UK needs industry-wide carbon target for infrastructure

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has today published a report entitled ‘Delivering Low Carbon Infrastructure’, which recommends the establishment of a whole life carbon target for the infrastructure industry.

The report was made possible with support from Atkins, CEEQUAL, Ferrovial Agroman, Osborne, Skanska and Responsible Solutions, and has been endorsed by the influential ICE Infrastructure Client Group. The group, which is chaired by Tideway CEO Andy Mitchell CBE, features C-suite level representation from the biggest infrastructure client organisations in the UK.

Informed by detailed client interviews and desktop research, the report’s main findings are:

  • There is no specific target for the infrastructure industry which organisations and projectscan work towards.
  • There is little similarity in ambition, duration and scope of the targets being set in the infrastructure industry.
  • There is no single method used by all the surveyed clients to set their carbon targets.
  • Regulators play a role in addressing carbon, however, they are not explicit in setting targets for carbon reductions and driving performance.

    Based on the findings, UK-GBC is recommending the establishment of a whole life carbon target for the infrastructure industry based on climate science and from which organisations can derive commensurate targets. The monitoring of such a target, and the reporting of progress against it, will be crucial.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UK-GBC said:

“I’m pleased that UK-GBC has been able to provide the industry with a lucid view on carbon target setting in infrastructure.

“There is a great deal of support for setting a carbon target, based on climate science, for this part of the built environment, and I hope this report provides the catalyst for achieving this.”

Andy Michell CBE, Tideway CEO, chair of the ICE Infrastructure Client Group and chair of the Infrastructure Industry Innovation Platform said:

“Carbon is a key concern in infrastructure. Clients across all infrastructure sectors are taking action to reduce emissions, but we must ensure our actions go far enough to tackle the challenge that lies ahead.

“It is clear that the setting of an industry-wide carbon target for infrastructure, as recommended in this report, is essential. This will ensure we have a clear trajectory to a low-carbon future, in line with climate science.”

Following on from the launch of this report, UK-GBC will be convening stakeholders for a ‘next-steps’ industry event this autumn. Those wishing to register an interest in attending the follow-up event should contact Alastair Mant (


Notes to editors

The Delivering Low Carbon Infrastructure report is available here.

More information about the ICE Infrastructure Client Group is available here.

The Infrastructure Carbon Review in 2013 showed that the infrastructure industry controls 16% of the UK’s total carbon emissions and has influence over a further 37%. This total impact figure of 53% is set to grow to 90% by 2050, due to decarbonisation in other sectors.

Data from the Infrastructure Carbon Review indicates that the UK’s infrastructure sector needs to reduce its total carbon emissions to 34MtCO2e/year by 2050 from a baseline of 157MtCO2e/year in 2010.

For further information contact Alex Smith, Communications Officer (, 07961 539 204)

About UK-GBC

UK-GBC is an industry-led network with a mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment.

A charity with over 400 member organisations spanning the entire value chain, we represent the voice of the industry’s current and future leaders who are striving for transformational change.

We inspire, challenge and empower our members, helping them to identify and adopt the most sustainable, viable solutions.

We also engage our members in advocating a progressive message to government, informing and influencing policy.

Published: 12/07/2017