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Sustainability Team

Sweco UK


2023 saw the launch of the second edition of PAS 2080 – Carbon Management in Buildings and Infrastructure. The first edition came out in 2016 and developed a carbon management process aligned to the principal ‘reduce carbon, reduce cost’, following findings from the Infrastructure Carbon Review in 2013.

Sweco UK has a proud history embedding carbon management within projects, twice winning New Civil Engineer’s Low Carbon Leader Award. A large part of this recognition was demonstrating how Sweco UK had successfully embedded PAS 2080 on projects.

PAS 2080 has been an accelerator for carbon management in the sector, but seven years after its arrival there is an even greater need to minimise emissions on what we design and build as we strive towards our national net zero targets. This revision to PAS 2080 provides guidance and support on how we tackle carbon emissions in the built environment as we stive towards net zero.

There are some key changes to this edition which are briefly summarised below:

  1. Expanded Scope: The 2016 edition was solely focused on Infrastructure, whilst the new guidance includes Buildings to ensure there is a consistent carbon management process across the built environment.
  2. Control and Influence: There is greater clarity on the emissions that value chain members have the ability to control and influence. Rather than just seeking to minimise emissions you can directly control, consideration should be given to the wider benefits that could be achieved from what you can potentially influence.
  3. Whole Life Carbon: There is a greater emphasis on whole life carbon – the sum of all carbon emissions through a project’s lifetime, from construction, maintenance, use and end-of-life. Taking a whole life perspective will reduce the risk of burden shifting where mitigation in construction may accidently increase emissions elsewhere. This will ensure the most efficient solution over the asset’s lifetime will be taken forward.
  4. Other demands and co-benefits: Consideration is given to other demands and co-benefits that may come when considering Carbon. Although Carbon is the primary focus, it is important to consider other areas (e.g. climate resilience or biodiversity net gain) to ensure that the most advantageous solution is taken forward.
  5. Leadership and collaboration: Whilst these were key elements of the original edition, there is strong emphasis on leadership and collaboration. This will be key to ensure that carbon reduction targets are set early in the project and communicated with the value chain to ensure that carbon reduction achieved at all project stages.
  6. Procurement: There is a new section on the importance of procurement for ensuring that carbon reduction becomes contractual. This will ensure that between lifecycle stages the value chain are challenged to keep driving down carbon. Procurement can also be a useful mechanism where ‘reduce carbon, reduce cost’ may not hold true, to ensure that the most cost effective solutions to minimise carbon are taken forward.

With regards to procurement, Sweco UK has a featured case study within the new PAS 2080 Guidance Document where we demonstrate how procurement was a powerful tool to drive carbon reduction on the Cross Tay Link Road (CTLR) project. Sweco UK was able to demonstrate our ability to reduce carbon in design, then how we supported Perth and Kinross Council in embedding Carbon within procurement to challenge the supply chain to mitigate carbon further. This has led to another recognition with Sweco UK recently being named Carbon Champions by the Institute of Civil Engineers for our work on this project.

As we look to progress, in 2023, Sweco UK will begin the exciting journey to PAS 2080 accreditation. This will involve ensuring there is a consistent process to managing carbon across all our building and infrastructure projects, where we can demonstrate we are quantifying emissions, setting targets and reporting progress to minimise emissions.

To learn more about PAS 2080:2023 and how this can be applied on your projects – or to discuss the case study referred to above – please reach out to Gordon McGregor