As well as accounting for nearly 40 per cent of global emissions, the built environment is expected to double global building stock by 2060 as the global population approaches 10 billion. With climate change firmly at the top of the agenda, organisations in the built environment sphere are under more pressure than ever to take responsibility and action.
This month, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) unveiled its sector goal for all buildings and infrastructure to prioritise nature-based solutions in order to be climate resilient by 2030. The trade body highlighted the importance of applying solutions such as the management of rainwater through green roofs, ponds and wetlands to improve the climate resilience of buildings and infrastructure, benefit ecosystems, sequester carbon and enhance health and wellbeing.
Head of Business Transformation at UKGBC Alastair Mant said: "With this simple statement, we're providing a focal point for the industry to aim for - a level of ambition that is both commensurate with the scale of the challenge and viable within our industry.
"Our hope is that built environment businesses rally around this ambition, adopting it as their own, and work with us to identify and create the initiatives and solutions required to make it a reality."
To ensure such an ambition becomes a reality, the UKGBC is now going to work with its members to develop a robust roadmap, which it hopes to share in 2021. And it’s not alone in its efforts, with the World Green Building Council’s (World GBC) call to ensure all existing buildings by 2050 operate at net-zero carbon. Victoria Burrows, the organisation’s Director Advancing Net Zero, stated that business leaders in the built environment will be driven by collaborative efforts to explore new areas of action. Speaking to sustainable business media outlet edie, Burrows said: “Organisations are taking more responsibility for their role in the value chain. You can control how those materials are consumed, so identifying your role, the opportunities and how that can support your business rather than impede it in a carbon-neutral future."
At September’s UN Climate Summit in New York, 87 companies committed to setting value chain climate targets aligned to 1.5°C and net-zero emissions by 2050. Additionally, 130 banks holding £38trn in assets launched ‘the Principles for Responsible Banking’, committing to climate action and sustainability.
The green commitment was perhaps best summed up in Property Week by Munish Datta, Head of Membership & Insight at UKGBC. He said: “If your organisation has not signed up to the net-zero-carbon commitment, there is no better moment to do so. History may judge the Global Climate Strike in September as a moment of epiphany for many, a moment when everyone in our industry came together to change everything – don’t get left behind.”
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