Building Sustainable Futures

January 2020

Building Sustainable Futures

The Supply Chain Sustainability School is an innovative and industry-led initiative that aims to improve the knowledge and skills of those working across the built environment sector – and it’s having a big impact on industry.

The School provides thousands of learners with an engaging and effective way to build up their knowledge around key issues impacting the construction industry. The free online learning portal adapts to learners’ needs, so it is truly tailored to the individual. In addition, it is backed up by regular face-to-face events, where employers can discuss topics like Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR), and offsite construction.

With investment from CITB and industry, the School is an example of what the sector can do by working together to address major challenges, such as climate change, the circular economy and plastic waste.

The School portal provides learning resources on a whole range of subjects relevant to the construction industry, with a particular focus on emerging issues like carbon reduction and Building Information Modelling.

Impressively, it has 96 employers involved as funding partners, making sure the School’s content is always freely available for suppliers and subcontractors and highly relevant for industry’s needs, now and in the future.

Julia Barrett, Chief Sustainability Officer for Willmott Dixon, suggests this collaborative spirit propels the entire industry forward:

“Having supply chain partners who understand the issues around sustainable development is essential: we simply cannot deliver our own sustainability ambitions without them. By collaborating with other partners in the School we can support their learning more efficiently and effectively, resulting in greater impact at a faster pace across our industry.”

The impact of the School is demonstrated by the continued and growing interest from companies across the UK. In 2019, the School had 41% more companies accessing learning online than in 2018 and a 21% increase in the number of assessments taken. This equates to almost 6,500 unique businesses, including almost 5,000 SMEs, and 14,000 learners overall.

Of the companies utilising the School almost half say it has helped them to reduce costs, two out of five say it has helped them win new business, while a third say it has helped them reduce their carbon footprint.

Dale Turner, Director of Procurement and Supply Chain at Skanska, is a passionate advocate of SCSS – both because of the impact on learners from his organisation and on the business:

“The Supply Chain Sustainability School has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2012, and is now the UK’s leading supplier engagement sustainability tool. I would encourage all our supply chain to use the School’s free resources to help them, wherever they are on their sustainability journey.”

“The Supply Chain Sustainability School has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2012, and is now the UK’s leading supplier engagement sustainability tool. I would encourage all our supply chain to use the School’s free resources to help them, wherever they are on their sustainability journey.”

Dale Turner

 Director of Procurement and Supply Chain, Skanska

Shaun McCarthy OBE, a director of the School, was honoured with an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen for his sustainability work on the London 2012 Olympics and says he’s just as proud of the work being undertaken by the School:

“The impact of the School can be seen in measurable improvements and business performance across the industry. It leverages the power of over 90 large businesses to deliver learning at a scale never seen before in our sector. It is also recognised by a group of sustainable procurement experts from over 40 countries as an example of global best practice. It’s a remarkable achievement in an industry dependent upon sustainability, agility and innovation.”

Find out more about the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

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