Topic Guide: Carbon management of infrastructure services

An overview of carbon management of infrastructure services


The purpose of this Topic Guide is to contribute to the professional competence of DFID’s Infrastructure Cadre. The specific objectives are to ensure that Infrastructure Advisers:

  • Understand the principles of carbon content in infrastructure, and can distinguish between the carbon content of materials and the carbon content of processes;
  • Understand the practical application of carbon analysis in the sector, with particular understanding of its application in ‘special circumstances’ such as working in fragile states;
  • Understand where and how carbon analysis can be effectively integrated into DFID Business Cases and procurement processes and what the sustainability outcomes might be;
  • Are able to provide operational advice on carbon content for a range of typical infrastructure sectors and processes, including providing comparison tables to illustrate practical choices.

This topic guide:

  • Provides an overview of the assessment and management of carbon emissions from infrastructure in developing countries;
  • Sets infrastructure carbon management in context and provides commentary on relevant trends and significant impacts with respect to wider development of the urban environment;
  • Sets out a framework and technical guidance to assist the practitioner plan, direct and/or influence carbon management for infrastructure in less developed countries, drawing on international standards and best practice;
  • Provides some specific guidance on assessing and managing carbon emissions in the energy, water, transport and waste sectors, as well as emissions, resulting from changes in land use or other emissions arising as a consequence of infrastructure services;
  • Provides additional commentary on recommended reading material and references to support more detailed investigations and carbon-management activities.

This peer-reviewed Topic Guide has been produced by MWH with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment, Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by HTSPE Limited and IMC Worldwide Limited.


Jowitt, P.; Johnson, A. Topic Guide: Carbon management of infrastructure services. Evidence on Demand, UK (2014) 79 pp. [DOI:]

Topic Guide: Carbon management of infrastructure services

Published 1 January 2014