Evidence of the climate crisis is escalating; public awareness is rising, and the pressure is on to force politicians into making some fundamental changes designed to protect our planet.
The Extinction Rebellion campaign, school climate strikes, underpinned by the BBC’s spectacular and behaviour changing Attenborough documentaries have put the issue on the front pages. So much so in fact, that the climate emergency is now established in the top five most important issues facing the UK today – on par with the economy.
Since the April protests, the government has legislated for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and Labour is moving towards a much more ambitious target.
But we all have a role to play in meeting those objectives – with the construction sector already making strides in that direction.
Value the Planet
We need to demonstrate that this is a profession that embraces sustainability and a responsible approach to business.
And this is why the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recently launched its Value the Planet campaign promoting the preservation of the planet through the implementation of the UN’s sustainable development goals.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a model for addressing the most important economic, social and environmental challenges of our time.
These 17 goals set forth a challenge to decouple economic growth from climate change, poverty and inequality.
It is my belief that organisations around the world need to align their operations with these goals in order to make a difference.
This is particularly important for the construction industry. After all, 40% of global carbon emissions can be attributed to this sector.
Making a difference
Here at DCP we are taking practical measures to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through both the work we do on our projects, our company policies and the strategic direction of the practice we aim to positively influence levels of resource use, emissions, waste generation and also take an active stand on anti-corruption and labour practices.
We all know that the built environment sector has an urgent role to play in delivering on our climate change targets.
What we build today will almost certainly be in use in 32 years (2050) – by which time the whole world needs to be consuming no fossils fuels at all.
Our industry already knows how to create sustainable buildings and communities, so we need to renew our resolve to create a healthy built environment for all.
In the words of Greta Thunberg: “The eyes of all future generations are upon you.”
Main image: Courtesy of Nasa