UK needs industry-wide carbon target for infrastructure

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) is calling for a whole life carbon target for the infrastructure industry in a new report, Delivering Low Carbon Infrastructure, launched today.

The report, which is supported by Atkins, CEEQUAL, Ferrovial Agroman, Osborne, Skanska and Responsible Solutions, has been endorsed by the influential ICE Infrastructure Client Group. The group, chaired by Tideway chief executive Andy Mitchell, features representation from some of the largest infrastructure client organisations in the UK.

Informed by detailed client interviews and desktop research, the report’s main findings are:

  • There is no specific target for the infrastructure industry which organisations and projects can work towards.
  • There is little similarity in ambition, duration and scope of the targets being set in the infrastructure industry.
  • There is no single method used by all the surveyed clients to set their carbon targets.
  • Regulators play a role in addressing carbon, however, they are not explicit in setting targets for carbon reductions and driving performance.

Based on the findings, UK-GBC is recommending the establishment of a whole life carbon target for the infrastructure industry based on climate science and from which organisations can derive commensurate targets. The monitoring of such a target, and the reporting of progress against it, will be crucial.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of UK-GBC, said: “I’m pleased that UK-GBC has been able to provide the industry with a lucid view on carbon target setting in infrastructure. There is a great deal of support for setting a carbon target, based on climate science, for this part of the built environment, and I hope this report provides the catalyst for achieving this.”

Andy Michell, chief executive of Tideway and chair of the ICE Infrastructure Client Group, said: “Carbon is a key concern in infrastructure. Clients across all infrastructure sectors are taking action to reduce emissions, but we must ensure our actions go far enough to tackle the challenge that lies ahead. It is clear that the setting of an industry-wide carbon target for infrastructure, as recommended in this report, is essential. This will ensure we have a clear trajectory to a low-carbon future, in line with climate science.”

Following on from the launch of the report, UK-GBC is convening stakeholders for a ‘next-steps’ industry event this autumn. Those wishing to register an interest in attending the follow-up event should contact Alastair Mant at

Click here to download the Delivering Low Carbon Infrastructure report.

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