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Driving Towards Net Zero: The Role of Technology and Carbon Reporting in the Construction Industry

Reaching net zero targets with technology and carbon reporting

The UK has set ambitious goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with some regions aiming for even earlier targets. The construction industry, being one of the most energy-intensive sectors, plays a crucial role in meeting these goals. Carbon reporting has emerged as a key tool for driving a net zero future, as it allows construction businesses to track and report their carbon output.

Last year, the United Nations reported that carbon emissions from building operations had reached an all-time high, and the construction sector was not on track to achieve decarbonization by 2050. To address this, construction businesses must not only reduce their carbon footprint but also find a way to accurately report on it. Simply stating a reduction in carbon footprint is no longer sufficient; businesses are now being asked to provide detailed reports by other members of the supply chain and when bidding for new projects.

The most effective way to achieve this is by adopting a comprehensive digital system that can track and report the carbon cost of each part of a construction project. Such a system can collect data from every touchpoint within the supply chain, allowing businesses to report carbon emissions accurately and effectively. It covers all transactions in the purchase-to-pay process, from order invoices to goods received notes, enabling businesses to track their progress and identify opportunities for improvement.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has created the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework, which provides guidance for construction organizations to improve overall sustainability. Measurement and transparency are key components of the framework, requiring firms to measure their emissions using accurate data and publicly disclose them. Carbon reporting has also become a non-negotiable requirement for winning public sector projects. Large public sector projects now require emissions reporting as a minimum standard, as outlined in the Procurement Policy Note 06/21.

Automated reporting is essential for capturing the carbon output of the entire supply chain. This includes emissions from material manufacturing, transportation, and disposal after a project. By implementing automated reporting systems, construction businesses can ensure that every part of the supply chain is accounted for, enabling them to make informed decisions and take necessary steps to reduce carbon emissions.

In conclusion, carbon reporting is a crucial tool for the construction industry to achieve net zero targets. By adopting comprehensive digital systems and embracing automated reporting, construction businesses can accurately track and report their carbon output, stay competitive in the market, and contribute to a sustainable future.

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