PAS 2080: Construction industry welcomes new guidance on carbon reduction in infrastructure

UK construction firms have praised the release of a new common framework for reducing carbon emissions when delivering infrastructure projects, which could mark a "key step-change" in supply chain sustainability.

PAS 2080 will be of use to all stakeholders responsible for delivering and managing infrastructure assets. Photo:  Duncan Symonds/Twitter

PAS 2080 will be of use to all stakeholders responsible for delivering and managing infrastructure assets. Photo: Duncan Symonds/Twitter

The British Standards Institution (BSI) recently published PAS 2080: 2016 Carbon Management in Infrastructure, which recognises the need for collaboration along construction industry value chains in order to manage and reduce the whole-life carbon associated with infrastructure development.

Developed following the Treasury’s Infrastructure Carbon Review in November 2013, the new specification essentially helps construction firms better understand the processes behind setting effective carbon-reduction targets and reporting on performance, and allows for the continual improvement of the carbon management practices of all stakeholders responsible for delivering and managing infrastructure assets.

As the first specification of its kind, PAS 2080 has this week been welcomed across industry, after more than 20 organisations - ranging from universities and rail networks to heavy industry and government bodies - contributed to its development.

“PAS 2080 and the guidance document will provide a real opportunity for everyone to get up to a common level and drive forward together in a way which should have a very real impact in terms helping the sector become more sustainable,” said Adrian Johnson, technical director of engineering technology firm MWH Global who sat on the PAS2080 advisory panel.

“Until PAS 2080, we didn't have a consistent way of setting up management processes, measurements and innovations to deliver carbon reduction that all organisations in the supply chain can get together in an integrated way and deliver. This will make it much easier for the whole supply chain to know what it needs to do and how to get there.”

Collaborate to innovate

By working collaboratively towards a common goal to reduce carbon, BSI believes infrastructure organisations have the power to tackle climate change, realise economic gains and promote innovation across the sector.

PAS2080 comes at a crucial time for the sector. According to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), around 10% of Britain’s emissions are associated with the manufacture of transport and construction materials, and the construction process.

Chris Broadbent, director of infrastructure at the Building Research Establishment (BRE), told edie that the new specification compliments a broader landscape of frameworks and standards that are supporting the industry in a collaborative effort to develop low-carbon, resource-efficient business models.

“PAS 2080 fits well into the wider picture,” Broadbent said. “The BRE also has the BREEAM and CEEQUAL sustainability rating schemes and carbon is just one part of those. But whether its PAS2080, BREEAM or CEEQUAL, it’s got to be a collaborative approach – you have to involve everybody at every stage of the process, and engage with every part of the supply chain.

“We saw it at the London 2012 Olympics, where collaboration and innovation helped to drive projects and deliver better outcomes – hopefully PAS 2080 can help to do the same.”

In 2013, the UK Government set a series of ambitious carbon reduction targets for the sector to reach by 2025. These include lowering construction costs and the whole life cost of built assets by 33%, lowering emissions by 50%, and delivering projects 50% faster. Later that year, major industry leaders joined with Government to sign the Infrastructure Carbon Review, which sets out a series of actions to reduce carbon from the construction sector by 2050.

But PAS 2080 does not cover national and sectoral policies covering infrastructure carbon management which, as the BSI reiterates, are the responsibility of governments and regulators.


The release of PAS 2080 comes less than a week after new research from marketing services business TomTom Telematics revealed that 75% of construction firms now operate a low-carbon or carbon reduction strategy.

One of those construction companies that is championing low-carbon business is Wolverhampton-based Carillion, which helped to fund PAS 2080 with the belief that lowering embodied carbon and working to common protocols would mark a “key step change in delivering industry-wide consistency”.

Carillion’s chief sustainability officer David Picton said: “Tackling carbon reduction is like tackling so many of society’s challenges – we’ll succeed only if we work together, share what we know and show what we’ve achieved.

“Fully committed to the Government’s Carbon Infrastructure Review targets, Carillion helped to shape and fund PAS 2080 because coherent methods and measurement are fundamental to cutting the Whole Life Carbon and cost of the UK’s key infrastructure projects.”

Find out more about the PAS 2080 specification here.

Luke Nicholls


BREEAM | carbon reduction | Infrastructure | low carbon


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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