Developing an even better Route to Zero

July 2023
Last year we released an online interactive carbon footprint tool under the banner Plotting Our Route to Zero. It got noticed and people liked it — it was even a finalist for an ASBP Initiative Award 2023. Now it’s time to report progress so far … and do even better, to improve the tool and track the data more regularly.

Plotting our Route to Zero


To develop the tool, we looked at the way we operate and what we need to do to make a difference (as well as what the industry needs to do). We can influence our own working practices, and we can change the way we design and specify structures and infrastructure, and the materials used to create them.

We have seen progress in the last two years. One of the biggest internal changes is a shift in the types of projects that we work on, together with changes in the way we run projects. To help change our thinking, we run critical reviews of the sustainability aspects of projects. We have also widened our materials experience and capabilities, and stepped up on training for all our engineers.

And we have become more proactive — lobbying, taking part on panels, delivering talks, podcasting, hosting relevant events and generally jumping up and down — all in support of promoting more-sustainable design. We are currently co-funding a PhD research project at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath (part of the UK FIRES collaboration).


To build the Route to Zero tool, we had to make a series of assumptions (see the pdf download here). They were great initial points of reference. However, we have found the assumptions less useful over time, as changes to them are difficult to track and record. Increasingly, plotting ourselves against the original Route to Zero graph with updated Whitby Wood data is becoming inaccurate, and so, dishonest.

It is worth noting that we are not saying this because our calculated carbon emissions for 2022 are higher than expected! In fact, our 2022 total carbon emissions figure is around 28,000 tonnes, which is 10,000 tonnes less than we aimed for. A huge success, you might think. But we started this process to create something honest and transparent, to hold ourselves accountable.

So we are now reviewing our initial assumptions in order to create an improved, and even more accurate, Route to Zero tool — one that we can track our data against on a regular basis. It will take account of inflation and company growth, plus a variety of other factors, and will ultimately inform key company decisions … to ensure we stay on track to achieve zero carbon in 2035.

New improved interactive tool coming soon!