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Construction Leadership Council announces competition for young industry professionals as it accelerates the sector’s drive to Net Zero The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is today announcing a new Dragon’s Den competition targeted at young industry professionals, accelerating the drive to net zero.

The competition aims to:

• bring forward practical ideas which are almost ready for implementation on sites/in factories, and suitable for wider industry adoption;

• capitalise on the collective political, industry and societal demand to reduce our emissions levels; and to,

• harness the power and voice of young professionals already working in the sector, providing support to accelerate their practical ideas to implementation.

Short-listed applicants will present their ideas to the Construct Zero Dragon’s Den for debate and discussion, with the winner receiving a range of prizes including a £1,000 cash award (donated by the Builders Merchants Federation). This is an exciting opportunity for young industry professionals to pitch existing ideas to the heart of Government. Further details including how to apply can be found here.

The CLC’s sector leadership role and its Construct Zero programme is today recognised by the United Nations Climate Champions Team’s announcement of the CLC becoming a Race to Zero Accelerator. This marks a key step in our journey, providing a platform to build on existing UK and global engagement across Government and with industry partners.

Through the Construct Zero industry-change programme, the Construction Leadership Council has accepted the challenge of decarbonising the industry, bringing the sector together to deliver tangible actions and sustainable change across the construction supply chain. It’s change programme will: i) measure the sector’s performance; ii) share knowledge and best practice between businesses and; iii) engage firms and communicate the sector’s role in reducing carbon emissions.

Sector’s Performance

CLC has committed to holding the sector to account on progress through quarterly updates on its Performance Framework, with the first update due for publication in late October, prior to COP.

Knowledge and Best Practice

Construct Zero has led in bringing together businesses across the whole construction supply chain, through its Business Champion programme, ranging from SMEs e.g. Adair and Peak Construction, operating locally, to large scale companies, delivering major international infrastructure projects, e.g. Saint-Gobain, Costain and Multiplex.

We are also seeking to share knowledge globally- our joint event with Mace at New York Climate Week, will bring together major clients, contractors and consultants from across the US and UK to showcase the best of Anglo-American collaboration; exploring success stories where joint UK/US expertise is helping to address the huge climate impacts of the built environment across the globe; and form the first step on the road towards better trade links and net zero knowledge sharing to reach a brighter future.

Communications and wider engagement

Construction is one key element of a wider, complex business eco-system. That’s why we are working with key partners, including EDF Energy and CBI, to reach beyond our sector, ensuring our aims, message and approach reach a much wider audience. Construct Zero is committed to this challenge, and will be presenting at key events in the run-up to COP, as well as providing specific practical advice for construction SMEs on reducing emissions, which will be published shortly on the Business Climate Hub.

The call to do more and take steps to reduce our emissions is an immediate one, to ensure we leave a sustainable impact that will live long beyond our immediate future generations. Construct Zero is engaging directly with young industry professionals, drawn from our Business Champion programme, who are already playing a key role in meeting this challenge this head-on. We are delighted they are hosting an event on 23 September to discuss and debate the key issues as part of the Italian Government’s series of virtual summits in the run-up to the Youth COP Summit in Milan.

Finally, and most crucially we are working closely with the COP Unit to finalise our presence at the COP Green Zone.

For COP to truly leave its legacy, it’s imperative we continue to drive forward both the high-level actions and commitments that emerge from COP, together with the enthusiasm and drive companies have and are continuing to generate.

Only by working together in step and at pace, will we truly be able to rise to the challenge and build back better, faster and greener.

Construction Minister Anne Marie Trevelyan said:

“Engaging talented young professionals in the construction industry is key to the future of the sector by developing the highly skilled workforce that will accelerate its drive to net zero.

“This competition, and recognition from the UN as a Race to Zero Accelerator, shows the Construction Leadership Council is continuing to take its role seriously in offering the sector the direction and leadership it needs to build back better and greener.”

Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith MP said:

“This competition is a fantastic opportunity for young professionals to make a mark on the construction industry by offering them the chance to have their innovative ideas to make the sector more sustainable

“Today’s competition launch shows the Construction Leadership Council is continuing to champion a cleaner, more sustainable sector – so it is right that they have been recognised by the UN as a Race to Zero Accelerator.”

About the Construction Leadership Council (CLC)

The CLC’s mission is to provide sector leadership to the construction industry. The expanded CLC has twelve workstreams that operate collaboratively to address the biggest issues facing the sector, focused on the Industry Recovery Plan. Workstreams include skills and inclusion, building safety and business models. The CLC is co-chaired by Ann-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Business and Industry, and Andy Mitchell CBE, CEO of Thames Tideway.



Judging the many excellent submissions to the CESW Awards 2021 presented Martyn Jones with his thought for the month: How we can we accelerate the pace of change and improve the spread and adoption of the best practice as demonstrated in our award-winning submissions?

The CESW Awards are recognised across the South West built environment as the biggest and brightest celebration of best practice.

They are the HEINEKEN of awards (other lagers are available), in that they reach all parts of our operating system from developers and clients through to consultants of all disciplines, main and specialist contractors and suppliers of materials and components.

They also celebrate leading practice in dealing with current issues such as pivoting from price to value, sustainability, quality and compliance, digitisation, integration and collaboration, and conservation and regeneration.

Every year our Awards capture exemplars of excellent practice and some of this year’s entries yet again provide some cracking demonstrations of our industry at its best.  On this occasion, not only demonstrating best practice along Constructing Excellence lines but doing so whilst meeting the immense challenges presented by the pandemic.

But, why are aren’t these principles of best practice not being embraced more widely in the industry? And how do we accelerate the rate of change and the spread and adoption of this best practice to meet the challenges we face?

Here are some suggested guiding principles, all of which have long featured in the work of CESW, but which now need to be pursued with a much greater sense of urgency and resolve:

Are you keen to play a leading role in grasping this once-in-a-generation opportunity to really transform construction? Then why not join one or more of our Thought Leadership Theme Groups?

And if you are a young professional, or in the early stages of developing your career in the built environment, then why not join G4C in the SW? This offers the opportunity for you, as a young professional, to express your ideas as to how we should be reshaping the built environment.  After all the future belongs to you.

As we end the summer and holidays are behind us, it’s time to reflect on a turbulent season. Wildfires in Greece / California and floods in Germany / New York have shown us the swift and furious impact Climate Change is having on our lives.


On the 8th August the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report. UN Secretary General António Guterres described the report as “a code red for humanity”. The report explains that recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and intensifying. It’s caused by humans and is unprecedented in thousands of years. Every region is affected. Some changes are already irreversible. Sobering words after the summer reset.


The UN chief does offer a reprisal, “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”


The construction industry represents 39% of global carbon emissions (28% from operational and 11% from embodied). Reading the report, we must all make time to act – now. We have two lines of responsibility; to achieve Carbon Neutrality in our own business operations, and; to brief, design, construct and operate zero carbon projects.


Certainly from my own experience here at Stride Treglown we have gone to great lengths to monitor and reduce our own carbon footprint, to the point where we are now carbon neutral. The hardest part to reduce is industry-related travel. Post pandemic we do have to find a balance of virtual meetings and face-to-face interactions. Until travel infrastructure is fully decarbonised through electrification, our only solution is to carbon offset. This is the easy part.


The second part of the decarbonisation journey is delivering zero carbon projects for clients. This takes collaboration, cross business learning, upskilling, and material/process innovation. None of us can do this alone. We need a joint industry effort. This is where Constructing Excellence can play a key role. I urge you to join our Innovation and Sustainability Group, so that we can address our climate emergency in a coordinated way.


At Stride Treglown we have just launched our Climate Action Relay. Please do join in the conversation and get inspired to do your bit for Planet Earth. #ClimateActionRelay

Robert Sargent, Director, Stride Treglown, B Corp certified Architecture Practice

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