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PAS 2080: The Implications for Procurement

PAS 2080: The Implications for Procurement

Author: Richard Howell, Group Head of Supply Chain

Carbon reduction is firmly on the agenda for the infrastructure sector, following the launch earlier this month of PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 2080. The standard is the world’s first specification for managing whole life carbon in infrastructure, and it sets out clear requirements for the whole value chain. 

As signatories to the Infrastructure Carbon Review, Costain has long been committed to reducing carbon from infrastructure assets. What PAS 2080 does is identifies where our roles and responsibilities lie, and what our customers will expect of us. The new standard gives us the responsibility not just to look for carbon efficient solutions, but also to correctly measure the impact of doing so.

We can only deliver meaningful reductions in carbon by collaborating with our suppliers early enough that we can make changes to the design to incorporate different materials or methods. We must work collaboratively with them so that we know what low carbon materials are in the pipeline and how they can benefit us.

Many of our suppliers also signed up to the Infrastructure Carbon Review, and have been undertaking programmes of their own to measure and manage their carbon. But many may not yet be aware of the requirements set out in PAS 2080.

We think our customers will soon be asking for PAS 2080-compliant projects, in which we will have to demonstrate that we have considered carbon in the choice of design and construction methods. To meet this requirement, we may have to help our supply chain understand how they can contribute, and to gain the skills they need. One thing we are planning to do is to add a new module to our Supply Chain Academy that specifically looks at the implications of the new standard. 

PAS 2080 will place a much higher emphasis on suppliers to provide data around carbon. But it also gives them an opportunity to drive low carbon products and services into our thinking. A great example is our highways project at Heysham, where we set Tarmac a 20% embodied carbon reduction KPI. Their design team came in to work with ours, and we were able to collaboratively design out more than 20% of embodied carbon.

We already work on the premise that, if we bring our suppliers in early enough, we can achieve innovative solutions. What PAS 2080 will do is ensure that we have carbon firmly on the agenda during those conversations. Whilst it is only a voluntary standard, we believe it will help drive the right behaviours.

Some large suppliers – for example those in concrete and steel – are aware of the carbon embodied in their products because they are involved in the EU emissions trading scheme. So they already try to reduce as much energy as they can in their production processes. But there is still much more we can do in terms of working together to drive carbon out of the design, and using alternative products.

The big incentive for our supply chain to develop more carbon efficient solutions is that by doing so they will be providing more compelling solutions which will assist in us collectively wining better quality work. However we must create the correct environment to allow us to work collaboratively with them if we are going to maximise such benefits.


To discuss PAS 2080 and the implications for procurement in your organisation, please get in touch [email protected]