Climate Action: Akerlof’s Carbon Blind Spots Report

Constructing Excellence

Carbon Blind Spots

On 11th June 2024, the Climate Action group came together to hear from Jamie Hillier, Partner at Akerlof, about their Carbon Blind Spots report.

About the Report

The Carbon Blind Spots report is a review of the Tier 1 contracting market, focussing on the top 30 contractors who represent a turnover of over £40 billion per annum.

While the information within the report is invaluable and effectively highlights the challenges construction faces in tackling the climate challenge, its important to remember that it can only tell us so much. We must bear in mind:

  • the report only examines Tier 1 Contractors, it leaves out major contributions from key players such as clients, designers, etc.
  • it represents a brief snapshot in time, the information recorded will be constantly shifting.
  • there is limited comparative data- the maturity of the contractors’ plans will vary, some may be at an early stage of their journey. This makes accurate comparisons tricky and hampers the ability to make definitive assessments.

However, this report does enforce the need for greater consistency and transparency within the industry to build more effective benchmarking but also to build pressure amongst peers in order to persuade others to begin making more positive changes.

Akerlof’s findings suggest a need for a cultural and behavioural shift, rather than just technological.

“As an industry we need to build and collect and show visible progress to create social momentum.”

Jamie Hillier


Read the full report here.

The Big Picture

The Built Environment plays a crucial role in the transition to Net Zero. According to UK GBC’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, the construction industry has reduced its emissions by around 30% in the last 20 years but most of that is primarily driven by operational cuts.

Current forecasts show that the sector is going to fall short significantly of the 2050 Net Zero target.

Therefore, its important, now more than ever, that the industry recognises its impact on the climate challenge and begins to make changes to improve the outlook for the future.




Moving Forward in Relation to Climate Action

So, how do we begin to make positive changes to deliver a brighter future for, not only the sector, but for society as a whole? The industry would benefit from

  1. Greater clarity and greater guidelines
  2. Greater consistency around reporting
  3. Greater standardization in data collection
  4. Scope 3 emissions definitions to be broadened slightly.
  5. Zero VAT ratings on energy saving materials and refurb.
  6. Reinforcement of behavioural shift
  7. Embodied carbon reduction strategies putting more effort into scope 3 emissions, but also workforce training and adopting digital literacy.

Organisational Actions

Akerlof recognise 4 areas for organisations to focus on in order create the cultural and behavioural shift needed to tackle the climate challenge.

  1. Governance
  2. Training
  3. Collaboration
  4. R&D

Whilst focusing on these key areas, organisations must also consider how to translate any actions they take to a project level.

Get Involved

The Constructing Excellence Climate Action group will be meeting again on Thursday 5th September. We’ll be releasing more information shortly but, in the meantime, book your space here.

Why not come along and get involved with some of our other groups too? Find out what events we have coming up here.