The construction and civil engineering sector, including the property sector, currently accounts for one fifth of Sweden’s climate impact. As Sweden reorganises to reach the agreed climate goals, we want to take responsibility for our part and provide solutions.

Within the framework of the government initiative Fossil Free Sweden, and under Skanska’s project management, our sector has united around a common roadmap for a carbon-neutral and competitive sector. Working on the roadmap has united many key players throughout the entire value chain, and together with roadmaps from other industries, a unique and powerful force has come together for carbon transition.

Carbon emissions arise primarily from the manufacture of construction materials and buildings energy usage. There are, however, several positive trends:

  • Digitalisation allows for new ways of working, services and markets, as well as more efficient, sustainable construction, operation and maintenance.
  • The construction and civil engineering sector has potential to minimise waste and move towards circular resource usage.
  • Access to financial capital can promote investments in new technology.
  • Common goals can drive progress towards carbon neutrality.

Common goals

The roadmap establishes goals to achieve a carbon-neutral value chain in the construction and civil engineering sector. Goals for the following years are:

  • 2020–2022: Key players within the Construction and civil engineering sector have mapped their emissions and established carbon goals.
  • 2025: Greenhouse gas emissions clearly demonstrate a declining trend.
  • 2030: 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (cf. 2015).
  • 2040: 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (cf. 2015)
  • 2045: Net zero greenhouse gas emissions

Key factors for achieving goals

Through current technology, the sector can potentially cut its carbon emissions in half by 2030, but technological shifts and innovation are necessary to reach net zero emissions. To achieve this, new incentives and tools and new ways of doing business are needed, as well as collaboration across the entire value chain.

We see five key factors for achieving a carbon-neutral value chain in the construction and civil engineering  sector:

  • Collaboration, leadership and knowledge.
  • Long-term regulations that allow for investment in and conversion to carbon-neutral materials and processes.
  • Development from linear to circular processes.
  • Access to and efficient use of bio-based raw materials.
  • Public procurement as an engine for transition.

To accomplish the goals of the roadmap, a life-cycle perspective is required in terms of planning, design, construction and utilisation of the built environment. Success will require clear leadership, new ways of thinking and everyone involved taking responsibility for their part in the value chain.

We need to change current legislation, regulations, planning procedures, design methods and material choices. We need to collaborate in new ways to succeed with innovations, solutions, methods and materials, as well as new business models.

To manage carbon emissions while maintaining or even strengthening competitiveness, it must be profitable for key players to reduce their carbon emissions.

Action plan

The construction and civil engineering sector has agreed on 26 points of action plan for politicians, authorities and key players in the value chain to accelerate the carbon transition.

We agree that key players in the sector should set carbon goals, be transparent regarding their carbon emissions and set their own requirements, streamline materials utilisation, plan carbon-smart from the beginning, and digitalise the entire planning and construction process. We challenge politicians to do the following:

Recommendations of actions to the Parliament and the Government
• Introduce ambitious, long-term and predictable legal requirements for the construction and civil engineering sector based on Sweden’s goals to be carbon-neutral to enable necessary investments for transition that maintain or strengthen competitiveness.

• Create conditions for transformation of the base industry to ensure carbon-neutral cement and steel through financing, risk-sharing, support for innovation and control instruments.

• Develop a strategy and action plan in consultation with key players on the market for access to and distribution of sustainable, fossil free fuels for the construction and civil engineering sector.

• Introduce requirements for carbon impact declarations from a life-cycle perspective for buildings, infrastructure and construction products available on the market.

• Utilise public procurement as an engine for carbon transition. Strengthen knowledge of the Swedish Public Procurement Act for those active in public procurement and ensure that follow-up is as strict as procurement requirements.

• Change regulations for the classification of waste to remove obstacles to – and instead drive – circular business models and increased re-use and recycling of excavation materials and building and demolition materials.

• Work for the possibility of lower capital adequacy requirements and other incentives for green financing solutions aimed at stimulating investments with lower carbon emissions.

• Introduce incentives that promote efficient use of energy and resources in the refurbishment of existing property holdings, requiring a life-cycle perspective and carbon-reducing motivation for renovation and investment decisions.

• Appoint appropriate organisation to provide and manage an open database of generic carbon data that is life-cycle-based, quality-assured and representative of the construction and civil engineering sector in Sweden.

• Appoint appropriate organisation to investigate a method for visualisation of carbon emissions in value chain transactions, from suppliers of raw materials to consumers.

• Appoint appropriate organisation to develop procurement criteria and definitions of carbon-neutral and carbon-positive buildings and infrastructure through dialogue with the market.

With this roadmap, we have taken a unified first step towards building our society competitively and without carbon emissions. We, the signatories, agree that construction and utilisation phases must be carbon-neutral by 2045.

It is now time for us to move from words to action on carbon transition, and with the shared intentions inherent in this roadmap and the recommendations of actions we direct at politicians and key players within the sector, we unite to create conditions for a market that values carbon-smart solutions.

Roadmaps for fossil free competitiveness

Summaries: Aggregates Industry, Aviation industry, Cement industry, Concrete industry, Construction and civil engineering sector, Digitalisation consultancy industry, Food retail sectorForest sector, Heating industry, Heavy Haulage Industry, Maritime industry, Mining and mineral industry, Steel industry