Collaboration, the key to driving sustainability performance in construction?


Collaboration, the key to driving sustainability performance in construction?

Posted on 29 November 2022

Collaboration, the key to driving sustainability performance in construction?

It was great to able to attend the recent London Build event, the UK’s largest construction show. It was a fantastic event and it was great to hear from ‘thought leaders’ in the industry and catch up with contacts, old and new.

As a specialist Environment and Sustainability Recruitment Consultant, the Sustainability stage was of particular interest to me. The range of speakers, and wide-ranging topics, left me compelled to write up some of the key highlights from the first panel’s discussions at the show!

Kicking off proceedings on the Sustainability Stage was a panel discussion: ‘Steps towards a Lower Carbon Built Environment’

The panel was made up of Sustainability Leaders from major construction and property companies, sharing different approaches to measuring Carbon within the industry. Embodied carbon looks at all aspects of use, from manufacturing and transportation to material waste and site use, and when only 30% of embodied carbon within the built environment comes from energy use, it is essential that all aspects of the lifecycle are considered and measured.

How do we measure?

This was a key discussion topic by the panel, as when it comes to data, both the availability and quality is not where it needs to be. There are so many routes and systems to measure within sustainability, that there is a lack of unity and standardisation, meaning even terms like ‘Net Zero Carbon’ can mean something different from company to company. COP26 set a Net Zero Carbon target of 2050, which some companies have already reached, but what does this mean in your company?


Collaboration was a recurring theme, and it was highlighted that companies are sharing knowledge and findings within their organisations and down their supply chains, but not typically sharing much more beyond this. A great quote ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together’ was used to describe the journey of sustainability!

Another really interesting panel discussion was ‘COP26 - How Far Have We Come?’. It was common agreement amongst the panellists that although progress is being made, we haven’t come far enough!

A couple of points that stuck out:

Legislation – legislation is what drives change, so we should be using this to make sustainability less competitive, and more collaborative.

There isn’t a one size fits all - Developed nations need to do more on climate mitigation, as they are the heaviest culprits of carbon emissions, and developing nations need to do more climate adaption, as they are the ones most impacted by carbon emissions.

Science Based Target Initiatives (SBTis) – SBTis help companies work towards the COP26 goal to limit climate change to 1.5°C, by setting a strict cap on what you can offset, where you can offset a maximum of 10%.

Overall, the key takeaways from the panels, were Collaboration, Legislation and the need to take more action!

I was really impressed with the whole London Build show and will definitely be returning in 2023 to hear how things have developed!

Thanks to all the panellists Alison Davis, Head of Environment, Skanska, Romain Richli, Head of Environment and Sustainability - Bouygues UK,Dr Zainab Dangana, Head of Sustainable Technology - Wates Group, Kelly Dickinson, Sustainability Manager, UK Fitout – ISG, Ashuhan Dogan, Global Sustainability Marketing Manager - Hilti Group, Dave Raywood, Procurement and Marketing Director - HSS Tool Hire, Joanna Gilroy, Group Director of Sustainability - Balfour Beatty, Rachel Wootliff, Senior Sustainability Manager – Mace, Ashley Bateson, Director - Sustainabilty - Hoare Lea, James Cadman, Head of Carbon - Action Sustainability, Dr Bonahis Oko, Sustainability, Carbon and Environmental Lead - Bouygues Energies & Services

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