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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information

Q. Is there a cost to sign up to the Code?

It is free to sign up to the Code.

Q. Can part of an organisation sign up to the Code? i.e. the UK office of a global business

Organisations can sign up at a global, national, regional or other level. The level of the organisation’s sign up must be clearly stated on the form.

Q. How long after submitting a completed form will my organisation be notified that we have met the requirements for compliance to the Code at the Pledger, Signatory or Champion level?

We will confirm compliance as soon as possible with an aim to reply within 30 days of receiving a completed form.

Q. The Code is on the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction website. Is this just for infrastructure organisations?

The Code is relevant to organisations working throughout the built environment. Although the Code currently sits on the CSIC website, it was developed by the cross-industry cross-government Achieving Net Zero Working Group which was convened by CSIC.

Q. Is the Code intended for public sector projects only?

The intent is that the Code be taken up for private sector projects as well as public sector.

Q. Do you have a definition for net zero carbon, and is it aligned with the SBTi net zero standard?

Our definition of net zero carbon aligns with UN definition and the UK Government’s legislation and Net Zero Strategy reducing emissions by 2045 (we are using the Scottish Government’s commitment to 2045) by reducing emissions to as close to zero as possible, with the small amount of remaining emissions absorbed through natural carbon sinks with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This approach is aligned with the SBTi Net Zero Standard.

Q. What are your expectations for the level of target needed by 2030, or does this depend upon the company?

We encourage an ambition for emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) to be reduced by at least 45% by 2030 in order to reach net zero by 2045. However, this is not a requirement of the Code. The baseline would be 2021 emissions levels OR the first year post 2021 for which organisations have verified and reported data. If an organisation has adopted an earlier baseline year, targets can be adjusted accordingly. But, we hope that most organisations will have a more ambitious target than a 45% reduction.

Q. How does the Carbon Code align with the ConstructZero Performance Framework as both are branded CLC and CO2nstructZero?

Please see the PDF below which explain the alignment between the Code and the Performance Framework.

Q. Our organisation is keen to understand what level we can commit to as we have a broad range of projects and activities. Can we get a steer from you on what level we are currently at?

Several organisations have completed the Code compliance spreadsheet and submitted it for review before submitting a formal compliance form. This enables a conversation about where more information is needed or if there are any issues around compliance. The spreadsheet is avaiable on the Code sign up page. 

Q. Will there be any penalties imposed on organisations that sign up to the Code but fail to comply with their commitments? What may those penalties be, and how will they be imposed?

Compliance with the Code is assessed annually from the date of an application being accepted. At the end of the year, each organisation will be assessed according to the requirements/commitments of the current issue of the Code (currently Issue 3.0 May 2023).  It is expected that an organsiation will meet all commitments for the level of sign up sought and show a reduction in emissions on the previous year in line with its published plan to meet net zero by 2045 and its interim target to reduce emissions by 2030. If an organisation fails to meet this reduction after one year, it will be issued a warning. If it fails to meet its commitments after two years it will be struck off the list of organisations in compliance with the Code. No other penalties will be imposed. Moving forward we understand that in any given year it may not be possible to show a reduction in emissions but over time the trajectory must be in line with the published plan.

Q. Where will the names of organisations in compliance with the Code be displayed?

Names of organisations in compliance with the Code will be displayed on the Code pages of the CSIC website.

Q. Is there additional support for supply chain members?

The Supply Chain Sustainability School, working in collaboration with CSIC and its Code Advisory Group, have mapped some of the essential materials and resources that organisations will find useful to navigate their way through demonstrating compliance with the Code.

Organisations can find the resource on the School's website here.  In order to access this and other School resources users must sign up to the School as individuals or through their organisation.

Q. Consultancies can, at any moment in time, have thousands of live projects across multiple sectors, all lifecycle stages and geographies across the world. It would not be practical to demonstrate a detailed or verified metric at every lifecycle stage for all of our projects. Does Code Commitment 3.3 require 100% compliance across all projects?

No, the evidence provided for Commitment 3.3 just needs to show that the organisation is endeavouring to ‘proactively recommend carbon measurement and adoption reduction methodologies on all their projects’. One way to demonstrate this is through your company policies and, for instance, adoption of something like the Value Toolkit  

Q. Can you provide more information on offsetting?

A useful resource is the following report and accompanying resources by The Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Research Programme: Achieving Net Zero carbon emissions: a review of the evidence behind carbon offsetting

Q. The current version of the Code is Issue 3.0 May 2023. When will the Code be reissued?

The Code is expected to be reissued in early 2024. Organisations must be in compliance with the current issue of Code at the time of sign up. Recognition of compliance applies for one year from the date of sign up. 

Q. If the Code is updated near our annual renewal date, which version of the Code is relevant?

The Code is updated periodically as relevant policies, guidance or other new information is published.  After a Code reissue there is a 3 month grace period for existing Code compliant organisations who are coming up for annual renewal. These organisations can choose to be assessed against the previous or current version of the Code at the time of renewal. You can download the previous version of the Code (Issue 2021:2) here.

New applications will be assessed against the current version of the Code at the time of application.    

Q. What has changed between the previous Issue 2021:2 and the latest Issue 3.0?

Please see here for a marked-up version of the latest issue which highlights the changes.

Q. How do we demonstrate compliance with the Carbon Code at our organisation’s annual renewal date?

For PLEDGER level, we require that you have reported on your annual carbon emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) since your last renewal date (or initial approval date). This should be reported publicly, and you should show that you are meeting your carbon reduction targets and are on track both to reach your interim target by 2030, and to reach net zero by 2045. 

For SIGNATORY and CHAMPION levels, as well as the above, you also need to update us on the additional commitments made in your initial application, by updating your answers to the questions in the application form.