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Greening the Supply Chain: a report sharing key recommendations to help the industry achieve Net Zero

Published 14th Nov 22 - by billywilkinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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