Turner & Townsend warns against compromising net zero goals in face of economic pressures

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A new report from Turner & Townsend has revealed that the threat of recession should not prompt construction firms to compromise on their sustainability goals.

In its Autumn 2022 UK Market Intelligence report (UKMI), the professional services company said it recognised that the coming months could see some clients ‘pause, defer or scale back’ projects, or ‘scrutinise cost savings’ before deciding to proceed.

Andy Outram, director for Scotland at Turner & Townsend, said, “Given that the most modern, energy-efficient technology and materials are rarely the cheapest, there’s a danger that this desire to cut costs now may lead the construction industry – and clients across Scotland – to rein in their sustainability ambitions. Preventing this will require many changes in approach but rational, whole life decision-making and the sector coming together to drive the efficiencies needed to keep its net zero agenda on track is an important part of this.”

Given the current squeeze on the sector, Turner & Townsend is reiterating the importance of boosting productivity and strengthening business cases for investment in net zero.

The report recommends clients follow several tactics, including sustainable procurement approaches, keeping project team structures and processes lean, fostering a digital-first culture across the supply chain, accurately measuring embodied carbon alongside construction cost, and operating a programmatic approach to align all of these goals.

Andy Outram added, “Recent evidence from several public sector capital expenditure programmes show it is achievable to reduce costs while keeping on track for net zero. The returns on investment for energy efficient technologies and retrofit projects are better than ever, and improving day by day as we learn how to approach aspects of construction in a different manner, and the supply chain produces more sustainable and modern materials for use, together with an increasing workforce who understand new practices and processes.

“We can make construction processes and procurement more sustainable while keeping costs in check with the right blend of expertise and technology. It is about turbocharging productivity and allowing decision-makers to strike the right balance between short-term costs and long term economic and social value.”

To read the full report, visit https://marketintelligence.turnerandtownsend.com/ukmi-q3-2022-autumn/