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


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

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

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

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

View more here.

To view the MMC database, click here.


The Supply Chain Sustainability School, a multi-award-winning initiative which represents a common approach to addressing sustainability within supply chains, has today released its Fairness, Inclusion & Respect (FIR) Annual Culture Report. The full report can be found here.

The School surveyed over 800 of its members across the country, to get their thoughts on the FIR Programme and how the FIR agenda is progressing within the built environment. Mark Lomas, Head of EDI at HS2 Ltd, said: “It’s great to see organisations responding to the FIR survey, giving great insight into EDI across the sector.”

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

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

Members of the School anonymously stated that the FIR Programme offered “huge benefits for [their] business and life in general” and enabled companies to easily introduce initiatives such as “inclusion moments […] largely due to the influence of FIR ambassadors within the company pushing the initiative.”

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

Organisations are becoming more conscious of FIR and its benefits to people, profit and enabling a sustainable business model. The School has been identified as a powerful tool to help organisations embed sustainability into their business practices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amar Sandhawalia, Fortel Group Chief Operating Officer, said:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Read the full press release here.

The full Impact Report can be found here.

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

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

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

“I look forward to continuing that support and am passionate about driving for progress towards a more sustainable industry.”

The Supply Chain Sustainability School seeks to upskill those working within, or aspiring to work within, the built environment sector. The Board members provide governance through nine elected Partner representatives with Shaun McCarthy OBE as the independent chair. The Board is responsible for the fiscal governance and strategic direction of the School. When required, the Board will consult expert advisers on matters such as training, media and communications and legal services.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain School commented,

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the tool here.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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