Taking Action On Embodied Carbon

14 September 2021​,
By Joe Karten and Clare Gallagher

As more of the property industry takes action on meeting and exceeding sustainability targets in buildings, we’ve seen the materials supply chain and processes that enable us to calculate upfront carbon begin to evolve.
Head contractors occupy a privileged position when it comes to tackling upfront carbon across the industry. We act as a critical link within the broader supply chain – a lynchpin between clients and their aspirations and the materials that bring these to life.
By engaging the industry and bringing design and construct partners onboard to reduce upfront carbon, and amassing industry knowledge together, we increase capacity to set and achieve higher reduction targets.

A call to action for the industry

As an industry we’re more powerful when we work together to find solutions to reduce carbon emissions. This paper highlights the immediate steps that actors in our industry can take to get there quickly, such as:

1.Clients specifying upfront carbon reduction as a key success factor for the project team. This will leverage the creativity of the architect and structural engineer to challenge the status quo in design and start the project on a strong carbon reduction footing.

2.Clients empowering the builder to own the upfront carbon model. This will drive further improvements in design and incentivise procurement decisions that leverage the builder’s supply chain links to prioritise lower embodied carbon products.

3.Industry setting benchmarks for good performance based on Australian lifecycle inventory data. When we can define what good upfront carbon performance looks like for a range of building typologies, industry can start setting targets to motivate the entire supply chain towards carbon reduction.

5 steps for action to reduce embodied carbon on any project:

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Let’s work together