UKGBC Placards
A sample of placards by the UK Green Building Council which will be seen at the rally today. Image credit: Twitter user @MunishDatta

Built environment joins ranks for Global Climate Strike

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Nicola Byrne

Powerful scenes emerged around the world as individuals and businesses in around 150 countries left schools and workplaces to come together for the Global Climate Strike.

Many in the property and construction industry gathered in London outside The Building Centre before joining the main demonstration in Millbank, said the UK Green Building Council.

The council is launching an online Climate Commitment Platform today, designed to profile the headline pledges and carbon targets of built environment organisations.

This comes as 23 real estate players including Blackstone, British Land, CBRE, Bruntwood, Grosvenor, Intu, LaSalle, Lendlease, sign a commitment under the Better Buildings Partnership to work together to improve the sustainability of existing commercial building stock.

Covering over £300bn assets under management, 11,000 commercial properties globally, and responsible for 1.2m tonnes of carbon emissions per annum, the firms have signed to achieve various aims and objectives, which include:

  • To support members and the industry to deliver excellent operational building performance
  • Improving professional understanding. Mainstream sustainability skills and provide guidance for non-sustainability professionals
  • Stimulating market transformation. Enable investors and occupiers to understand and act upon sustainability to drive change

By the end of 2020, companies in the partnership will each publish their own net zero carbon pathway, outlining their trajectory towards net zero carbon new and existing buildings. They will also annually disclose progress towards their pathway and in doing so, explain the scope and implementation of this commitment as it relates to their individual businesses.

Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood said: “We have actions in place to reduce our energy demand and improve our energy efficiency already, and are committed to driving this further and faster through collaborations with our customers and partners who are disrupting this market and driving innovation in this space.

“We are facing a global climate crisis and more needs to be done to make a real, scaleable, collective change, so today we ask our customers and partners within our thriving cities to join this commitment.”

Tech will play a significant role as companies attempt to reduce their impact on the climate and equally to climate-proof the future as sea levels rise, riverbanks continue to burst, temperatures soar, whilst the human population continues to grow.

The UKGBC gathered industry professionals together to strike and march in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester.

PlaceTech spoke to John Alker, UKGBC’s director of policy and places, at the strike in Manchester about how the built environment, which contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, can begin to reduce its impact on the climate.

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its now or never to change

By Anonymous