Nearly 100 construction industry leaders from Europe, North America and Asia have helped set out an industry roadmap to decarbonise the construction value chain.

A new report by Shell and Deloitte entitled Decarbonising Construction: Building a Low-Carbon Future provides a value-chain assessment of the construction sector’s emissions and investigates the magnitude of emissions from ‘embodied carbon’.

Embodied carbon emissions are associated with materials, logistics and construction activities, the most challenging aspects of construction to decarbonise, which together accounted for more than 16% of global CO2 emissions in 2020 – equivalent to five times a major sector like aviation.1

The report also provides a detailed analysis of the economic, regulatory, and organisational barriers affecting the sector’s ability to decarbonise and presents a roadmap to decarbonisation which contains 15 solutions that the industry needs to adopt to reach net zero. These solutions have been developed jointly with industry leaders and highlight the importance of scaling existing solutions in addition to the importance of collaboration from stakeholders across the value chain to develop new solutions. These range from measures to encourage increased investment in low carbon technologies, to upskilling workforces and knowledge sharing, and the introduction of policies and regulations to incentivise the supply and demand of sustainable construction practices and solutions.

“The sector needs to start by accelerating the use of solutions that are available today while creating the conditions required to incentivise action and kickstart the adoption of new technologies."

Raman Ojha, vice president, Shell Construction and Road

Raman Ojha, vice president Shell Construction and Road, commented: “The sector needs to start by accelerating the use of solutions that are available today while creating the conditions required to incentivise action and kickstart the adoption of new technologies. Everyone across the value chain has an important role to play – Shell is ready to work together with its partners across the sector to develop low-carbon construction solutions and encourage more decarbonisation initiatives.”

The report emphasises the need for clear roles across the construction value chain, with all parties taking responsibility for aspects that they can directly influence. For example, construction companies can create demand signals for low carbon materials, and regulators, financiers, and asset owners can help create the incentives required for investment. Many of the solutions require participation from multiple stakeholders – with greater collaboration cited as key to decarbonising construction.