The construction industry has a significant indirect impact on green house gas emissions through the use of energy and large volume carbon intense materials such as concrete and ferrous metals products like reinforcing bars and beams. In addition, the built environment is a significant consumer of energy and thus indirectly responsible for a significant proportion of the green house gas emissions emitted by the power generation sector.

Challenges and opportunities

The built environment accounts for approximately 30% of global final energy use and contributes to approximately 20% of the world´s energy related greenhouse gas emissions.

Typically the ratio of emissions is about 80% during the operational lifetime of a building with the remainder emitted during manufacture of materials of construction (circa 15%) and the construction process itself (circa 5%). However, as we construct more energy efficient buildings this ratio is changing and more focus will be on materials of construction and the construction process.

A review of risk and opportunities related to climate change is part of Skanska's submission to the CDP Climate Change program. The submitted report is published on this page under "CDP Nordic Reports".

Policy and strategy

Skanska’s approach to carbon is to focus on things we can directly control and directly influence.

Our Environmental Policy states that “We will …….reduce emissions of gasses associated with Climate Change. Where reduction is not possible, as a last resort we will balance our own emissions using reputable means”.

Strategic direction is informed by our Environmental Policy. The Color Palette™ defines external products and services for our customers. Both have been shaped by recognition of the need to reduce the carbon emissions associated with the built environment. It reflects Skanska’s desire to exploit new opportunities created by the need to adapt and mitigate in response to climate change. The Environmental Strategy and the Color PaletteTM contain short and longterm actions that have been influenced by these risks and opportunities.

Since 2008 we have been developing expertise to reduce carbon emissions by:

  • Increasing energy efficiency in the construction process and in the operation of the completed projects

  • Increasing fuel efficiency in the construction process, e.g. logistics and fuel use on site

  • Identifying the means to select construction materials that can demonstrate a lower carbon footprint, provided they meet necessary technical and economic requirements

Balancing our Carbon emissions

We balance carbon emissions associated with certain business travel using carbon compensation standards approved by the ICROA (International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance) and sold to us by The CarbonNeutral Company. Skanska's choice of projects for balancing (offsetting) Carbon shall

  • Address deforestation and/or reforestation
  • Have socioeconomic benefits
  • Be located in a Skanska home market
  • Be provided by a trustworthy auditable provider

Read more about The CarbonNeutral Company.

External engagement

As part of our commitment to reduce emissions Skanska is engaging with several external organizations:

  • Since 2006 Skanska has sponsored the UNEP Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative (SBCI). In 2010/2011 Skanska took part in pilot testing the Common Carbon Metric & Protocol, developed to provide globally applicable measurements and reporting of energy use in and green house gas emissions from existing portfolios of buildings.

  • Skanska is a member of Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), a coalition of companies formed to support EU policymakers by promoting a progressive agenda on energy efficiency and climate change. Amongst many deliverables, the Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) has published the Low Carbon Compendium to demonstrate how the activities of some of the world´s largest companies are contributing to the delivery of a low climate risk economy. The Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) has launched Communiqués prior to the COP meetings and has also developed the Atlas project, a toolkit to work together with schools to reduce their carbon emissions.

  • Skanska is a member of ENCORD (European Network of Construction Companies for Research and Development) which has developed the ENCORD CO2 Measurement Protocol (PDF). Skanska has actively assisted the promotion of the protocol to WBCSD and WRI to encourage the development of a sector specific protocol for measurement and reduction of carbon emissions to mitigate the impact of the Construction sector.

  • Skanska is a signatory of the UN Global Compact’s Caring for Climate Initiative. As a signatory we are committed to actions to progress our climate related activities. These include practical actions to reduce energy usage, have long-term strategy and goals, introduce innovative solutions and work with politicians and policy-makers.


We started to proactively focus on carbon in 2008 and reported examples of progress in our annual Sustainability Reviews for 2008-2014, see Sustainbility reporting. For Business Plan 2011-2015 we have taken this one step further by positioning carbon as one of four key components of the Skanska Color Palette and our Journey to Deep Green™.

Since 2008 Skanska has selectively carried out Project Carbon Footprints for progressive customers with the twin objectives of 1) measuring embedded carbon and carbon generated during construction and 2) where possible using this data to modify the project and related construction process so that the overall footprint is reduced. The tools used are compliant with the GHG Protocol and the sector-specific ENCORD Protocol (PDF). 

Emissions and carbon footprint

Direct (Scope1) and indirect (Scope2) green house gas emissions – five trend

Number of "project carbon footprints" performed, an increase of 40 percent since 2013.

View our carbon footprint case studies:


Skanska reports its carbon emissions to the organization CDP. CDP supply the investment community with data on climate strategy, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and the risks and opportunities from climate change from thousands of the world’s largest companies. Read Skanska Programme Response Climate Change 2015 (PDF)

Skanska has again achieved a position in CDP's Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI). For the last five years Skanska has been the highest ranked construction company in the Nordic region at reporting its direct and indirect carbon emissions.

CDP Nordic Reports 

Green Strategic Indicator (GSI)

For Business Plan 2011-2015 a set of seven GSIs were agreed by the Senior Executive Team as a means of monitoring environmental progress.

The GSI for carbon is “the number of projects that have been submitted to a Preliminary Carbon Footprint” using proprietary tools developed by Skanska based on the WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Each Business Unit reports annually the result to the Skanska AB Senior Executive Team.

Last updated: 6/30/2015

Corporate Climate Communiqués

We have supported Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) Communiqués since 2007 and are proud to be associated with the latest one.

Related information

Sustainability case studies

Green report about carbon

Carbon emissions caused by humans affect us all. This issue of the Green Urban Development Report delves into the built environment to find ways of eliminating carbon, which not only saves money but also creates new business opportunities.

Read our Green Urban Development Report No. 4

Skanska provided input to the Economist Intelligence Unit report “Adapting to an uncertain climate: a world of commercial opportunities”.

Skanska is featured in the Low Carbon Compendium, published by the Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) on Climate Change (EU CLG). 

Measurement protocol

A guide for companies within the construction sector on how to measure and report its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.