The construction industry has a significant indirect impact on green house gas emissions through the use of energy and large volume carbon intense materials such as concrete and ferrous metals products like reinforcing bars and beams. In addition, the built environment is a significant consumer of energy and thus indirectly responsible for a significant proportion of the green house gas emissions emitted by the power generation sector.
Challenges and opportunities
The built environment accounts for approximately 40% of all energy consumption worldwide and contributes approximately 30% of the world´s man-made (anthropogenic) greenhouse gas emissions.
Typically the ratio of emissions is about 80% during the operational lifetime of a building with the remainder emitted during manufacture of materials of construction (circa 15%) and the construction process itself (circa 5%). However, as we construct more energy efficient buildings this ratio is changing and more focus will be on materials of construction and the construction process.
An extensive review of risks and opportunities was prepared by Skanska for the Carbon Disclosure Project Read more>>
Policy and strategy
Skanska’s approach to carbon is to focus on things we can directly control and directly influence.
Our Environmental Policy states that “We will …….reduce emissions of gasses associated with Climate Change. Where reduction is not possible, as a last resort we will balance our own emissions using reputable means”.
Strategic direction is informed by our Environmental Policy. The Color Palette™ defines external products and services for our customers. Both have been shaped by recognition of the need to reduce the carbon emissions associated with the built environment. It reflects Skanska’s desire to exploit new opportunities created by the need to adapt and mitigate in response to climate change. The Environmental Strategy and the Color PaletteTM contain short and longterm actions that have been influenced by these risks and opportunities.
Since 2008 we have been developing expertise to reduce carbon emissions by:
Increasing energy efficiency in the construction process and in the operation of the completed projects
Increasing fuel efficiency in the construction process, e.g. logistics and fuel use on site
Identifying the means to select construction materials that can demonstrate a lower carbon footprint, provided they meet necessary technical and economic requirements
As part of our commitment to reduce emissions Skanska is engaging with several external organizations:
Since 2006 Skanska has sponsored the UNEP Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative (SBCI). In 2010/2011 Skanska took part in pilot testing the Common Carbon Metric & Protocol, developed to provide globally applicable measurements and reporting of energy use in and green house gas emissions from existing portfolios of buildings.
Skanska is a founding member; only construction company and only Nordic member of the EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (EUCLG), a coalition of companies formed to support EU policymakers by promoting a progressive agenda on energy efficiency and climate change. Amongst many deliverables, the EU CLG has published the Low Carbon Compendium to demonstrate how the activities of some of the world´s largest companies are contributing to the delivery of a low climate risk economy. The EU CLG has launched Communiqués prior to the COP meetings and has also developed the Atlas project, a toolkit to work together with schools to reduce their carbon emissions.
Skanska is a member of ENCORD (European Network of Construction Companies for Research and Development) which has developed the ENCORD CO2 Measurement Protocol. Skanska has actively assisted the promotion of the protocol to WBCSD and WRI to encourage the development of a sector specific protocol for measurement and reduction of carbon emissions to mitigate the impact of the Construction sector.
Skanska is a signatory of the UN Global Compact’s Caring for Climate Initiative. As a signatory we are committed to actions to progress our climate related activities. These include practical actions to reduce energy usage, have long-term strategy and goals, introduce innovative solutions and work with politicians and policy-makers.
We started to proactively focus on carbon in 2008 and reported examples of progress in our annual Sustainability Reviews for 2008,2009 and 2010. For Business Plan 2011-2015 we have taken this one step further by positioning carbon as one of four key components of the Skanska Color Palette and our Journey to Deep Green™.
View our carbon footprint case studies:
In 2010 and 2011, Skanska was the Top construction company, Nordic Region, in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Leadership Index.
CDP Nordic Report 2010
CDP Nordic Report 2011
Green Strategic Indicator (GSI)
For Business Plan 2011-2015 a set of seven GSIs were agreed by the Senior Executive Team as a means of monitoring environmental progress.
The GSI for carbon is “the number of projects that have been submitted to a Preliminary Carbon Footprint” using proprietary tools developed by Skanska based on the WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Each Business Unit reports annually the result to the Skanska AB Senior Executive Team.