Click here to download the sustainability report 2023

The urgency to mitigate the impacts of climate change has required a change in our approach to environmental sustainability. Members Equans highlight progress has been made in reducing coal use and adopting renewables, yet sectors like heat, buildings, and transport are still lagging.

Meeting the Climate Change Committee's Sixth Carbon Budget (2033-2037) requires a significant shift in how we heat, power communities, and get around. A range of low carbon measures, from heat pumps to energy-efficient lighting and EV adoption, offer support; but climate change can not be tackled in silos.

The pace of change varies across the UK's regions, necessitating tailored, whole-system solutions. Place-based decarbonisation has emerged as a promising strategy, recognising unique regional challenges and opportunities. It goes far beyond carbon reduction, envisioning a transformation of the built environments, economic landscape, and social dynamics.

Equans has developed a holistic, sustainable regeneration model integrating technical optimisation, blended funding, social impact maximisation, and legal and commercial innovation. This multifaceted approach aims not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to create lasting positive impacts on communities.

The strategy revolves around four interconnected solutions:

  1. Systems Optimisation: Focusing on optimising technical systems like low carbon infrastructure and renewable energy integration to accelerate the path to net zero.
  2. Blended Funding: Combining central government grants, local stakeholder capital, and private finance to ensure financial resilience and inclusivity in sustainability projects.
  3. Social Impact Maximisation: Placing community engagement at its core, tailoring solutions to address community needs, fostering environmental stewardship and social cohesion.
  4. Legal and Commercial Innovation: Reshaping legal and commercial frameworks to support decarbonisation efforts, prioritizing long-term sustainability.

Success is measured across three key dimensions - economically, environmentally, and socially; anticipating job creation, reduced carbon emissions, improved air and water quality, and enhanced community well-being.

Place-based decarbonisation is a community-driven transformation, envisioning resilient, thriving places that serve as models for a sustainable future.

Read more at Equans



Planning Portal is welcomed into the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development membership.

We are committed to attracting members from across value chains in the built environment, and the Planning Portal is providing us with a critical link to Planning and Planning data through this partnership.

Sarah Chilcott, Managing Director, says:

'We are thrilled to be a part of this esteemed group of leaders and innovators from the built environment sector who all share a common goal of creating a more sustainable future for all."

The UK planning process is crucial in supporting a more sustainable future for the built environment. Planning decisions can influence the type, location and design of new developments, which, in turn, can impact energy efficiency, carbon emissions and local wildlife habitats.

Our Chair Jason Longhurst comments,

"Planning Portal's involvement in UKREiiF, as part of their membership offer, provided a link to the wider components needed to create a more sustainable future, and make sure that we are seeing the whole picture when coming up with solutions."

By ensuring that sustainable principles are incorporated into planning policy and decisions, the UK can pave the way for a more environmentally-friendly and resilient built environment. Including these important planning considerations can lead to benefits such as improved air quality, increased biodiversity and reduced carbon footprint.

We are delighted to have Planning Portal on board.  Read more on their website.

Bradford Council with its partners and communities, is taking forward ambitious plans for the transformation of the District and city centre.  Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council explains.

We are proud to be a member of  the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development UKBCSD and partner in the UKREIIF Beyond Net Zero Pavilion for the second year. We have much to showcase and promote throughout the three days and look forward making every contact and conversation count.

Gearing up to be the next UK City of Culture and Bradford 2025 is now attracting attention, private sector partnership and investors to the District. In partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority we've started to invest in key schemes including preparations for the 126 hectare Southern Gateway regeneration site. These are:

All this builds on the £50m Clean Air Zone (CAZ) and a privately-backed £40m 1Energy district heat network, which is now under construction.  Yorkshire Water and  Keyland are progressing the substantial Esholt site as an exemplar sustainable development scheme and expect to be onsite in 2024. We are committed to sustainable development: to effective regeneration, climate and environmental action that has real social and economic value. Our clean growth ambition is central to the delivery of a sustainable, inclusive and resilient economy that works for everyone.

To enhance the Council's ability to work positively with investors and the private sector we have made some key  senior level executive appointments. These include:

Through our regeneration plans and these changes in leadership we are seeking to transform the opportunities for commercial success and for the most disadvantaged in our society; creating greater prosperity for our communities and businesses.  These outcomes are consistent with the Government’s “Levelling Up” objectives as we shape a clean,  high-growth economy and consolidate our position as the UK’s leading clean growth city district.

The critical elements to unlocking the true potential of our city centre now revolve around the delivery of the new rail station including a through line connection and prominent residential schemes within the Southern Gateway regeneration area. 

On the rail station, more productive discussions with  Network Rail, the Department for Transport (DfT), DLUCH and HMT are taking place to build the case for incorporating a through station for Bradford into the plans for delivering the infrastructure needed for the whole of the North to succeed.

Our  focus is now on demonstrating the additionality the new station provides by transforming connectivity to cities in the North and Midlands and integrating it into our economic and spatial plans for the Southern Gateway.  This will create significant benefits for the investment viability of our city centre residential, office and retail schemes, as well as enhancing the experience for rail passengers and redefining the perceptions of Bradford.

Alongside our District Economic Partnership, a dedicated  Southern Gateway Board  has been created, with Nigel Foster appointed as Chair, and consisting of Homes England, DfT, Network Rail, DLUHC, Civic Leaders and other key regional stakeholders and experienced regeneration leaders. In addition, we have also commissioned a team of expert consultants - led by WSP - to develop a delivery framework for the Southern Gateway regeneration scheme (126ha) and this work is now moving at pace.

We are shaping  our City Village proposal to be a test bed for C21st city living. We are now moving forward with the process to work with a private sector development partner. We have also recently completed the £15m acquisition of the Kirkgate Shopping Centre. Bradford City Centre features within the Strategic Place Partnership being created with Homes England and West Yorkshire Combined Authority and we look forward to working in partnership with them on housing growth and sustainable development opportunities.

We are currently part way through commissions to prepare detailed Development Frameworks for Bradford South/East/West and moving our attention up through the Aire Valley to Shipley, Bingley, Keighley and Ilkey. This work is set to identify and prioritise key  interventions and investment opportunities for our pipeline of growth sites and schemes. The whole district is open for business and will be involved in our year of Culture in 2025.

We are committed to effective public-private partnership  and to enabling the conditions for investment in one of the truly great Northern cities and across our whole District.

Our Invest in Bradford team are all set to  deal with your enquiries at UKREiiF so please get in touch via

Hosting the Beyond Net Zero Pavilion for the second year running is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our members and celebrate the wider work already happening across the built environment sector.

Each day of our exciting programme kickstarts with a national keynote speaker. Throughout each day, we showcase the best innovators, leaders and partners shaping the UK's green economy and sustainable future. Public, private and third sectors will come together over the three days to showcase in partnership, bringing us some interesting and provocative thoughts and content.

Read the news release

We had one of the highest footfalls of all Pavilions in 2022, and we are back bigger and better this year, with a larger space, networking area and a series of lunches, presentations and keynotes.

Here are some highlights;

Chris Skidmore MP reveals all about his Net Zero Report.

Chris Skidmore MP is joining the Pavilion on Thursday 18 at 10.30 am to discuss his recent Net Zero Report - hear first-hand what's coming next.

The CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank joins us on Tuesday 18 10.30-11.15, to talk about the Power of Sustainable Growth – Energy, Infrastructure and Economy. 'In conversation with' Our Chair Jason Longhurst.  This is high-level session that explores w the UK should be powering regeneration and delivering sustainable infrastructure for a more inclusive economy.

Mayor Marvin Rees opens the Pavilion and sets the challenge for the 3-days 9.20

Prologis leads a panel exploring the role the property sector can play in delivering Net Zero for the UK, focusing on the decarbonisation of construction and delivering renewable energy solutions at scale, 11.30-12.15

Our partners are giving best practice talks and insights throughout the three days. 

Keyland Developments will discuss the challenges in sustainable Innovation and Clean Growth and how to understand the total value and impact of projects.

Inspired Plc will take over a session on Tuesday at 3.15 to discuss best practices in Net Zero buildings and how to make your ideas become a reality.

Sir Robert McAlpine presents the opportunities and challenges in an exemplary case study on building sustainable communities and creating value – Lessons from Springfield Village.

Bradford Council take over Thursday will be packed with why investment and culture are intrinsically linked and celebrate being City of Culture 2025 - look out for City leaders discussing big topics and challenges on sustainable communities, culture and growth, and some eye-catching and mouth-watering cultural experiences happening on Thursday afternoon. This is the place to be on Thursday.

Watch for further updates on keynotes and event sessions as we lead the next generation of growth in the UK that will shape all sectors, industries and communities.  

We are also launching our Inaugural research report; The Economic Opportunity for a Sustainable Economy.

We have a specific session in the Pavilion where we will also launch it to the sector.

You can join us for lunch at this official event on [SOLD OUT]

17th May 12.15-1.30 - register Here

Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for updates, and use the hashtag #BeyondNetZero to search for our content and join the conversation.

We're excited about this event and have put a lot of effort into curating a fantastic programme of talks, showcases and mini-events inside the Pavilion for attendees. We're looking forward to seeing you there.


Thanks to our partners and sponsors: Inspired PLC Sir Robert McAlpine and KeyLand Developments Ltd with Bradford Council and Prologis, CBRE and Planning Portal.

If you are interested in becoming a Member of UKBCSD, please contact ​​


Member Simon Richards, Sustainability Director at Sir Robert McAlpine, outlines the risk of not having a joined up political stance on Net Zero and how industry can step up to the challenge to make a difference.

When hosting COP26 in 2021, our policy makers led a drive to position the UK as a world leader in green technologies and the climate transition. However, whilst the UK achieving Net-Zero Carbon (NZC) by 2050 is a legally binding target, delivering on that ambition may be hampered by the reality of implementing effective climate-friendly government policies.

Much of the post-COP26 momentum was clouded by the political uncertainty of the last year, and for those of us working in the built environment, this translates to uncertainty over the future of the legislation regulating our sector. Yet, with the construction industry responsible for 25% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), we cannot afford to let this uncertainty continue. The construction industry has a significant task ahead to play its part in achieving NZC.

An issue such as climate change – long term, and presenting challenges to us all – requires a response that overcomes existing divisions of party and political terms. Moving forward, we must collaborate to find a way to overcome the challenges GHG emissions present and work towards a better future for us all.

A cross-party initiative
Creating a sustainable society and combatting climate change will require the ability to plan and make investments for the long term. The ever-changing political cycle is not a natural fit to drive this forward: over the last year, the UK’s sustainability commitments have varied considerably and become a political battle ground, depending on the opinions of the Prime Minister and changing cabinet.

This creates an enormous amount of risk for the successful delivery of sustainable infrastructure. Without an idea of the future legislative environment and the Government’s agenda, investments could become obsolete – hardly a helpful backdrop for stakeholders to promote and implement innovations that could lead to a more carbon-friendly built environment.

Individual players and sector-wide organisations may drive forward future-thinking practices. At Sir Robert McAlpine, for example, we are members of The UK Business Council for Sustainable Development (UKBCSD). Yet without Government support these attempts can become fragmented. That is why building a cross-party consensus established to focus on climate change could help unite the private and public sector under a clear direction without the constraints of political terms or divisions. Government could design policy with a long-term view, and safely invest resources in producing the sector roadmaps to ensure NZC targets are delivered.

Bolstering ambition
At present, climate and sustainability focused policies can be seen as too simplistic, preventing them from being effective at the pace we need to meet the climate challenge.
For example, in November, the Environment Act’s Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements will come into effect. Yet the BNG requirements fail to take into account regional disparities. Developers must provide at least 10% BNG for their projects, and for places with low existing biodiversity, such as some urban environments, this will be easy to achieve. For projects in rural areas, the targets present a far more significant challenge.

It's time to move past sweeping policies, where the industry is left to fill in the gaps about effective implementation. If the private sector were to join a cross-party climate coalition, all stakeholders could collaborate to develop realistic roadmaps to achieve climate targets at the necessary pace with fair, shared ownership of the risk and opportunities involved.

A sustainable industry relies on clear climate policy
In looking for directional climate policy, The UK is not wanting for precedent. For example, whilst we currently lack targets on the carbon emissions of new builds, France and the Netherlands have already implemented these policies. Its time our sector had its own policy north star – such as the Net Zero Carbon Building Standards – which could set clear and attainable goals to work towards.

Sustainability is more than just carbon emissions – it is biodiversity, the circular economy and achieving social value within the communities where our projects are based. A sustainable construction sector consists of many intersecting factors, so it is fitting that an adequate response would require we work together, a variety of perspectives from public and private sectors, to identify the most beneficial and efficient way to achieve it.

Only recently the pandemic demonstrated we are capable of extraordinary measures to handle extraordinary circumstances and solving the environmental challenges we face will be no different. It’s time to take a different approach to sustainability. Without politics in the equation, we can focus on the plans we need.


Sir Robert McAlpine is a member of  UKBCSD.  If you would like to become a member then please contact us.

Inspired Plc's Georgina Penfold highlights the importance of having an overarching framework when it comes to sustainable outcomes in real estate and construction - and how Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can support this.

Our lives take place within a frame our built environment forms: Homes, workplaces and communities. They are fusions of unique social, environmental and economic factors acting in constant flux with each other and our planet that is being fundamentally reshaped by climate change.

This sets a stage where construction and real estate industries influence the course of humanity, from ensuring buildings can withstand changing climate, use less resources and co-exist with the changing natural environment.

Like any construction project, this needs to happen within a credible, mutually agreed framework that operates beyond short-term gain, such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, an interlinked blueprint for countries to create peace and prosperity for our planet.

When examining Sustainable Development Goals together with the construction and real estate industries, a natural first focus is the multidimensional development opportunities within Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. From resilient transport systems, waste management and water sanitation, the interlinking strands of this development goal bring the collective power of individual targets together.

However, the influence of construction and real estate industries extend beyond the first glance. These industries require vast natural and human resources. The power of these requirements is realised when decisions are made on how they are used.

Choices of materials, reducing the embodied energy in building materials and the energy consumption of the building, protecting natural habitats during and after the construction phase are just examples of decisions that affect the impact an individual project has on the community surrounding it.

New skills, solutions and versatility are needed in the face of our changing built environment. Old buildings must be altered to reflect current standards and the environmental impacts of existing buildings must be reduced.

All this creates a need for a diverse and specially trained workforce, whether young people at the beginning of their career or those whose careers are being transformed by the changing landscapes within their specialities.

Again, the influence goes beyond first glance. Every decision, whether about materials, hiring staff or associating with a partner, is connected to a wider supply chain which can reach the other side of the world: Countries that are all interconnected by a shared ambition to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

Furthermore, these industries create opportunities for fulfilling work where human rights are respected while contributing to economic growth, innovation and inclusive industrialisation. Human life continues to take place around the built environment, and the industries that contribute towards them play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable world for us all.

To be ahead of the challenges on our and future generations’ ability to meet their needs, all industries must collaborate. Just one example of this is that every building must be heated and powered sustainably.

As a leading utilities and sustainability consultancy, Inspired PLC wants to act as an agent of this necessary societal change. We support organisations of every size and sector on their unique decarbonisation journeys, whether this means finding ways for their estate to become more energy-efficient, mapping out their carbon footprint or reducing their emissions across their entire supply chain. Think of a critical friend, who wants you to make informed decisions.

This is not all we are, however. Inspired wants to contribute towards the global drive to reach Sustainable Development Goals across the environments where our lives take place, our homes, schools and workplaces.

That’s why we have created SDGMe, an app which allows you to track how you contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals every day in these environments.

When living our everyday lives, it’s easy to think that progress towards sustainable development happens out of an individual’s reach.

However, every action has an impact. When we take a moment to reflect and retrace our steps, we can see that our every decision made today echoes to tomorrow.

I turned off the tap while brushing my teeth. I turned off the lights when leaving the room. I picked up litter on my way home. Even though small actions, all of them contribute towards Sustainable Development Goals.

Once we realise the impact these actions carry, the decision about taking them becomes an informed one.

As individuals we are more powerful than we think. When these efforts come together to form a community, we are even stronger.

As proud members of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development, we showcased SDGme in the Beyond Net Zero Pavilion at UKREIIF 2023.