Toolbox Talks: Tools for carbon reduction in the construction sector

Toolbox Talks: Tools for carbon reduction in the construction sector

The UK construction industry has a profound impact on our country - as an employer, economic engine, creator of our built environment, and as the end user of many raw materials. In all these guises, it has a huge role to play in advancing carbon reduction. We caught up with Net Zero Now's Climate-Tech Manager, Asheer Rahman, to get his perspective on how the sector can redeploy some of the tools it already has to push forward the Net Zero agenda.


When I used to work in the construction industry, our day always began with something called a ‘toolbox talk’. It was like our morning breakfast – a way to ensure the health and safety of the entire worksite ecosystem. A toolbox talk is a short, informal meeting that zeroes in on a specific health and safety topic. It’s a way to understand the risks associated with our work and how to tackle them. Think of it as a daily reminder to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe.

The beauty of a toolbox talk lies in its simplicity. It’s a powerful method to raise awareness and promote good practices among the workforce. The key is to make it engaging, interactive, and directly applicable to our work environment.

During these talks, our supervisors or managers took specific steps. They chose a topic that directly related to the tasks we were doing and the potential hazards we faced. For instance, they might focus on subjects like preventing slips and trips, handling heavy objects safely, avoiding falls from heights, dealing with chemicals, and ensuring electrical safety. The crux was to keep it relevant.

Each toolbox talk followed a structure. It began with an introduction to the topic, moved on to describing the potential risks, and included examples or scenarios for better understanding. We were then presented with preventive measures and best practices that we could adopt. The session usually wrapped up with a summary or conclusion that emphasised the significance of health and safety in the construction industry.

The importance of health and safety measures on construction sites can’t be overstated, but what about issues that don’t immediately impact on the day-to-day – like carbon emissions, for example? The construction and building industry and built environment contributes approximately 40% of the overall CO2 emissions, making it a primary target for action. A quarter of those emissions are in the embodied carbon of the build.

The question is: how can we reduce these emissions? Are there methods or techniques that can be incorporated into toolbox talks to contribute to this reduction? Net Zero Now, platform is successfully delivering sector-based solutions across industries including Accounting, Hospitality, Tech services, Law. In July this year Net Zero Now received a government grant to develop a solution for the Construction Sector, which will address both the operational impact of contractors alongside the embodied carbon of supplied products.

Just as toolbox talks have become an integral part of our daily routine to ensure our safety, the integration of Net Zero Now's platform and sustainability discussions into these talks can play a pivotal role in curbing carbon emissions. With Net Zero Now’s extensive experience and expertise, the path to a reduced carbon footprint becomes clearer. I’m excited by the opportunities we have to collaborate to make our work sites safer, healthier, and our built environment more sustainable for generations to come.

If you’re a small business involved in the construction sector and want to know more about reducing your carbon emissions, get in touch to see how Net Zero Now can help you.