CARES joins construction decarbonisation drive

03 September 2021 Return to news articles

CARES joins important construction industry decarbonisation drive*

CARES has become the latest signatory in an important new initiative designed to push the construction industry towards an ultimate goal of net zero in carbon emissions.

Working with a number of other leading industry bodies and specialist manufacturers, CARES has thrown its weight behind the Construction Products Association (CPA) campaign to pursue the Challenge of Net-Zero.

This new CPA campaign recognises that the built environment has a big responsibility to tackle the climate emergency – given that it contributes 40 per cent to the UK’s carbon emissions. Working across the sector, the CPA is trying to encourage manufacturers to consider changes in their manufacturing processes, and operations, to minimise emissions through their own direct impacts, as well as through their products and services.

Because of the complexity of project processes and the nature of the extended supply chain across construction, the CPA recognises that each specialist part of the design and delivery of projects faces different challenges.

Members are being encouraged to set stretching – and meaningful – targets on the journey towards an ultimate ambition of Net Zero Carbon, in line with the Net Zero by 2050 goal set by UK Climate Change. The CPA’s new initiative recognises that the different challenges faced by each sector will involve innovative steps towards these goals – for energy intensive industries such as cement, ceramics and steel the priority is “how to replace fossil fuel in the manufacturing process” while others in the CPA Directory committing to the challenge face different hurdles – and opportunities.

While CARES most significant impacts are via the certification services it offers (*further information on CARES’ indirect impacts can be found below), CARES is taking steps itself to ensure emissions reductions across all of its operations, with a commitment to halve direct emissions by 2030; further reducing to Net-Zero by 2050 and disclosing progress on these steps annually through CARES’ Sustainability Report.

Continuing the use of remote, digital alternatives to CARES auditor inspection and certification visits, for example, represent just one way in which CARES can demonstrate its commitment to change. 

Welcoming the commitment made by those who have joined the Challenge, the CPA stresses that “This is a time of great challenge but also great opportunity” and is encouraging more member companies to join the Directory’s Net-Zero Challenge, with further information available here: https://www.constructionproducts.org.uk/our-expertise/sustainability/climate-and-decarbonisation/net-zero-the-challenge/

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*Cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in steel manufacturing: CARES takes action

CARES takes its responsibilities to help lead the steel industry towards a sustainable future extremely seriously. CARES is committed to reduce its direct emissions from its operations; however, these are dwarfed by the emissions from steel mills, which represent approximately 7-9% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In addition to supporting wider sector initiatives such as the CPA Net-Zero Challenge, (above), and appropriate regulatory measures in the markets in which it operates, CARES is pushing ahead with further steps to address the challenge in mitigating emissions associated with the production of reinforcing bar and constructional steels.

Steel is a hard to transition sector – meaning the challenges are greater for all those seeking meaningful change. With the ongoing support of stakeholders, CARES has led the steel certification sector in setting measurement and reporting standards through the Sustainable Constructional Steel (SCS) certification scheme. This scheme, which has been operating for over a decade, sets out several key steps which enable and support cuts in GHG emissions. These include manufacturers’ reporting site based GHG emissions targets and plans; setting maximum performance thresholds and a commitment to public reporting of emissions.

With manufacturers providing Environmental Product Declarations and a whole life-cycle analysis of the materials’ provenance, production, distribution, use and end of life, a full picture of product environmental impact is captured. The data generated adds real value to steps aimed at accurately quantifying reinforcing steel’s Global Warming Potential – and consequential opportunities to select lower embodied carbon materials. Additional anonymised quality data is uploaded to the CARES Cloud. Having this more accurate view on product quality data enables clients to match the required amount of steel of a given quality more accurately to the engineering specification, providing a further opportunity for volume, cost and emission reductions.

The role of clients in specifying standards which meet these targets is critical in building momentum, and CARES is stepping up work to engage with partners, designers and policymakers in order to influence change. Positive action follows wider understanding of the issues; momentum is building.

For example, CARES is working with the SME Climate Hub and has joined the United Nations’ Race to Net-Zero. CARES is also playing an active role in SteelZero’s Construction and Property Working Group, which is committed to using market demand to accelerate cuts in emissions.

Taken together, these steps represent measurable actions to tackle a difficult issue, as constructional steel production represents approximately half of all steel production and reinforcement bar, in turn, being half of this.

The most important single step that is being taken across the sector is continuing to encourage steel mills to work with CARES in widespread adoption of emissions-based criteria set out in CARES’ SCS scheme, and driving performance improvements. Progress continues to be made; the adoption of secure digital routes to understanding manufacturers’ priorities has accelerated as an unintended consequence of pandemic restrictions, bringing with it raised awareness among many manufacturers of the scale of the climate emergency.

 

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