Connecting Contractors nationally, to Suppliers locally!

How To Address Scope 3 Emissions in the Construction Industry

Addressing Scope 3 emissions in the construction industry is an essential step towards sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of construction projects.

The construction industry has long stood as an emblem of progress, crafting the cities and structures that shape our modern world. However, this industry also casts a significant shadow on the environment, accounting for nearly 40% of global carbon emissions. Although attention has been directed towards reducing emissions from operational activities (Scope 1 and 2), the often-overlooked Scope 3 emissions present a colossal challenge demanding immediate action.

Construction needs to address Scope 3 emissions, which originate from sources beyond a company’s direct control but are linked to their activities. From the materials sourced to the transportation of goods, the industry’s footprint extends across the entire lifecycle of a project.

Understanding Scope 3 Emissions

When reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, organisations often divide emissions into three categories: Scope 1, 2, and 3.

Scope 1 emissions come from sources that an organisation owns or controls directly and include things like emissions that come from running boilers or driving vehicles.

Scope 2 emissions are indirectly made emissions, such as the energy used in a building.

What Are Scope 3 Emissions?

Scope 3 emissions cover emissions that an organisation is indirectly responsible for up and down its value chain. They are not produced by the organisation itself and they’re not the result of activities from assets owned or controlled by them.

Sources of Scope 3 Emissions in Construction

Scope 3 emissions in the construction industry originate from sources that are indirectly associated with a construction project but are essential components of its lifecycle. This can include:

  • Materials production & transportation
  • Supply chain
  • Construction operations, e.g. equipment & machinery or onsite energy usage
  • Transportation of workers & equipment
  • End-of-life demolition & disposal

The Impact of Scope 3 Emissions in the Construction Industry

Scope 3 emissions in the construction industry have a significant and wide-ranging environmental impact, contributing to various environmental challenges and sustainability concerns. The environmental impacts of Scope 3 emissions in construction include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Resource depletion
  • Energy consumption
  • Water use & pollution
  • Air pollution
  • Waste generation
  • Habitat disruption
  • Waste heat

Scope 3 emissions also have an economic and social impact, from cost and liability implications, to supply chain disruptions and health and wellbeing concerns.

Strategies for Addressing Scope 3 Emissions

By implementing a range of strategies that target emissions sources throughout the entire project lifecycle, the construction industry can begin to reduce Scope 3 emissions alongside its efforts to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Sustainable Material Selection

Choosing construction materials with a lower carbon footprint is one way of addressing Scope 3 emissions. For example, opt for recycled, reclaimed, or locally sourced materials.

Supply Chain Management

A construction company’s supply chain presents multiple opportunities for optimisation. Collaborate with suppliers to identify emissions reduction opportunities and prioritise local suppliers to reduce transportation-related emissions.

Digital Solutions

Digital procurement solutions are an invaluable tool for addressing Scope 3 emissions. We created The Build Chain to support local supply chains and increase the efficiency of construction procurement.

Energy-efficient design and construction, alongside appropriate waste reduction and recycling processes are other ways construction companies can commit to reducing their Scope 3 emissions. Construction companies could also look at their transportation and logistics: for example, encouraging workers to car share, use public transport, or cycle to work.

Learn More: How To Align Construction Procurement With Sustainability Goals

Addressing Scope 3 emissions is a key step in reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry. It requires a holistic approach that considers both the financial and societal aspects of construction projects. Sustainable construction practices that reduce emissions can contribute to economic growth, community well-being, and environmental stewardship.

By implementing strategies such as sustainable materials selection and supply chain optimisation, the construction industry can make significant progress in reducing Scope 3 emissions, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible construction industry.

The Build Chain is helping SME Contractors & Housebuilders procure materials and equipment more sustainability – find out how.

Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

Complementing, Not Replacing: How The Build Chain Adds Value to Buyers  

Next Post

Empowering Procurement Professionals: How Our Digital Procurement Platform Enhances Your Work Life, Not Replaces It

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read next