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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information


Carbon Reduction Code for the Built Environment 



Carbon reduction is more likely to happen when all organisations within a value chain are committed to reducing their footprint and saving costs. This Carbon Reduction Code for the Built Environment forms part of the Construction Leadership Council’s Construct Zero initiative. It is a first step to facilitate action and collaboration by relevant parties towards reducing carbon emissions (CO2eq) related to design, construction, maintenance, operation and decommissioning of built assets. It is not intended to replace standards such as PAS 2080 (or equivalent), but it provides a framework for organisations to make a public commitment to and report on progress towards achieving Net Zero. This framework aligns with the UK Government’s Procurement Policy Note PPN 06/21 for taking account of carbon reduction plans in public procurement.

The Code was drafted by the CSIC Achieving Net Zero Cross-Industry Working Group in 2020 and first issued in 2021. It is expected that it will be updated as carbon targets change and progress towards Net Zero carbon is achieved. A process for organisations to commit to the Code is detailed separately.

The Code has three parts:

  1. Core commitments for all organisations
  2. Core commitments for client organisations and further commitments to facilitate the transition to Net Zero
  3. Core commitments for supply chain organisations and further commitments to facilitate the transition to Net Zero.

Read the Code here.

The Code was launched at an online event on 17 June 2021. You can watch the recording below.



How to comply with the Code (or pledge to comply)

Organisations can submit an application to demonstrate compliance with the Code, or pledge to meet the Code at a future date. Pledges and Demonstrations of Compliance to the Code must be made by the Board Member / Senior Executive with responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction for the organisation.

Organisations pledging to comply with the Code will be listed on the website as ‘Organisations Currently Pledging to Comply with the Carbon Reduction Code’, with their target compliance date.

Organisations which have achieved Compliance will be listed on the Code website as ‘Organisations Complying with the Carbon Reduction Code’, with the year for which their compliance is current and whether they comply with Section 1, or Sections 1&2 (Clients) or Sections 1&3 (Supply Chain).

Note that the ‘Further Commitments’ are not necessary for compliance with the Code, however if the organisation does comply with relevant further commitments clauses, these will be listed on the website.

Further information here.


Supporting information

Guidance and information

This initiative sits within a wider context of the ICE Carbon Project, the Infrastructure Carbon Review Seven Years On and CLC’s Green Construction Board. On its own it is not sufficient to deliver a Net Zero UK, but it does enable individual organisations to publicise their annual progress, and thereby collaborate and share best practice on their journey to Net Zero with the intention of accelerating progress across the industry.

Related initiatives that may provide additional guidance and structures to achieve the commitments of the Code include:

  1. Infrastructure Carbon Review (2013) and the ICR Seven Years On Report  
  2. PAS2080 (available from BSI) and the accompanying guidance document
  3. Construction Leadership Council’s CO2nstruct Zero initiative and its signposting
  4. Engineers Declare and related initiatives: Architects Declare; Civil Engineers Declare; Structural Engineers Declare
  5. CIH Procuring for Value framework and toolkit
  6. The Netherlands Carbon Performance Ladder: used in the Netherlands to reward improved carbon performance through procurement.
  7. Construction Playbook 2020
  8. HMG Green Book
  9. ICE Carbon Project

Case Studies


We would like to thank the members of the CSIC Achieving Net Zero Cross-Industry Group and others who gave input and helpful suggestions during the development of the Code:

Karen Alford, Environment Agency
Lewis Barlow, Sweco
Andrew Barraclough, Wates Group
Keith Clarke, Active Building Centre and Constructionarium
Stacey Collins, Pinsent Masons LLP
Tim Embley, Costain and i3P
Mark Enzer, Mott MacDonald and Centre for Digital Built Britain
Dee Dee Frawley, Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, University of Cambridge
Chris Fry, Accelar
Janet Greenwood, KPMG
Fergus Harradence, Department Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy
Brittany Harris, Qualis Flow
Chris Hayes, Skanska UK
Charmaine Hughes, Manchester City Council
Dr Kat Ibbotson, Environment Agency
Dr Tercia Jansen Van Vuuren, LOR Centre, University of Cambridge
Dr Heleni Pantelidou, Arup
Dr Annette Pass, Highways England
David Pinder, Green Construction Board
Philip Sayer, Considerate Constructors Scheme
Dr Jennifer Schooling, Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, University of Cambridge
Anusha Shah, Arcadis
Sally Sudworth, Mott MacDonald
Hannah Vickers, ACE
James Wilcox, BE Sustainability
Peter Yates, Constructing West Midlands and National Association of Construction Frameworks