Behavioral change is key to carbon management in construction

Created: October 18, 2018. Updated: October 18, 2018.

The Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Tool (CITT) project seeks to develop an open access software tool for calculating and managing embodied carbon emissions for infrastructure construction projects. To deliver maximum value, the project also investigates the potential barriers and solutions to the adoption of carbon management within the infrastructure sector. This stage of the project is now nearing completion.

The research shows that there are several key areas that construction organizations need to address to successfully implement carbon management. These include leadership, training and standardizing processes. Perhaps one of the most important areas however, is behavioral change.

As an example, when asked about the benefits of the tool specifically, one interviewee stated it would actually be a “dis-benefit”, while another interviewee remarked, “we’ve got enough to do already, what other resources will I get?” Overcoming this pushback and better articulating the benefits of carbon management is critical for any organization hoping to improve its carbon management strategy.

The challenge stretches further than these internal factors. As one respondent commented: “Clients still go for the cheapest option, carbon is not a driver”. This was supported by a client who stated, “If we are not demanding carbon reductions, then it is difficult for other organizations to get involved”. One supplier said that they wanted to open a better dialogue, stating: “The earlier we get involved, the easier it will be for us to use our expertise to advise on the best solution.” This highlights the importance of engaging the whole value chain in seeking the best carbon management practices.

Further research in 2019 by the CITT project team will develop a better understanding of these external factors and develop frameworks for collaboration to aid the reduction of carbon emissions throughout the construction industry.

For further information on the CITT project, please visit: or to trial the tool, please contact:


About the CITT project
CITT stands for Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Tool. The project is funded by the Construction Climate Challenge (CCC), hosted by Volvo Construction Equipment, and runs for three years, finishing in September 2019. The final tool will pinpoint opportunities to reduce carbon through innovation and supply chain engagement. The project has a close collaboration between academia and the infrastructure construction industry. The research is jointly performed by the University of Edinburgh Business School and Costain Group.

CCC and research
The Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) is an initiative hosted by Volvo Construction Equipment to promote sustainability throughout the entire construction industry value chain and provide funding for environmental research. Through supporting and initiating research projects in relevant areas of construction, CCC acts as a bridge between the industry and sustainability research. During spring 2016 CCC launched a new call for major research projects. Two proposals were selected to receive funding.