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Supply Chains Stream: Heathrow Airport explores sustainable procurement

Heathrow Airport created an innovative new procurement tool, embedding sustainability considerations into their procurement process.


Heathrow Airport is committed to achieving net zero by 2050, and to making substantive changes before 2030. The airport has more than 800 suppliers, directly employing around 76,000 people in the local community, and producing an estimated 250,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. Heathrow resolved to transform the way in which it procures and assesses its suppliers, partnering with technical specialists from Turner & Townsend to support with the airport’s bold sustainability targets. Since 2022, Turner & Townsend has been the appointed sustainable procurement advisory partner for Heathrow and has played a key role in driving sustainable outcomes. This has included assisting with governance and reporting, overarching the entire programme, as well as assisting the data team to streamline their carbon reporting in order to drive accountability and elevate ESG prominence.

Turner & Townsend are working with Heathrow to help achieve targets set out in the Heathrow 2.0 sustainability strategy. These include: a 15% reduction in carbon in the air from planes in flight and on the airfield, and by shifting to new ways of operation such as sustainable aviation fuel; a least 45% cut in carbon on the ground from transport, vehicles, buildings and infrastructure and supply chains; and a reduction in nitrogen oxide airside by at least 18% compared to 2019.

Assessing Scope 3 emissions and revising contracts with strategic suppliers

In partnership with Heathrow, Turner & Townsend created an innovative new procurement tool – the ‘Balanced Scorecard’, and built a baseline assessment of Heathrow’s Scope 3 supply chain emissions and other environmental & socio-economic supply chain impacts.​ The Balanced Scorecard – a basket of measures to quantify supplier performance – and the data it has provided, have led to the revision of contracts with Heathrow’s strategic Tier 1 suppliers​ and baselining strategic supply chain partners.

More widely, Turner & Townsend are embedding Sustainable Procurement with the Heathrow team to better their supply chain impacts, and assisting with the reaching supply chain net zero targets, which account for 1% of Heathrow’s carbon footprint. This includes evolving the approach across reporting, supplier relationship management, KPI formulation, award criteria, future tendering requirements and wider contract management.​

Key outputs

Turner & Townsend have been leading the Governance and Reporting team responsible for delivering the Heathrow sustainability strategy, ensuring alignment with programme goals, and compliance with governance regulations. Additionally, Turner & Townsend have worked on starting to build carbon measurement into the cost planning process to inform gateway decisions, as well as building carbon and sustainability into the programme and project lifecycle. The balanced sustainability scorecard has been deployed across the supply chain and already been a great success to help suppliers explore key sustainability metrics and increase supplier performance.