This guidance document supports the Welsh Government’s ambition to deliver a circular economy for Wales. This guide aims to help public and private sector clients and contractors to:

  • Consider whole life carbon impacts linked to the purchase of built assets, their design and construction and in particular, the selection of materials with lower embodied carbon over the built asset's lifetime.
  • Enhance the application of circular economy outcomes.
  • Enhance high quality re-use, recycling, and avoidance of waste to landfill.
  • Clearly define relevant procurement requirements and set out expectations. 

The built environment has an important role to play in supporting Wales to become a zero-waste, net zero carbon, and one planet resource use nation by 2050. Reducing embodied carbon impacts arising from the construction cycle - including raw material sourcing, manufacture, use, and disposal of construction products - will be a critical element in reducing Wales’ overall carbon impact. Procurement across the built environment lifecycle, through design, construction, renovation, demolition, or facilities management can enable a reduction in these impacts, through implementation of sustainable procurement hierarchy principles.

The built environment accounts for 39% of global carbon emissions. Construction works and materials alone represent 11% of global emissions. Whilst significant improvements have been made in operational energy efficiency of buildings, there is growing recognition of the need to tackle embodied carbon - namely, carbon impacts arising from material extraction, processing, transportation, and construction works. Construction materials account for half of raw materials used in Europe. Construction and demolition waste represent a third of all waste. Building materials therefore show an enormous untapped potential in supporting a transition towards a circular economy. 

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  • Low Carbon & Resource Efficient Construction Procurement Guide.pdf

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