Cardiff City Football Club

For any queries please contact [email protected] 

Retrofit is a growing area of focus in our industry and an opportunity not to be missed. The scale of work required in the built environment across the UK is on a scale not seen since the end of the Second World War. The Supply Chain Sustainability School is now working on its contribution in retrofit and would like your involvement.



80% of all the buildings in use by 2050 have already been built. Research now suggests that 29 million homes need to be retrofitted to enable the UK to hit its 2050 carbon emission targets.

For this to happen, the retrofitting industry needs to grow by ten times its current size. Retrofit isn’t only required in domestic settings; commercial, public and historical buildings also need improving.

This means they need to be more efficient. They need to use less energy, lose less energy and enable the efficient dispersion and generation of energy.

Retrofitting existing buildings will allow individuals and businesses to save money and as heating costs rise, the demand for retrofit will only increase. It’s not just the economic savings, retrofit will let people across the UK live and work in warmer and healthier buildings. Looking at the bigger picture, it is a route for a more sustainable future for the built environment. It will help our industry, and the country as a whole, decarbonise.

This is not just something construction industry should do, but it will have to do. Increasing legislation around building efficiency, including the mandating of EPC C, means that buildings must change.

The opportunity for retrofit is here and increasing. You just need to decide how your organisation will be involved.


How can you get involved?

Retrofit Leadership Group for Partners

We have launched a Retrofit Leadership Group in the School to look at how we can collaborate and upskill supply chains on this. The School will be developing learning based on partner input. The group needs to involve representatives from across the sector.

The next meeting is in Nov 2nd, 10-12.

If you are not already involved in the group and would like to be, please contact [email protected].

Training Sessions

There are two upcoming training sessions planned, please join and share with your colleagues/supply chains:

  1. Retrofit: The Scale of Opportunity, Nov 24th, 10-12am
  2. Learnings from Retrofit Innovation: EnergieSprong UK – Lunch n Learn, Jan 26th, 1-2pm


If you have any case studies and work you’d like to share on retrofit, please contact [email protected].

The built environment is considered at high risk for modern slavery and wider exploitation due to the enormous demand for labour, a severe skills shortage, complex supply chains and the prevalence of indirect and self-employment.

Construction is one of the most at-risk sectors, with 18% of global forced labour victims working in the industry.

With an estimated 40.3 million victims worldwide, it’s important to look at the modern slavery risks within your own organisation and supply chain.

To support our industry in taking action against modern slavery, we are pleased to provide our Members with a Modern Slavery Training Pack. This training pack provides direct links to free resources and training sessions designed to help your organisation and supply chain gain a better understanding of modern slavery and how to tackle it.

This simple pack will guide you through relevant virtual training sessions, e-learning modules and learning resources. Download below or share with your colleagues and supply chain.

Download now >

Today, the Sustainability Tool, a software application designed to help organisations and their supply chains measure and monitor their sustainability performance, launched the 2022 employee diversity benchmarking survey.

The annual employee diversity benchmarking exercise is a collaborative effort to better understand and improve the diversity of the built environment industry. 


Between July and September 2022, organisations are invited to anonymously report their diversity data within the Tool, with categories including Gender, Age, Religion & Belief, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, Disability, Voluntary Leavers, Part-Time Status, and Attraction & Recruitment. Each category informs subsequent indicators that align with the ONS’ standard of diversity data collection. 


Suppliers with over 250 employees will be automatically directed to complete a more detailed submission. Those with less than 250 employees can complete a ‘Lite’ version – encouraging smaller SME and Tier 2 business engagement. 


Respondents will gain free access to in-depth and interactive dashboards that they can use to benchmark their diversity data against their sector, industry and the ONS data set.  


Client and contractor organisations can also use the exercise to collect and benchmark diversity data from their supply chains. Partner organisations already doing this include Cadent, the Environment Agency, Morgan Sindall, National Highways, Network Rail, Transport for London and VolkerWessels. 


While the exercise is live, the Supply Chain Sustainability School will be running free online webinars to support organisations with completing the survey. 


At the end of the exercise, the results will be used to set aspirational targets for recruitment, retention and progression of under-represented groups that reflect the demographic of the UK population.  


Last year’s survey collected data from over 250,000 employees across 88 supply chains, making it the largest-ever UK data survey on employee diversity. 


Ian Heptonstall, Director of Supply Chain Sustainability School (and owner of the Sustainability Tool), said: “Last year’s survey was the largest and most comprehensive to date with over 250,000 people included. It provided us with important insights into ‘what good looks like’ and where we can take action to make improvements. I’m delighted therefore that this year we’ll be expanding to other sectors and organisations, after all the more information we have, the better our decision-making can be!” 


Organisations wishing to participate in the 2022 employee diversity benchmarking exercise can do so for free by registering on the diversity tool website.

On Tuesday 21st June, the Supply Chain Sustainability School held its 10 Year Anniversary Summit in Coventry Building Society Arena. Attended by hundreds of sustainability experts from across the built environment industry, the Summit provided a chance to celebrate the past decade of collaboration as well as look forward to future challenges and opportunities.

Summit attendees watch the Supply Chain Sustainability School 10th Anniversary film

The Summit kicked off with the premiere of the School’s 10th Anniversary film, featuring interviews with School board members as well as thought leaders from the built environment industry. This was then followed by a welcome message from Shaun McCarthy OBE, the School Chair

Throughout the day, attendees heard from the School’s Board Members as well as various industry thought leaders. This included Ruth Todd CBE (HS2), Mark Farmer (Cast Consultancy), Liz Holford (Network Rail) and Jonathon Porritt (sustainability campaigner and writer).

Liz Holford (Network Rail) addresses the audience on delivering our social value challenge.

Subject matter experts from Action Sustainability held interactive breakout sessions focused on three core themes: net zero carbon, social value and future challenges. The slide decks for these sessions can be found below. Attendees also had plenty of opportunities to network and socialise throughout the day.

James Cadman (Action Sustainability) delivers a breakout session on designing and procuring for low carbon.

In the evening, the event concluded with an awards ceremony (sponsored by Bouygues Energies & Services) followed by a drinks and networking session. These awards recognised individuals and organisations that have been highly engaged with the School over the past decade. See below for the full list of winners:

  1. Members Award: Janice Johnson (Briggs Amasco)
  2. Members Award: Paul Aldridge (WJ Group)
  3. Members Award: Nigel Ostime (Hawkins Brown)
  4. Supply Chain Collaboration Award: National Highways Regional Delivery Partnership
  5. Outstanding Personal Contribution: Graham Edgell (Morgan Sindall)
  6. Outstanding Personal Contribution: Wendy Carwardine (Action Sustainability)

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

Anniversary Summit Feedback

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

Breakout Session Presentations

Click on the links below to view and save the presentation slide decks used during the different breakout room sessions from the Summit (view the programme to see which breakout rooms correspond with which breakout sessions):

In celebration of the School’s 10 Year Anniversary, throughout June, we will be publishing a series of Q&As conducted with Partners of the School. For this, we asked each Partner to reflect on the past decade of sustainability in the UK Built Environment industry.

For the fourth edition of our ‘Reflections From…’ series, we spoke with Stuart Key, Head of Procurement Support and Performance for EQUANS UK & Ireland.

How would you describe the sustainability state of the built environment industry before the School was launched in 2012?

“Before the School was launched in 2012, there was a need to improve the level of understanding in the industry of what sustainability meant for the sector and how to translate it into action. Several competing narratives were used, and organisations were trying to move the agenda along on a smaller scale.

Training materials and resources for the industry were difficult to obtain, and there was no significant learning platform for suppliers where they could develop their knowledge and skills for free.”

What impact has the School had on the built environment industry during this last decade?

“During the last decade, the School has been instrumental in promoting a culture of collaboration in a highly competitive industry. It has sought to provide clarity and unite views on various responsible business/sustainability agenda topics.

The School’s free resources enable even the smallest companies to access and develop their knowledge on various topics from social value, health and wellbeing to climate change and carbon.”

How has the School enabled the industry to drive positive sustainable change?

“The School brings together companies to share resources, knowledge and expertise, creating a multiplier effect for what any company could achieve alone.

The nature of the School’s leadership means that the agenda keeps moving forward as new topics emerge, and the focus remains on developing practical tools and guidance to create positive change.”


Become a Partner.

Connect with Stuart Key on LinkedIn.

Learn more about EQUANS on their website.


21st June marks the 10th anniversary of Supply Chain Sustainability School, an industry-wide collaboration of major companies to enable a sustainable built environment through knowledge and collaboration.

The milestone marks a decade that has seen significant growth and acknowledges collaboration and innovation across the UK Built Environment Industry. The Supply Chain Sustainability School, which launched in June 2012 with only 7 founding Partners and 2000 members, today has near 180 Partners and engages with over 50,000 members from 17,000 businesses.

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. In addition, the recently published 2022 Impact Report reflects how the School continues to positively impact organisations and supply chains, with 73% of School members reporting that the School has helped them to better understand their organisation’s sustainability impacts.

Reflecting on 10 years of progress, Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of Supply Chain Sustainability School said, “I take great pride in what we have accomplished over the last decade, and I want to thank all those who have accompanied us on our journey thus far – our longstanding Members and Partners, and our dedicated and talented employees. As we celebrate this important milestone, I am even more certain that we will reach our vision of an industry where everyone will have the skills and knowledge to deliver a sustainable future.”

Join the celebration! Sign up to become a FREE member of the School here, and follow Supply Chain Sustainability School on social media.

A series of videos, including milestones and interviews with thought leaders amongst the built environment industry, will be released throughout 2022 to recognise achievements, and anticipate the exciting road ahead.


1. Welcome, Marwah! Tell us a bit about yourself?

I came to the UK in 2017 having applied for a Chevening Scholarship, which is the UK government’s international awards programme aimed at developing global leaders, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. I have a background in architecture and worked in Yemen for over 10 years and I am now working for Egis as an Urban Designer and EDI partner. I worked in heritage conservation and the concept of Contemporisation through studying the old city of Sana’a morphology and reflecting on projects in city restoration. This made me very passionate about urban design, so I studied a master’s in architecture in Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Nottingham and gained a Distinction for research on the urban design role in rebuilding urban identities post crises, through public places taking Mostar and Beirut as case studies.

2. We would love to dive into your story and understand your journey from an architect to an urban designer today?

In my last semester at university, I was left with no option but to stay in the UK due to the deteriorating circumstances in Yemen. My family had moved to Egypt, and it was extremely hard to secure a visa to join them. As a refugee professional, I faced a lot of challenges when job hunting mainly in the construction and architecture industry. To be honest, I thought it would have been relatively easy. I had the experience; I spoke multiple languages and had the relevant qualifications. However, it was a very long journey to finally secure my role today.

I was constantly faced with barriers that didn’t make much sense to me. I was hearing from employers that I didn’t have the experience in the UK, although I had 10+ years’ experience abroad, which was always disregarded. So, I decided to apply for entry level roles, but I was told I was overqualified. This is a dilemma that many overseas professionals face in the UK.

Although I couldn’t find a relevant position in our industry, I worked as an interpreter for Discovery Education then as an employer advisor for Renaisi, mainly to help other refugees with their journeys in the UK. Luckily, I participated in a virtual workshop through Transitions, and I came across a HR Director at Egis who addressed candidates on equal grounds, mentioning she was there to look for talent and wasn’t doing anyone any favours. I admired her dignified approach and for once I felt respected by an employer, so I asked a colleague at Renaisi to put me in the same breakout-room as her. I asked if I could send her my CV/portfolio and here I am today perusing my career and not just doing a job. It took me almost 2 years to finally make this happen, but it restored my faith in humanity.

3. How important do you think Fairness, Inclusion and Respect is to the built environment industry?

Fairness, Inclusion and Respect should always be at the forefront of everything we do, it’s just simple human necessities that we all need to be reminded of every now and again. It’s so important to realise that being a refugee is not an identity, it’s just an experience that people can go through temporarily and with the current world politics, a pandemic and climate change, people should be able to better relate to this. From my personal experience, I believe FIR needs to be adopted at every stage of recruitment and employers need to change the stigma around refuge and immigration. Ultimately, refugees will be the citizens of tomorrow and can contribute highly to society just like anyone else.

Minority groups overall need empowerment not sympathy. It should always be about looking at someone’s potential and approaching the issues they face with an open mind and pose opportunities to enable them to work if their field of choice, so we can all make the built environment a better workplace for all.

It’s everyone’s social responsibility to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. We can all do more, including myself which is why I’m taking the steps to learn more and become a FIR Ambassador through the FIR Programme. It’s only a small step that will help me raise awareness in this area. In this world, there are two types of people, people who go through adversity but when things get better, they might rightfully choose to forget the pain and move on. I choose to own my experiences so that I can hopefully stand up for those who don’t feel that they can.

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

Having gone through this journey myself, I want to say that refugees don’t expect to be prioritised, we’re here to compete but all we want is for the competition to be fair and respectful. I believe the mindset around minorities needs to change; we shouldn’t be looked at through labels. Let’s look at individuals for what they bring to the table, their qualifications, their experience, and skills. Everyone deserves that.

More importantly, the construction industry has a skills shortage and will need to recruit an additional 217,000 new workers just to meet demand. That’s the forecast of the Construction Skills Network (CSN) 2021-25, published by CITB. Companies need to spot the business opportunity of tapping into this pool of talent as they contribute to their corporate social responsibility.

It is essential to understand that profession and social environment plays a huge role in one’s identity and it’s what gives them character and sense of belonging. Thus, an inclusive workplace that values employees of all backgrounds and diverse characteristics and understands the significance of inclusiveness for the company’s growth and sustainability. It is up to us to see differences as the liability or the opportunity. In addition, companies that do not adopt diversity within their workforce will cease to exist in the future. This is the way forward.

A business where every employee feels welcomed, important and supported to thrive and reach their potential. And where employees are treated as assets, cherished and equally challenged is a company that creates a strong culture that cares about the people and the workplace. I am glad to be part of Egis, which is a genuine people’s company. One can only shine where they belong.

Finally, I would like to suggest, always asking people for their names before you assign any to them, see beyond the difference, actually see the glory in the difference. Ask them about their story and never have a single story or one perspective. Building a prosperous society is equally as important to building beautiful and great places.

Watch Marwah speaking at the Inspiring Change Conference 2021. Simply click the first video and fast forward to 1hr 50mins to listen to Marwah’s speaking slot.

In celebration of the School’s 10 Year Anniversary, throughout June, we will be publishing a series of Q&As conducted with Partners of the School. For this, we asked each Partner to reflect on the past decade of sustainability in the UK Built Environment industry.

For the third edition of our ‘Reflections From…’ series, we spoke with Raj Neelakantan, the Procurement Operations Manager for Cadent Gas Ltd.

How would you describe the sustainability state of the built environment industry before the School was launched in 2012?

“Sustainability was previously seen as a chore and tick-box exercise by many with varying degrees of understanding, action and take-up across the industry. There were numerous examples of people ‘talking the talk’ but having little to show by way of tangible progress.

There was also a skewed perspective towards environmental sustainability, with economic and social angles often overlooked. Sustainability was also seen as an unwelcome cost of time and resource but had to be done to win business.”

What impact has the School had on the built environment industry during this last decade?

“The School and its vast array of carefully curated subject matter have vastly improved the industry’s awareness of sustainability. Companies – large and small – have been given the opportunity to take various initiatives to a higher level and this leaves little room for any organisation to use lack of resources as an excuse for lagging. The Partner & Member format has gone a long way towards promoting awareness, participation and interest in the field.”

How has the School enabled the industry to drive positive sustainable change?

“The School has given depth and breadth to the many facets of sustainability and enabled a complex and rapidly changing situation, especially on the environmental front, to be managed effectively by the School’s Partners and Members. The Bronze– Silver – Gold membership progression combined with tailored development plans and analytics have enabled what was previously a woolly subject to be underpinned by effective metrics, actions and results. This puts organisations on the path of a holistic approach towards people, planet and profits.

There is also true collaboration on display with the many benefitting from synergetic improvements between the companies actively working with the School to develop content.”


Become a Partner.

Connect with Raj Neelakantan on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Cadent Gas on their website.


In celebration of the School’s 10 Year Anniversary, throughout June, we will be publishing a series of Q&As conducted with Partners of the School. For this, we asked each Partner to reflect on the past decade of sustainability in the UK Built Environment industry.

For the second edition of our ‘Reflections From…’ series, we spoke with Craig Murphy, the Supply Chain Director for John Sisk & Son Ltd.

How would you describe the sustainability state of the built environment industry before the School was launched in 2012?

“Whilst responsible developers, designers, contractors and manufacturers have for some time considered sustainability as critical to their business agendas, collective industry efforts and improvement initiatives were sporadic in frequency and, in my experience, more often than not focused at a project level. This meant genuine industry level traction was difficult to achieve, best practice difficult to capture and the pace at which we could drive change or upskill ourselves as a sector was far slower than we’d have liked..”

What impact has the School had on the built environment industry during this last decade?

“The establishment of the Supply Chain Sustainability School provided a vehicle within the industry for like-minded, responsible organisations to share best practice and collectively leverage resources and expertise to effectively address critical sustainability-led issues facing our industry.

Whether it’s dealing with the ongoing risks and challenges of modern slavery in our industry, the transition towards MMC /DfMA and offsite construction, or the more recent efforts to inform and equip the industry to manage, measure and reduce carbon generation; the School is now consistently at the forefront of the industry’s efforts to create a step-change in sustainability performance by enhancing knowledge, skills and behaviours..”

How has the School enabled the industry to drive positive sustainable change?

“A real feature of the School’s success is the accessibility it provides to all tiers of the supply chain, including SMEs. The School has been able to touch & positively influence a widespread and diverse audience, with organisations of all sizes making use of the training materials and reference documents. The scale of the School’s reach and engagement is, in my experience, quite unique, and has provided a really strong platform for the School to effect genuine behavioural change at an industry level.”


Become a Partner.

Connect with Craig Murphy on LinkedIn.

Learn more about John Sisk & Son on their website


In celebration of the School’s 10 Year Anniversary, throughout June, we will be publishing a series of Q&As conducted with Partners of the School. For this, we asked each Partner to reflect on the past decade of sustainability in the UK Built Environment industry.

For the first edition of our ‘Reflections From…’ series, we spoke with Kris Karslake, the Sustainability Manager for BAM UK and Ireland.

How would you describe the sustainability state of the built environment industry before the School was launched in 2012?

“A decade ago, the built environment felt fragmented, and it was challenging to involve organisations in our supply chain with sustainability strategies. The working group for principle contractors was in a silo, and outputs weren’t necessarily shared across the value chain.”

What impact has the School had on the built environment industry during this last decade?

“The Supply Chain Sustainability School has connected organisations and been a driving force to raise the bar for critical topics like carbon reporting, offsite construction, modern slavery, and diversity and inclusion.”

How has the School enabled the industry to drive positive sustainable change?

“The School’s multiple engagement methods, from in-person hands-on workshops to webinars and e-learning modules, have upskilled our supply chain, leading to positive change. Furthermore, the recent additions of Learning Pathways have really helped us to highlight specific areas for focus.”


Become a Partner.

Connect with Kris Karslake on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Learn more about BAM on their website


Digital Group

After two years of developing training resources and then delivering the materials in multiple formats such as Lunch ‘ Learn webinars, Business Bytes Conferences and Workshops, the Digital Group has asked the School to provide data on the impact of the learning on the people who have engaged with our materials.

The Leadership Group is particularly keen to understand the impact of our new Digital Leadership Course. The course is a mixture of Workshops and Self Study that students can undertake over a period of two months, after which they are awarded a Digital Leaders’ badge. So far, we have run four cohorts with a total of around 60 people and it’s the impact on them that we’re seeking to quantify.

Don’t miss our upcoming events/workshops:

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 Impact Report, which surveyed over one thousand of its members across the country to get their thoughts on what is important to their organisation and supply chain. The full report can be found here.

With the highest number of responses recorded since the survey began, this report also offers insights on how the School has continued to positively impact organisations and supply chains. This reinforces the School’s mission to be the world-class collaboration enabling a sustainable built environment.

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “We regularly receive over 1,000 responses to our impact survey. This provides us with real insight into the things we are doing well, but more importantly, the things we can improve or topics we need to focus more effort on. This helps us to keep the School relevant and engaging for our rapidly growing membership.”

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.

Last week, 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.

The past two years have been hugely challenging for the built environment industry due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, material and labour shortages, and steep rises in costs. At the same time, sustainability, and in particular Net Zero and Social Value, have risen to the top of the agenda, as illustrated by COP26 and changes in public procurement requirements.

Reflecting this, the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s engagement figures are up significantly, with 16,802 (+51%) individuals from 4,220 companies (+33%) actively learning through the School. This has driven a 55% increase in resource views compared to the previous year. At the same time, quality ratings for the training received by the members remain very high, with 95% rating the training as good or excellent.

Organisations are becoming increasingly interested in understanding sustainability and embedding more sustainable practices. Many members have identified the School as a powerful tool to help them do this. Almost three-quarters of members (73%) reported that the School has helped them to better understand their organisation’s sustainability impacts. The School has also helped 64% of members to improve their understanding of modern slavery, and 64% to increase their understanding of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect.

Furthermore, the extent to which our members say the School has helped them to reduce their sustainability impacts has increased by an average of 5% year on year. This includes reductions in carbon emissions (57% of members) and total waste (53%), as well as improvements in air quality (40%) and community impacts (44%).

Keith Chanter, CEO of EMCOR UK and Board Member of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “Responsible businesses face ever more challenging issues, not least of which is how they show the impact that they are having on the environmental and social issues that they face. These challenges are fueled by the forces for change, that are stronger than ever, and are increasingly embedded in legislation, procurement contracting and in the social agendas that have been accelerated during the pandemic.  It is inspiring to see the significant impact the Supply Chain Sustainability School has had, and the recent Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development is further evidence of the significant contribution the School has made in driving forward sustainability in the built environment.”

The School is part-funded by CITB and industry Partners, with over 178 Partners leading the direction of the School. Working in collaboration, Partners share knowledge and free resources to inspire the UK built environment to drive positive change.

Read the full impact report here.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has joined an exclusive group of companies in receiving Britain’s most coveted business prize; a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

We have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development because we have delivered significant environmental, social and economic benefits to our Members and Partners, plus led pioneering work 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 approves the winners and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy publicly announced the winners on Thursday 21 April 2022. Now in its 56th year, 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.

Receiving this award from Her Majesty feels like recognition of all we’ve done over this past decade. A huge victory for the School, but an even bigger victory for the built environment sector, and proof of our collaborative success in driving real sustainable change.

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of Supply Chain Sustainability School said: “I was honoured by Her Majesty in 2013 with an OBE for services to sustainability and London 2012. This is different, it’s not about me, it’s for everybody involved in the School over the past 10 years and so, we dedicate this award to you! Thank you, all.”

The School’s 10-year anniversary will take place on Tuesday 21 June 2022. Our vision is of a built environment industry where everyone has the skills and knowledge to deliver a sustainable future.

Social Value Group

Over the past financial year – Social Value Group has been set up with an interest from 90+ partners in the School. Based on the partner priorities, three workstreams were formed – Knowledge Library, Guidance for SMEs and Tool Providers report.

  • Knowledge Library– various resources such as: case studies, best practices and frameworks have been added.
  • Guidance for SMEs – the focus group discussions with SMEs and partners including interviews have been concluded and the draft report will be completed for consultation with partners.
  • Tool Providers report – 8 tool providers have been shortlisted and the parameters have been circulated with a 90% response rate so far.

The group is continuing to work on updating the resource library with x2 Social Value videos being developed, an update of the Introduction to Social Value E-learning module and a new workshop being developed which focuses on Embedding Social Value in the Supply Chain.

Don’t miss our upcoming Social Value Lunch ‘n’ Learns:

During the past year, Flannery plant have supported the Plant Group within the Supply Chain Sustainability School through its overhaul of their Minimum Standards to a second version.

The new Gold status Flannery has been awarded is part of a new programme within the School’s Plant Charter which recognises the actions taken by construction organisations to lower emissions on construction sites, resulting in improved air quality and a cleaner working environment.

Each organisation that becomes a signatory to the Charter makes a public pledge to work towards five commitments that address these emissions. These include minimum standards in procurement, engagement with stakeholders, awareness raising and education, measurement and reporting, and innovation. Having been in place for a year, the Group agreed it was necessary, and time, to make the Charter more robust such that organisations wishing to declare their ambitions to reduce air quality and carbon emissions now need to provide evidence to back up their claims.

“Having been the first Partner in the School to make a commitment to the v1.0 of the Plant Charter in 2020, it’s great that Flannery have renewed their status to the Charter and its updated Minimum Standards v2.0.  We fully expect other suppliers and contractors to follow their example.” – James Cadman, Head of Carbon, Supply Chain Sustainability School

Flannery are pleased to have been recognised for its work so far but don’t intend to stop there. Flannery will reiterate its commitment to reducing emissions on site through the continued roll-out of its sustainability plan. This includes focusing its customers on the programme of events and innovations supporting ‘FlanneryFuture’ which has, to date, included a number of innovations surrounding machine data and productivity management, alternatively powered plant and capability training of its operators.

“We’re proud of what we’ve worked towards with the Supply Chain Sustainability School so far and we’re happy to have renewed our status. We’re aim to be trendsetters within construction and continue to support innovation and sustainability across the industry. This will always be at the forefront of our decisions as a business.” – Patrick Flannery, Managing Director, Flannery Plant Hire

The infrastructure sector has a significant role to play in decarbonisation. 16% of the UK’s carbon footprint is taken up by construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure assets, and a further 37% results from in-use emissions of these assets (1). It’s therefore crucial that client organisations set ambitious decarbonisation targets, but also that supply chain partners can understand and contribute towards achieving these targets.

This report, produced for the Infrastructure Group by Action Sustainability, set out to understand key themes in the carbon reduction strategies of client organisations and asks for suppliers – both to help clients understand where greater consistency and alignment could be created, and to provide suppliers with a simple guide on what they should expect when engaging with these organisations.


The Supply Chain Sustainability School (the “School”) has partnered with major construction clients and contractors, to develop and launch the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment. This freely available web-based tool has been specifically designed for the construction industry and allows organisations, large and small, to benchmark their Fairness, Inclusion & Respect knowledge. The Assessment helps leaders and managers to recognise their best practice and highlights areas for improvement. On completion of the Assessment, a tailored learning plan is automatically created for companies, providing direct free access to the best-in-class learning resources of the FIR Programme, helping them to further develop and improve their business.

The Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment tool is endorsed by the CLC (Construction Leadership Council) as part of their Skills Plan objective of developing a more diverse & innovative industry that is better for all. Use of the tool will help organisations to accelerate the process of embedding a culture change and will help deliver CLC’s commitment to support 3,000 construction companies in developing a culture of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect by 2025.

Organisations are becoming more conscious of Fairness, Inclusion & Respect and its benefits to people, profit and enabling a sustainable business model. In a survey of 811 people who have participated in the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect programme, 55% said it helped them win new business, 58% said it improved productivity and 62% said it helped them to retain talent. But more needs to be done and the launch of this Assessment is the latest tool to help the industry create an industry that is better for all.

Belinda Blake, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Manager at National Highways said: “We are delighted to be working closely with the FIR Programme to grow our supply chains’ Equality, Diversity & Inclusion capability and resilience.  We are committed to this agenda and are looking to bring positive and lasting change through this work.”

Jo Mercer, Head of Organisational Development at VINCI, said: “The thing I like about the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment is its simplicity and practical approach, with a framework to help businesses proactively embed inclusive ways of working. It helps you to understand and celebrate the great stuff already happening along with highlighting areas to focus on to support recruitment & retention and productivity.”

Ian Heptonstall, Director at the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “We are thrilled that the School is hosting the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment. It’s a very valuable tool that provides free access for all to an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion assessment process that is designed by industry to provide valuable benchmarks of an organisation’s current Equality, Diversity & Inclusion practice and a roadmap for continuous improvement. The launch of the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment is a result of a collaboration between major transport clients such as National Highways, HS2 and Network Rail along with leading contractors such as Graham, Skanska and Vinci. It’s great to see so many companies working together to further develop a culture of Fairness, Inclusion & Respect.”

Briony Wickenden, Training & Development Consultant at CECA, said: “In developing this tool, our intention is to help businesses to recognise their current good practice and see where they can make improvements. Many SMEs in construction are already leading the way on Fairness, Inclusion & Respect particularly in areas such as family friendly practices, team working and leadership, this tool will help them to demonstrate that. Larger businesses often have the tools and policies to progress Fairness, Inclusion & Respect but need to fully embed those processes and the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment will help them target their efforts and resources.  No matter why a business chooses to use the tool, we believe the process will help them to understand the benefits of becoming more diverse and inclusive and, as a result, more productive and profitable.”

Kevin McLoughlin, Managing Director at McLoughlin Group, said: “A very worthwhile tool, it really highlights that no matter how well you think you are doing, there’s so much more to do. The action plan you receive isn’t at all daunting.”

In partnership with SEE Things and CHAS, Supply Chain Sustainability School members can also get accredited for taking the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect Growth Assessment and embedding practices within their company. Accreditation is valid for two years and gives members access to ongoing support and the assurance that they are continuing to practice Fairness, Inclusion & Respect to current standards and guidelines. NOCN will be the Quality Assurance of the training provided by the Supply Chain School to the Licensed Assessors.

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 Fairness, Inclusion & Respect resources are becoming increasingly popular as diversity and inclusion issues become increasingly important for many organisations in the industry.

Wellbeing Special Interest Group

The School’s Wellbeing Special Interest Group (SIG) reconvened in April 2021 to set some new objectives for this cross-sector group, which includes representatives from FM, Homes, Construction and Infrastructure Partners.  Led by Andrew Day, Sustainability Director at Telford Homes, the Partners defined two desired outputs and set up corresponding working groups to explore:

A Wellbeing survey tool, that could be rolled out internally by organisations to take a measure of their employees’ wellbeing. This workstream is now focusing on developing an automated Wellbeing Workplace Questionnaire, in collaboration with Eileen Donnelly and the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. This tool will be an industry first, and will gather anonymised data to allow threshold-generation. It will be delivered later in 2022 and be hosted on the School platform.

Creating a Wellbeing Sustainability Short to act as a introduction to the topic. This short animated video looks at Wellbeing through the elements of Physical, Mental and Financial, and how to create balance between all three, and will be published to the School library in March 2022.

Additionally, following a discussion among Partners, the Wellbeing SIG has recently run 2 specific webinars on Peer Support Networks – one on how to set one up (view recording here) and one on how to optimise the networks you may already have implemented (view recording here). The SIG continues to feed into the School’s programme of Wellbeing training, with upcoming sessions including: Work-Life Balance (register here) and At the Interview (register here).

If you are a School Partner and would like to be a part of the Wellbeing SIG, please get in touch with [email protected]

Top stories

Government publishes changes to Building Regulations

The government has published the new regulations for Part L and F as well as its response to the Future Buildings Standard consultation.

Find out more >>

London’s Grosvenor Square to be transformed into ‘urban garden’

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has submitted proposals to transform Grosvenor Square into an urban garden that, if approved, will be the second-largest in London, and deliver a 15.5% biodiversity net-gain benefit.


School Partner Vistry signs up to sustainability-linked financing

Housebuilder Vistry has completed a £500m sustainability-linked revolving credit facility as part of their plans to reach net zero targets.

Take a look >>


January’s featured topic: Biodiversity 

Development and the increased modernisation of our lives have caused an alarming decrease in biodiversity worldwide. Halting biodiversity loss is a huge challenge, particularly in the light of climate change, which will accelerate much of the decline.

Sustainable development should take an approach that contributes to and promotes biodiversity. Find out what to look out for on site and how to protect biodiversity with these selected resources:

Reducing Biodiversity Loss

An engaging introduction to biodiversity, what it means and why we need to preserve and enhance it.

Get started >>

Human Impacts on Biodiversity

A short video which introduces some of the key impacts humans have on biodiversity.

Watch now >>

Guidance For Pollution Prevention

Guidance from Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on how to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

Find out more >>


Updates on the Future Homes Hub:

The Future Homes Hub has recently been established to support the implementation of the Future Homes Delivery Plan which aims to meet climate and environmental targets while building high quality homes for future generations. Take a look at the latest updates and ways to get involved below:

  1. Call for evidence on Building Performance Evaluation: The Hub is starting work on Building Performance Evaluation from February, [given Government signalling that it is looking for solutions] so are seeking input and expertise to help. Please see the call for evidence here: https://www.futurehomes.org.uk/have-your-say.
  2. Call for evidence on Embodied Carbon: Government is likely to develop its thinking in 2022 on the pathway for reducing embodied carbon in construction. The Hub is therefore prioritising work to develop an industry led approach to tackling embodied carbon that is coherent and consistent with the Future Homes Standard and operational context of building new homes. Please see the call for evidence here: https://www.futurehomes.org.uk/have-your-say.
  3. Consultation on ESG sustainability metrics for the new homes sector. The Future Homes Hub is leading work in partnership with NextGeneration and the Green Finance Institute, Loan Market Association and Homes England to establish a common set of ESG metrics. This is to help simplify metrics and benchmarks so that the financial community use common metrics aligned to the Future Homes Delivery Plan and the longer-term regulatory direction. Please see the consultation which asks for views on the suggested approach and initial ideas for common metrics here: https://www.futurehomes.org.uk/have-your-say.
  4. Recruiting ‘head of’ positions in the Hub. The Hub is recruiting for four ‘head of’ positions to work with leading experts across the sector to develop effective and efficient solutions. The positions are: head of technical and innovation, head of place and nature, head of sustainability and performance, head of communications, customers and engagement. Find out more here: https://www.futurehomes.org.uk/join-our-team.

Top stories

Major contractors call for mandatory carbon-based procurement

Morgan Sindall, Willmott Dixon and Mace have signed a letter sent to the construction minister, urging him to make carbon assessments mandatory for public sector jobs.

Find out more >>

New framework to help local authorities meet net zero targets launched 

UKGBC, alongside WGBC, several European Green Building Councils, Climate Alliance, and the Buildings Performance Institute Europe have published a framework that aims to support cities and local authorities to measure the impacts and wider benefits of building retrofit.


School Partner Laing O‘Rourke joins new modular trade body

Five leading modular construction firms, including Laing O’Rourke, have formed a new trade body, Make Modular, to further the ambitions of the modular sector.

Take a look >>


January’s featured topic: Biodiversity 

Development and the increased modernisation of our lives have caused an alarming decrease in biodiversity worldwide. Halting biodiversity loss is a huge challenge, particularly in the light of climate change, which will accelerate much of the decline.

Sustainable development should take an approach that contributes to and promotes biodiversity. Find out what to look out for on site and how to protect biodiversity with these selected resources:

Reducing Biodiversity Loss

An engaging introduction to biodiversity, what it means and why we need to preserve and enhance it.

Get started >>

Human Impacts on Biodiversity

A short video which introduces some of the key impacts humans have on biodiversity.

Watch now >>

Guidance For Pollution Prevention

Guidance from Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on how to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

Find out more >>


What do you think of the School’s resources?

As a member, we’d like to understand what’s important to you! Take 12 minutes to share your feedback in our Impact Survey, to help us shape the future of the School.



Upcoming construction virtual training:

Setting Science Based Targets – Lunch ‘n’ Learn

Offering you practical guidance on how to set a Science Based Target in your organisation.

Join us >>

Supply Chain Risk, Resilience & Capacity – Lunch ‘n’ Learn

To provide you with an overview of supplier resilience and capacity issues, and help you understand how to mitigate it.

Join us >>

The Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Waste and Resource Use Category Group has been hugely popular amongst School Partners since its inception in early 2019.  Nearly half the School’s partners are members of this group, comprising of client organisations, prime contractors, FM service providers, utility companies, industry stakeholders, materials and service suppliers.

Chaired by Matt Nichols of Reconomy, the people that make this group tick are armed with a wide range of skills and backgrounds, including procurement, operational, sustainability, marketing and product development roles.

We meet quarterly, influencing and developing the School’s activities, resources and strategy for waste and resource efficiency. In recent weeks subject matter tackled has included; designing out waste, improving circularity, preparation for the Plastic Packaging Tax, encouraging more use of Material Exchange Platforms via the School’s “MEP Map” and a major project focusing on how to reduce waste throughout the entire construction lifecycle.

We are always keen to welcome new group members especially from School Partners who are not yet represented.  Please do consider joining us.

The Group’s next meeting is February 2022. If you would like to discuss anything in particular, or are interested in joining the Group itself, please contact Mark Turner or Naomi Pratt

To find out more about the Waste and Resource Efficiency Group please click here.

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.

SCSS’ Plant Group was established in 2019 by Partners of the School and other key industry stakeholders, to develop and facilitate the implementation of best practice sustainable procurement within the category. Together, they collaborate to identify and provide the supply chain with information and guidance on plant standards and management.

A minimum standards document was created to ensure the built environment adhere to minimum engine emission standards, to reduce the worst effects on air quality and the climate. Since the launch of the Plant Group, there has since been an extensive process of engagement with the sector, from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) through plant hire, to contractors, and clients on where the minimum standards should go to next. To keep up to date with the ever-changing landscape and advances in technology, an updated minimum standards document has been published today.

Dr James Cadman, Head of Carbon, Supply Chain Sustainability School, said “We must continue to move towards cleaner technology, appropriate to its size and usage pattern. But no one size fits all – it’s a combination of more efficient diesel engines, using HVO as a short-term steppingstone (where appropriate), driving the uptake of electric plant at the smaller end, and development of more hydrogen solutions. The Plant Group’s minimum standards will provide the industry with direction on how to accelerate this.”

Chris Matthew, Strategic Manager, Flannery Plant Hire, said: “The built environment must play their part in tackling climate change and reducing the impacts on local neighbourhoods. This can only be done through industry collaboration and setting expectations, by keeping the minimum standards up-to-date, ultimately supporting carbon reduction both locally and globally.”

Chris Gill, Director, L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage, said: “It’s an evolving landscape as we play our part in tackling climate change and reducing the impacts on local neighbourhoods. Through the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Plant Group, we can collaborate to improve air quality standards across the industry, the school and the plant charter is there to help all sizes of businesses.”

To download the new minimum standards click here.