On the Brink: Include, Integrate, Innovate - Three magic words in the climate struggle
The scope and variety of the climate challenge requires joined-up, collaborative action. Top-down, siloed approaches have too often failed us.
The surveying profession is uniquely placed to drive progress on global climate goals. Together, we can make a sizeable contribution to the future health and wellbeing of our planet and people.
Tim Smith, Head of Thought Leadership, RICS
13 September 2021
Five years on from the landmark Paris Agreement, this years’ Conference of Parties (COP) will hold extra significance. National governments are focusing on the social and economic recovery from COVID-19. ‘Build Back Better’ remains the preferred slogan for capturing widespread ambition for a green and sustainable recovery.
According to United Nations Environment Programme estimates, the buildings and construction sector is responsible for nearly 40% of energy related carbon dioxide emissions. The recent WBEF Sustainability Report 2021 paints a picture of an industry struggling to fully reckon with its role in the climate crisis. To achieve ambitious climate targets set out in Nationally Determined Contributions this must change. COP26 is a landmark opportunity to position RICS as the only global institution capable of consistently measuring, capturing, synthesising, analysing and reporting the progress being made across the built and natural environment.
RICS is leading global initiatives to standardise measurement of embodied and operational carbon across building lifecycles and the use-phase sustainability performance of buildings. By doing so, we are enabling the sector to make significant reductions to our collective carbon footprint.
To mark COP26, we will showcase how our profession is pioneering impactful sustainable practices across the built and natural environment. Every single one of our 137,000 professionals has the power to be an enabler and agent of change. Collectively they deliver practical solutions, trusted data and insights that equip people, business and government to make informed decisions and transition away from damaging and unsustainable practices.
As such, we are going to be creating and curating a programme of activities and initiatives that will:
This will include challenging our young professionals to map out their vision for the future of the profession – the profession that they will someday lead – that prioritises ethical and sustainable practice well beyond 2050. Furthermore, we will host a series of roundtables with the leaders of today to agree on an immediate, holistic course of action that ensures buildings are greener at every stage of their lifecycle.
Our invitation to you is to share your impact, your projects and your stories. By harnessing your collective experience, expertise and imagination, we will successfully adapt the built environment for a changing climate. Get in touch here
Greg Clark is an urbanist and writes here in a personal capacity. He is Group Advisor, Future Cities at HSBC, Chair of the Connected Places Catapult, and a global authority on city futures. In this month’s column he defines the mandate for cities to lead on decarbonisation.