The built environment, like many sectors, is a cyclical beast. During a recession, talk of driving sustainability goals are tempered somewhat by the need to, well, survive! And then the merry-go-round continues. Clearly this is a huge and critical subject matter.
It was sad to hear about the results from the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development report yesterday. Set up to tackle the UN's Sustainable development goals, the body's "Measuring up" report highlights that the UK is some 76% off targets.
As a person who gets to see building product manufacturing sites a lot, as disappointing is the report indicating that innovation (along with other factors) does not even hit a "good" standard. I can think of numerous offsite, volumetric sites I have been around that offer HUGE reductions in CO2 emissions, both from a build, transportation and long term thermal properties perspective. And as for more conventional material suppliers, again, I have witnessed first-hand the amount of effort manufacturers are going to (examples being uPVC extrusion and architectural glass) in making their products more green, more attractive to the given project and, thus, more cost efficient to the contractor.
Think I need to interview a senior supply chain person within a large tier one to get their perspective on it. Time for some sleuthing!
Sue Riddlestone, chief executive of sustainability charity Bioregional, co-chairs UKSSD and wrote Chapter 12 on sustainable consumption and production. She said: "The built environment sector has a big part to play in contributing to achieving the SDGs in the UK – after all, carbon emissions from buildings account for around a third of our emissions. It also clearly has a role to play in sustainable infrastructure (Goal 9), promoting good health and wellbeing (Goal 3), sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11) and many other goals. "There's a huge opportunity now for companies in the built environment – be they architects, engineers, housebuilders or developers – to take up the challenge set by the SDGs. implement the SDGs in the UK."