Major contractors and suppliers partner in pioneering project to develop real-time reporting of Scope 3 emissions

The automated work tackles Scope 3 emissions within the supply chain to alleviate construction’s contribution to global warming

Aggregate Industries UK, Balfour Beatty plc, Galliford Try and Morgan Sindall Group plc have joined forces with construction technology provider Causeway Technologies in a project to develop automated, real-time Scope 3 emissions reporting.

Scope 3 emissions are indirect carbon and greenhouse gas emissions that come from an organisation’s supply chain. In the case of construction, for example, this could include the embodied carbon from the production and transport of concrete, steel and timber.

Currently, the accurate measurement of Scope 3 emissions is increasingly seen as the biggest challenge to reduce the construction industry’s carbon footprint on the road to net zero.

Supporting the future

Speaking at Digital Construction Week, Dr Adam O’Rourke, Causeway’s emerging technologies consultant, explained that the construction industry has been grappling with the measurement of Scope 3 emissions for some time. Increasing pressure from regulators, investors and campaigners has added to the sense of urgency for a viable solution.

“At present, few construction product suppliers find it easy to provide consistent transaction-level data on the full carbon emissions of their products. This is why contractors are heavily reliant on using generic carbon calculators for estimating scope three emissions.

“Although these calculators are useful estimating tools, Causeway’s Scope 3 initiative is different. It provides contractors, for the first time, with an accurate, consistent and automated reporting tool that reflects the actual materials and products used, not just what was planned.

“More accurate reporting means better choices and lower risk for contractors. While it also means a competitive advantage for suppliers supporting their customers to meet their carbon reporting obligations with an automated solution, no further effort is required.”

Getting involved

In initial tests, Causeway was able to sample 25,000 invoices from Aggregate Industries, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and Galliford Try. The tests focused on materials with the highest carbon impact, making the system capable of addressing embodied carbon figures right down to line-level items.

Furthermore, Causeway and its partners are currently engaging with suppliers and contractors, as well as validating and testing elements of the software. The project is also being supported via a partnership engagement with the Engineering Department at the University of Bath.

Dr. Adam O’Rourke added that one of the biggest innovations on this project has been bringing together major contractors’ finance departments and sustainability teams.

“The detail and accuracy of existing financial reporting provides the level of information needed for transparent benchmarking, tracking and reporting on carbon emissions for ESG reporting. However, we found that this connection had not been made in many businesses, allowing the Scope 3 initiative to bridge this gap.”