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.  

The accurate measurement of scope 3 emissions is increasingly seen as the biggest challenge to reducing the construction industry’s carbon footprint on the road to net zero.

Speaking recently at Digital Construction Week, Dr Adam O’Rourke, Causeway’s emerging technologies consultant, explained:

“The construction industry has been grappling with the measurement of scope 3 emissions for some time with increasing pressure from regulators, investors and campaigners adding to the sense of urgency for a viable solution. 

“But at present, few construction product suppliers find it easy to provide consistent transaction-level data on the full carbon emissions of their products, and so contractors are heavily reliant on using generic carbon calculators for estimating scope 3 emissions. 

“These calculators are useful estimating tools, but 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. It also means competitive advantages for suppliers who are supporting their customers to meet their carbon reporting obligations with an automated solution – no further effort is required. It really is ‘Scope 3 made easy’.”

The scope 3 initiative is well advanced in developing a software solution that can deliver a credible, verifiable, efficient and scalable way to measure scope 3 emissions in real-time, using invoice data automatically extracted from Causeway Tradex, the largest connected construction supply chain community in the UK. 

Invoices represent the actual materials and services consumed and quickly allow buyers and sellers to see the impact of the changes they make as they implement their net-zero strategies. Causeway Tradex already processes 6.7 million invoices from over 60,000 suppliers, amounting to billions of construction value. Using Causeway Tradex in this way, scope 3 emissions can be associated with specific projects and specific transactions, and emissions measured in real-time as a building or structure is constructed. 

In initial tests, Causeway was able to sample 25,000 invoices from Aggregate Industries, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and Galliford Try focusing on materials with the highest carbon impact. The system is capable of addressing embodied carbon figures down to line-level items such as tools and plant purchases, with the range of materials and products growing as the project matures. 

Causeway and its partners are currently engaging with more 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: “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, but we found that this connection had not been made in many businesses. The Scope 3 initiative bridges this gap.” 

To register for updates on the scope 3 initiative, go to: 

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