Only a fifth of large consultancy clients ask for Net Zero designs

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The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has today shared new figures revealing that while consultancies are making good progress towards unlocking a Net Zero future, client demand remains patchy, with only around a fifth (19%) of large consultancy and around a quarter (24%) of SME clients, asking for net zero compatible designs.

The numbers – pulled from ACE’s forthcoming industry benchmarking study – show the steps that are being taken to adapt to a Net Zero world, revealing a sector making strides in a number of areas:

  • 90% of large consultancies, and 50% of SMEs, have made, or signed up to a public Net Zero pledge.
  • 82% of large consultancies, and 44% of SMEs, have provided in-house carbon literacy training for non-carbon specialist staff.
  • 55% of large consultancies, and 33% of SMEs, push clients to ask for a Net Zero design solution.

Coming ahead of COP26’s built environment day tomorrow, the figures also show what more needs to be done, with only 19% of large consultancies and 21% of SMEs fully calculating embodied and whole-life carbon in the designs they produce.

Commenting on the figures, ACE director of policy Matthew Farrow said: “Built environment day at COP26 will shine a spotlight on our industry’s progress towards Net Zero, but the key takeaway is that consultants are, by-and-large, making progress and taking positive steps.”

“Through being able to offer Net Zero design as standard, and encouraging clients to make this the default option, consultants can enable clients to take informed and rounded decisions on carbon. With recent important initiatives such as the Construction Playbook and Value Toolkit giving the industry the tools to incorporate a fuller view of value in the design and delivery of projects, now is the time to put Net Zero at the heart of what we do.” 

ACE’s benchmarking project is the definitive study of professional consultancy and engineering companies operating in the social and economic infrastructure sectors. The detailed research explores all areas of business activity. Respondents’ market value was equal to £3.8bn, representing approximately 60% of entire sector. The full study will be released in December.

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