We all know we need to decarbonise, but we have to demystify the challenges first

Sustainability has gone from being a buzzword to a strategic target for the whole construction sector. The industry has made a pledge to achieve net-zero carbon (NZC) by 2050, in line with the government’s national targets. Specialists in the supply chain, including those of us in temporary works, will need to contribute to this.

Principal contractors have set their own ambitious targets ahead of the deadline, so changes in procurement are already being felt. National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) contractor members are seeing clients adapt their procurement scoring to appoint scaffolding specialists that will contribute to this target.

In short, achieving NZC status – or at least starting this journey – is becoming a crucial commercial consideration. Unfortunately, the roadmap to achieving NZC is anything but straightforward. We have found that there is a plethora of information available but a lot of it is inaccessible, complicated or conflicting.

Additionally, the resource and investment required for small businesses can be a barrier to making these much-needed changes. As such, the NASC has moved to provide clarity for scaffolding contractors that aim to lead the way in decarbonising our industry.

Charting a path forward

At the turn of the year, a sustainability and environmental issues working group was formed from NASC contractor employees who have expertise in this area.

“The NASC hopes this guide will help empower members and non-members alike to start their journey to net-zero – enabling them to make energy and cost savings”

The group was tasked with providing useful and accessible guidance to NASC members about how they can reduce their carbon footprint and work towards net-zero. It has recently produced an easy-to-use guide to NZC, including a glossary and FAQ, quick wins, potential longer-term opportunities, grants and incentives, a draft policy statement and useful links.

The group recognised pretty quickly that the challenge it faced was helping NASC members, which have displayed an enormous amount of enthusiasm for NZC initiatives, to get a solid understanding of the topic. Its focus has been on making decarbonisation strategically accessible to businesses of all sizes by consolidating the information we need to get started and pointing to potential sources of support.

The NASC hopes this guide will help empower members and non-members alike to start their journey to net-zero – enabling them to make energy and cost savings. As NZC targets are increasingly part of procurement scoring for the clients that scaffolding contractors work for, a realistic action plan will quickly become essential to being part of the supply chain and winning work.

The working group has responded quickly to share its experience and is now looking at producing further guides on a number of topics, liaising with the industry to see what can be done to improve green procurement efforts.

Order the guide at www.nasc.org.uk or download the PDF directly 

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