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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information


Carbon Reduction Code for the Built Environment 

Read the Code here 


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.

There are three levels of compliance to the Code - PLEDGER, SIGNATORY, CHAMPION.

We encourage all organisations to sign up to PLEDGER level if they can. The Code is meant to be challenging so many organisations will first sign up at PLEDGER level and then work through to SIGNATORY and CHAMPION levels if/when possible. Others whose net zero carbon strategy is already quite mature will be able to sign up at SIGNATORY or CHAMPION levels right away. 

  • PLEDGER: This is the minimum level of compliance. All organisations must sign up to commitments 1.1 and 1.2 to be in compliance at a PLEDGER level.
  • SIGNATORY: To achieve a SIGNATORY level of compliance, organisations must sign up to 1.1 and 1.2 and all Core Commitments relevant to their organisation (Client 2.1, 2.2, 2.3) (Supply Chain 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4)
  • CHAMPION: To achieve a CHAMPION level of compliance, organisations must sign up to 1.1, 1.2, Core Commitments relevant to their organisation (Client 2.1, 2.2, 2.3) (Supply Chain 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4) and the Further Commitments relevant to their organisation (Client 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10) (Supply Chain 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8)

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


How to comply with the Code 

Organisations can submit an application to demonstrate compliance with the Code using the online form.  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 which have achieved Compliance will be listed on the Code website as ‘Organisations Complying with the Carbon Reduction Code’ at their level of compliance, PLEDGER, SIGNATORY, or CHAMPION, with the year for which their compliance is current.

If organisations achieving PLEDGER or SIGNATORY levels of compliance also comply with some of the ‘Further Commitment’ clauses relevant to their organisation, this will be acknowledged on the website. 

There is no cost for signing up to the Code. 

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.

Additional guidance and structures which may help you 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 programme and its nine priorities and the related signposting 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 September 2022
  8. HMG Green Book
  9. ICE Carbon Project
  10. Built Environment Carbon Database

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