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Five Client Carbon Commitments launched

At the end of last month [April 2024], the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) launched the Five Client Carbon Commitments, five practical steps which organisations can take to reduce carbon emissions from their construction projects. The idea is that if those leading big infrastructure projects commit to buying low carbon in their upcoming pipeline of work, supply chain companies will have the incentive and the confidence to invest in developing lower carbon ways of doing things.

The five commitments are:

  1. Procure for low carbon construction and provide incentives in contracts.

  2. Set phase out dates for fossil fuel use.

  3. Eliminate the most carbon intensive concrete products.

  4. Eliminate the most carbon intensive steel products.

5.     Sign up to PAS 2080, allowing a common standard in carbon management and reporting.

The CLC is a body made up of people from industry, clients and Government which aims to drive growth and investment. It is co-chaired by Alan Mak MP, who was appointed as construction minister on 25 April, and Mark Reynolds, group CEO at Mace.

The idea of the Five Commitments is that clients sign up to them, including setting target dates by which they will achieve milestones along the way. At the launch, six organisations had done that: Anglian Water, Heathrow, The Lower Thames Crossing, National Highways, Northumbrian Water and Sellafield.

Lower Thames Crossing is being held up as an exemplar for the commitments. Contractors on that project are contractually obliged to reduce carbon emissions by 30% compared to a baseline for the project set in 2020 and encouraged to go further. The project reports that they can deliver 50% savings compared to that baseline. In fact, it would be possible to go even further than that, up to 75% savings – but that would start to cost significantly.

For Thermal Road Repairs, and other companies in the construction supply chain that are striving to deliver low carbon solutions and services, the first of the five commitments is perhaps the most important. Although some clients already consider carbon emissions somewhat when awarding contracts, there needs to be a much more rigorous approach to setting targets and incentives. Clear contractual commitments from clients will drive more innovation and investment from firms like us.

Transition away from diesel is also important and something that smaller companies, like Thermal Road Repairs, can tackle now. Our heaters can already run on biogas and have PV panels fitted to them, and to the vehicle that carries them around, so that they are topped up by solar power.

We also agree that PAS 2080 accreditation is vital so that clients, contractors and others can be sure that everyone in the supply chain is playing by the same rules. Thermal Road Repairs became the first SME to gain PAS 2080 accreditation for its carbon management system in March this year.

Any size of organisation can sign up to the Five Client Carbon Commitments, setting their own timescales for achieving each of the steps. According to CLC, the following clients are planning to make their pledges soon: East West Rail, Environment Agency, Houses of Parliament Restoration & Renewal, and National Grid.

The more companies that do commit, the faster supply chains will decarbonise.


Thermal Road Repairs: Decarbonising the asphalt repair industry




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