Leading compliance expert Bureau Veritas has revealed that construction businesses looking to bid for UK government contracts worth more than £5m will need to step up their sustainability credentials as a new rule requires them to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – and demonstrate how they will manage their impact on the environment throughout the contract.

Earlier this month, the UK government announced it will require businesses to commit to net zero by 2050 and publish clear and credible carbon reduction plans before they can bid for major government contracts1.

A carbon reduction plan sets out where an organisation’s emissions come from and the environmental management measures that they have in place. Some large companies already self-report parts of their carbon emissions, known as Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect owned) emissions.

However, the new rules are set to go further, requiring the reporting of some Scope 3 emissions, including business travel, employee commuting, transportation, distribution and waste. Scope 3 emissions represent a significant proportion of an organisation’s carbon footprint.

Welcoming the new measures, Bureau Veritas, which has helped some of the world’s largest organisations improve their sustainability performance, has described the move as a ‘quantum leap’ for sustainability.

As such, the firm is pressing construction businesses to revisit, review and independently verify their environmental strategies in preparation of the upcoming changes, due to be implemented from September.

David Murray, Technical Director for Sustainability at Bureau Veritas, comments: “Considering the government spends more than £290 billion on procurement every year, these new requirements are a ‘quantum leap’ for sustainability across the UK.

“However, it also means that companies hoping to win these lucrative government contracts can no longer simply pay lip service to their environmental policy but instead must demonstrate a credible, robust and ambitious plan for achieving net zero carbon emissions.

“Ahead of these changes, firms that haven’t done so already will need to review their existing sustainability strategy and be confident about how they plan to reach net zero carbon emissions, which includes a focus on coherent data collection, reporting and action.

“Whilst this process can be inherently complex, the good news is as a third-party sustainability expert, at Bureau Veritas, we’ve built up specialist experience in supporting businesses with the sustainability credential in recent years – invaluable expertise which we’d urge all construction business to utilise now.”

Bureau Veritas has experience and technical expertise in helping some of the world’s largest organisations improve their sustainability performance in a number of sectors including food, pharmaceutical, financial and manufacturing. With a proven track record in verification of environmental, health & safety and social data, including conducting audits against the requirements of ISO 14064 Part 3, Bureau Veritas is also a GRI Community Member, an AA1000AS Licensed Provider and a UKAS accredited ISO 14064-1 Verification Body.

To find out more, call 0345 600 1828 or visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk