Construction Declares is an international coalition of construction firms recognising climate emergency and committing to reducing their embodied carbon by at least 40% by 2030. It follows similar initiatives by architects and engineers – Architects Declare and Engineers Declare.
The UK drive is coordinated by Multiplex sustainability director Eva Gkenakou. Other founding signatories are BAM Construct UK, BAM Nuttall, Canary Wharf Contractors, Morgan Sindall, Multiplex, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Willmott Dixon.
The NFB Major Contractors Group has now come on board and become the first contractors’ trade association to sign the manifesto.
Mark Wakeford, joint managing director of Stepnell and chair of the NFB MCG, said: “The construction industry directly accounts for 10% of the country’s emissions and influences 47% of all emissions. The structure and nature of our fragmented industry makes rapid and coordinated change difficult but as main contractors we have a uniquely influential position between the client and the supply chain. We’ve taken the step of issuing our declaration on the climate emergency as well as pledging our support for a reduction in embodied carbon. A low carbon future for construction is not just a reality but a necessity and we’re determined to show that contractors can commercially embrace decarbonisation, delivering a profitable service and securing our planet’s future”.
The full transcript of the UK Contractors Declaration:
The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.
For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructure as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.
The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create buildings and infrastructure assets that have a more positive impact on the world around us.
We will seek to:
- Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for mitigation and adaptation action amongst our employees, clients, peers, collaborators and supply chains.
- Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative practices and higher Governmental investment to support a just transition, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- Establish climate mitigation and adaptation principles, as well as maximise biodiversity and air quality enhancement. This will be demonstrated through commitments, actions and achievements. Seek for us and our key supply chains to set targets for our own emissions and for the assets we design and build using recognised standards aligned to the 1.5-degree scenario.
- Share knowledge and research on an open source basis, to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
- Evaluate all new projects against the aim to contribute positively to mitigating climate and biodiversity breakdown, to adapt to climate change using nature-based solutions and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
- Support the upgrade of existing assets for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.
- Support and promote the use of life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post occupancy evaluation/performance measurement. We will do that as part of our standard scope of work to reduce both embodied and operational resource use for the assets we design and build.
- Adopt and support more regenerative principles, with the aim of achieving net zero in line with recognised standards. For buildings this should be in line with the UKGBC’s industry created definition of net zero carbon.
- Work together with engineers, designers, clients, collaborators and supply chain to further reduce construction waste and transition to a circular economy.
- Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work and promote meaningful actions that will lead to reducing embodied carbon by at least 40% by 2030, based on the World Green Building Council call to action.
- Work with clients, designers and supply chains to design out waste in the assets we design and build, and further reduce waste during their construction, operation and deconstruction by transitioning to a circular economy.