Sustainable Futures Report 2022

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Sustainable Futures Report 2022

A valuable insight for all construction professionals, painting a picture of sustainability in the construction industry in 2022.

NBS Sustainability Report 2022 | Cover

Climate change and the construction industry

Climate change is a global issue of utmost importance, and construction has a major role to play. At NBS, sustainability is a high priority for us. We recognise that the specification content and guidance we provide can help to make a positive difference to our future built environment by assisting users to specify sustainable outcomes.

The industry faces immense challenges and pressures as it strives to become more sustainable. The Sustainable Futures Report 2022 provides valuable insight for all construction professionals, from designers or consultants through to construction product manufacturers. It sets out the findings of the research, painting a picture of sustainability in the construction industry.

In this Sustainable Futures Report 2022 we cover:

  • What sustainability means to the construction industry
  • Drivers and barriers to sustainability
  • Perceptions of the sustainability performance information that construction product suppliers provide
  • How sustainability is approached, and targets measured
  • How trends have changed over time

We also examine how often sustainable outcomes are achieved, and what aspects of sustainable architecture people expect the construction industry to focus on in the future.

Pages of the Sustainable Futures Report 2022

"The biggest misconception about sustainability in the construction industry is the [belief] that sustainability is very expensive and impossible to achieve"

Profile image: Consultant, designer or specifier - 74%


Consultant, designer or specifier

Profile image: Supplier of products or materials - 11%


Supplier of products or materials

Profile image: Constructor, contractor or subcontractor - 7%


Constructor, contractor or subcontractor

Profile image: Client - 5%



Who took part?

We had 608 responses from a cross-section of the industry including companies of all sizes and those from various professional disciplines. Nearly three-quarters of respondents describe their project role as ‘consultant’, but we also had responses from the other main project roles: suppliers, constructors, and clients.

In the last 12 months which of the following has your organisation been involved in?

85% of respondents tell us they work on new-build projects (85%); in particular, new-build private housing and education. Two thirds work on deep retrofit projects (particularly offices) and six out of ten carry out light refurbishment projects (these projects tend to be offices and private housing).

In the last 12 months which of the following has your organisation been involved in? - Townscape image

The importance of sustainability

We wanted to understand how important sustainability is to construction industry professionals personally, as well as to their executive or leadership team and their organisation as a whole. It’s evident that respondents’ personal views have a significant impact: 79% tell us sustainability is very important to them personally with a further 18% saying it is quite important. In contrast, just over four out of ten respondents say it is very important to their executive/ leadership team and their organisation.

How important is sustainability to...

You personally

How important is sustainability to you personally?

The executive/leadership team within your organisation

How important is sustainability to your executive/leadership team?

Your organisation as a whole

How important is sustainability to your organisation as a whole?
How important is sustainability to... [key]

Frustrated construction professionals

Although many think that the construction industry will become more sustainable in the future, 74% of respondents are frustrated that they can’t do more to make the UK achieve sustainability. It is evident that respondents are becoming increasingly frustrated about what is and isn’t in their control when it comes to sustainability. Read the full report to discover more about how construction professionals feel about sustainability.

Strongly agree13%38%
Tend to agree35%35%
Neither agree nor disagree38%20%
Tend to disagree9%3%
Tend to agree4%4%

The NBS Sustainable Futures Report 2022 is a useful tool to help gauge where the industry is on its journey to building sustainably and helping to protect the planet against the effects of climate change for future generations. Download the report to find out what sustainability means to the industry and what sustainability information metrics the industry needs from suppliers.

Thank you

Thank you to all 608 people who completed the survey, and to the organisations below who supported us by promoting it to their members and networks.