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CENE Climate Group champions North East construction companies on journey to Net Zero

The Climate Group, part of Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE), is championing construction companies on their journey to Net Zero.

CENE members with support from the Climate Group, can calculate their carbon footprint and put in place a reduction plan.

During 2023, CENE is developing a carbon reduction plan in line with the Group’s aims, using the SmartCarbon Calculator.

In 2021, CENE partnered with SmartCarbon, to offer companies in the construction sector a rolling programme of activity to reduce their carbon emissions. The Decarbonising North East England Construction Programme includes training, measurement activity and sharing of best practice to develop an industry framework for a net zero future.

The SmartCarbon Calculator enables organisations to calculate, report and, therefore, reduce their carbon footprint. The process is based on the internationally recognised Greenhouse Gas Protocol and uses the latest UK Government conversion factors and international energy agency factors, where relevant.

The programme is also in line with the OneVoice action plan, which aims to build a successful, sustainable and inclusive construction industry, equipped with the people and technology to deliver a carbon neutral built environment by 2050.

OneVoice was launched by the Construction Industry Council North East (CIC), Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE), Construction Alliance NorthEast (CAN) and Generation for Change (G4C), as a rallying call to the region to become a beacon of best practice focusing on three key themes – climate, value innovation and people.

Catriona Lingwood, chief executive, Constructing Excellence in the North East, “Alongside CENE, the Climate Group is working with SmartCarbon to help the region’s construction industry to act by measuring, reporting and reducing organisations and the industry’s carbon footprint.

“However, in order to encourage all CENE members to calculate their carbon footprint as a group, we need to establish what the ‘bigger picture’ looks like currently. Breaking down members into what size their company is, which tier or category they fall into and their turnover.

“Once categorised, we will look to develop an online survey or questionnaire to understand what stage their company is at. A similar survey can be developed for new joining members of CENE and, for those who are at the stage to develop a carbon reduction plan, we can send, or make readily available, the carbon reduction template, to show the information that is required.

“For members who are just starting their carbon journey, we will continue to collaborate and recommend the use of the SmartCarbon portal, which is an easy tool for businesses to use and will give the necessary specialist support mechanism to begin inputting their data.”

Lee Francis, chair of the Climate Group, said: “It is our ambition to support members with their decarbonisation journey. Many are on their way and others may not be sure where to start. Constructing Excellence in the North East is leading by example and is being supported by the Climate Group and SmartCarbon to monitor their own progress.

“In line with the ambitions of OneVoice, our aim is to support the sector and we will do this by showcasing best practices, collaboration with like-minded organisations such as Net Zero North East England and North East England Climate Coalition. We will look to create a support plan (forum) on the CENE website to allow for general discussion and to discover and support what company’s find the most challenging part of the journey to Net Zero.”

Heidi Mottram CBE, co-chair of Net Zero North East England, said: “It is wonderful to see the construction industry in our region rolling out initiatives like The Smart Carbon Calculator and One Voice which support the North East’s transition to a greener economy and society, in turn protecting and enhancing our natural environment and improving quality of life for all who live, work, learn and visit here. We’re looking forward to working closely with the Climate Group to support the sector’s net zero journey over the coming years.”

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