Climate change

Our climate has changed. The effects of global warming, including extreme heat, wildfires and flooding are already a reality for many.

The message from the experts is simple: act now or the impacts of climate change will become even more extreme.

As part of the new Building New Futures, we have worked closely with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to validate our 2030 and 2050 targets. It’s also why we’re sharing our pathway to net zero, which provides transparency and detail of the key steps we will take to play our role in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

It also shows how we are planning to reduce our Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions by 90% by 2050 and use permanent carbon removal and storage to counterbalance the final residual 10% of our emissions. This is in line with the Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting³ as required by the SBTi.


Our targets

  • Reducing our Scope 1 carbon emissions

    In the UK, around 70% of our Scope 1 carbon emissions come from the fuel we directly purchase for our plant, fleet and generators. To reduce emissions from these sources, we have developed a three pronged approach of efficiency, electrification and alternative fuels. Supporting this work, we have also implemented the following minimum standards across our UK operations:

    • On all new projects, the deployment of EcoSense cabins that produce up to 30% less carbon emissions.
    • Using our Econet energy management solution on projects and contracts with four or more cabins. EcoNet reduces energy use by automatically turning off equipment when it is not in use and selecting the lowest carbon energy sources from those available.
    • Using our Power Profiler tool to develop the most carbon and cost-efficient site compound set-ups.
    • Implementing our fuel hierarchy, shown below, to ensure we select the right energy sources for our plant, fleet and generators.
    • Reducing vehicle idling and improving plant and equipment utilisation through expert management of works, telematics and local management controls.

    Complementing the introduction of these minimum standards, in 2024 our Highways business in the UK has achieved PAS2080:2023 certification, the gold standard for buildings and infrastructure carbon management. Following this certification we are embedding elements of PAS2080:2023 into our UK-wide Business Management System, which is already certified to the ISO14001:2015 environmental management systems standard, to help other business areas progress towards a PAS2080:2023 verified carbon management approach.

    In the US, we have begun work to further analyse and understand the sources of our carbon emissions and will develop detailed carbon reduction plans for each of our US businesses in 2024.

    Choosing the right fuel

    Developed by our in-house energy management experts, our fuel hierarchy helps our projects and supply chain partners to select the right energy sources for our plant, equipment, generators, vehicles and buildings, which account for the majority of our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions. You can find out more about our fuel hierarchy at

    In 2023, the implementation of our minimum standards in the UK and increased focus on carbon emissions in the US has reduced our absolute carbon emissions by 2% and our carbon intensity by 7% against our 2022 performance.

  • Reducing our Scope 2 carbon emissions

    Our Scope 2 carbon emissions are the indirect emissions from the electricity we use. To reduce these as far as possible, where we can, we analyse the electricity consumption of our projects, offices and depots and retrofit low-energy use products and adapt our ways of working to avoid unnecessary electricity consumption.

    We also use renewable energy tariffs backed by the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme and are reviewing opportunities for Power Purchase Agreements through which we directly connect to renewable energy sources.

  • Reducing our Scope 3 carbon emissions

    Balfour Beatty’s Scope 3 carbon emissions are those that arise in our value chain that we do not have direct control over. The vast majority of these emissions come from the goods and services we purchase from our supply chain. You can find out more about how we are working with them to cut our Scope 3 carbon emissions on pages 12 and 13 in our Building New Futures Sustainability Strategy.

    Focussing on emissions from the assets our Infrastructure Investments business invests in, develops and operates, we are collaborating with our customers to incorporate low-carbon requirements at the design stage and to retrofit low-carbon solutions to existing assets. For our joint ventures and operations where we do not have direct operational control, we are sharing best practice with our partners to drive the adoption of low carbon innovations.

Case studies

Electric plant trial

To help reduce carbon consumption and improve air quality, our teams are utilising electric powered plant and equipment across our Warwickshire Highways Maintenance contract. The battery-operated equipment including a leaf-blower, hedge cutters and chainsaw help to minimise environmental impact through zero emissions as well as improving the safety of our workforce by reducing the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome.

Beyond Net Zero electric plant
  • Footnotes

    ¹ Measured against a 2020 baseline and verified by the SBTi

    ² Measured against a 2020 baseline, not verified by the SBTi as the SBTi only validate our near (2030) and long (2050) term targets


    ⁴ Based on the 2022 DEFRA average GHG emissions value for HVO fuels, which includes the emissions released during the combustion of fuel. It does not account for the unknown impact of HVO on forest clearance and marshland drainage