Supply chain barrier to net zero


23 February 2022

New research based on 100 senior executives of UK construction firms reveals that poor building material supply chains are the main barrier to achieving net zero.

Sustainable by design, by engineering consultancy Patrick Parsons, showed that despite the majority (85%) believing the industry is doing enough to reach net zero by 2050, there are significant barriers to achieving this target.

Over two thirds (68%) of respondents said that improvements to building material supply chains to reduce carbon would be critical to achieving net zero, followed by 63% who said that existing planning regulations need to change to support the sector if it is to hit this target.  Using alternative materials which have a lower carbon footprint is also a significant barrier to overcome for 62% of those questioned, followed by decarbonising existing buildings (59%) and the ability to collect data to measure carbon in buildings (48%).

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When asked about the impact of the focus on climate change because of COP26, 86% said that they believe it will accelerate positive advances in sustainability in the sector during 2022.

Conor Murphy, senior partner, structural engineering, at Patrick Parsons, said: “The UK construction industry is committed to reaching net zero by 2050 and is confident that this target will be met. However, this ambition is not without its challenges in terms of the materials used, the need for planning rules to change and the ability to decarbonise legacy buildings to improve their performance. Greater use of sustainable design and engineering in the planning of new developments will support the pathway to net zero.”

The research was conducted by Pureprofile in January 2022 with 100 senior executives of UK construction firms with over 100 employees. Read the report in full here.