Carbon Reduction Code for the Built Environment – A Case Study

Why did you sign up to the Code and what benefits did it bring?
Interclass has a history of sustainability achievements but acknowledges a responsibility to keep
doing more. Our organisation was made aware of the Carbon Reduction Code as a contractor
partner on the Constructing West Midlands (CWM) framework. At this point, Interclass had
already started its carbon journey by publicly launching its Roadmap to Zero Carbon which maps
a clear route to making zero-carbon ‘business as usual’ by 2030. Becoming one of the first six
signatories to the Code provided a rubber stamp to our stakeholders – which made signing-up a
priority for us.

Not only has joining created a mechanism for Interclass to demonstrate its sustainability
credentials but having our plans and targets independently verified and audited is helping to
accelerate our carbon reduction journey. We believe that good intentions and carbon-offsetting
alone are not enough. Instead, we focus on assessing and systematically removing carbon from
our office and on-site operations, following our Roadmap to Zero Carbon and working with a
number of companies, including Zellar, to monitor our carbon activities and compile a
quantifiable reduction plan.

What challenges did you face in signing up to the Code? How did you address/overcome them?
To be compliant with the Code, Interclass had to demonstrate and publish its plans to meet Net
Zero by 2045, with clear targets in place to be published annually. For organisations not
measuring their carbon footprint, this commitment can appear quite daunting, if not
unachievable. There’s a lot of information and guidance out there but it can be difficult to know
where to start, especially for smaller companies.

The first step for us was finding a platform where Interclass could measure its emissions to be
able to benchmark ourselves and set realistic targets for the future. Once that was in place, the
organisation could consider what action to take. This is where the Community part of our Carbon
Dashboard Platform and resources available on the Supply Chain Sustainability School really
helped. It is all about understanding what works for your business and the benefits it can bring.

What are a few key areas in your organisation where you are actively pursuing continuous
improvement in carbon reduction?

The starting point was looking at our own operations – understanding what was under our direct
control, such as transport, waste and procurement, to identify where we could have the highest
impact. We quickly realised that, as well as looking inwards, we also needed to influence others
outside of our organisation – our supply chain. By leveraging our relationships, we knew we
could help other SMEs at the start of their carbon journey based on our own experiences.
As an organisation Interclass focused on three key areas – behavioral change, building awareness
and influencing material choice, which are already delivering impressive results on our projects.

How do you see the Code evolving to enable industry transformation?
The more companies that sign up to the Code, the more it will become a known and recognised
benchmark for the industry, with consistent reporting from clients, contractors and supply chain
partners becoming the norm. With companies gaining clarity on their own emissions through the Code, they are in the ideal position to encourage and support others to take positive action and start their net zero journey. This will promote a collaborative approach to reducing carbon, where everyone can share their experiences and learn from each other. It is all about keeping the momentum going to reach net
zero quicker.

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