Morrison launches Net Zero Partners initiative

MORRISON Construction’s Building Central business has launched its new Net Zero Partners initiative, designed to help align its supply chain with the company’s ambitious environmental aspirations.

Representatives from more than 40 organisations attended the launch event at the Dakota Hotel EuroCentral to hear more about the contractor’s plans to support its supply chain partners on the journey to net zero carbon.

The Net Zero Partners programme aims to empower the supply chain to make proactive decisions about their own sustainability strategies and understand what is required to integrate their actions with those of Morrison.

The event began with a short introduction by Morrison Building Central’s recently appointed MD David Ewing, who highlighted Morrison Construction’s strong order book of low carbon projects, and expanding experience of Passivhaus delivery.

David Ewing

That was followed by presentations from Allan Smith (low carbon manager), Michal Komocki (managing quantity surveyor) and Phil Brickwood (project manager), who each outlined the key aspects of the programme covering everything from carbon literacy and reporting requirements through to the skills and quality processes that will increasingly be necessary on construction sites across the country.

Phil Brickwood

Speaking to Project Scotland ahead of the event, Allan Smith explained the importance of dialogue with the supply chain on how the business sees the journey to net zero developing over the next few years. He stressed it’s not about dictating to partners what they must do, but instead having that ‘first part of the conversation’ and embracing a joined-up approach to meeting net zero goals.

“We’ve identified the three key elements we think are going to be crucial,” Allan said. “We need to work together collaboratively with the supply chain – how do we understand what the carbon impact of our projects is and how do we calculate and influence that?

“The second (element) is upskilling generally. We’ll talk about what we’ve been doing internally to upskill our staff and we’ll be starting to suggest or link up the supply chain with some of the partner organisations that we’ve been working with such as The Passivhaus Trust, Supply Chain Sustainability School and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (now called Built Environment – Stronger Transformation).

Allan Smith

“The third is looking at our site processes. What does a low carbon site look like and what are some of the initiatives that have helped in terms of reducing waste, reducing reliance on diesel? We’ll be saying to the supply chain: ‘This is where we’re going with our sites and we’re looking for you to help us out and bring some ideas to the table as well’.”

Morrison hopes that by revealing the company’s strong pipeline of work over the coming years, supply chain partners will have the confidence to invest in the necessary training and software to help meet sustainability goals.

The contractor has adopted the One Click CLA carbon modelling calculator tool across its projects. Regardless of what software firms choose to utilise, there will be an increasing emphasis on the importance of providing measurable and accurate information around matters such as chain of custody for materials being supplied, operational energy carbon, and other whole life carbon.

Allan added, “What we’re saying here doesn’t apply tomorrow. It’s a bit of a long-term view. The projects we’ve got coming up will increasingly have these requirements on them and we will be looking for demonstrations of this in our tenders in due course.”

Through The Passivhaus Trust, Morrison has been putting its employees through the Passivhaus tradesperson certification course. Around 25% of staff – from the commercial team through to site personnel – are either certified or currently going through the process.

Michal Komocki

Allan believes that for the construction sector as a whole to succeed in meeting net zero goals, knowledge sharing, embracing new methods, and fostering a spirit of collaboration will be crucial.

He explained he was heartened by the response to the launch event, with the overwhelming majority of invitees taking up the offer to learn more about the company’s plans.

“We very much recognise that it’s not something you can do in a silo,” he added. “Certainly, the approaches that are going to be required or the quality requirements that come with low carbon projects, does really force us down that collaboration route.

“We invited 45 organisations to come along (to the Net Zero Partners launch event). We thought two thirds might be quite a good turnout, but 95% accepted and are making a real effort to attend. That is a good indication of the commitment from companies.”

A lively Q&A session followed the launch presentation, with attendees keen to know more about a range of topics including retrofitting, green steel, the role of cladding, embodied carbon, and the understanding that end clients have with regards to measures to reduce embodied carbon.

It was clear from the calibre of discussion that sustainability is top of the agenda for a number of businesses as the construction sector continues to play a crucial role in the quest to deliver a greener future.