Opinion

How the CIOB is taking action on climate change

The institute is working with policy-makers and other professional bodies to help the built environment’s transition to net zero, explains Caroline Gumble
Illustration of green building cityscape. Image: Dreamstime
Image: Dreamstime

One of the most pressing issues facing society – and, of course, the construction industry – is climate change and the requirement to move towards net zero carbon emissions.

With the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) just over six months away, I am often asked by members what the CIOB is doing to contribute towards net zero, as an institution and in our leadership position to support and guide our members. My short and honest answer is not enough – yet.

For several years, we have been working across the industry to help make the case for greener construction policies and practices. While we have a responsibility to drive our own internal net zero agenda, I believe collaboration across the sector is the most impactful way to make a meaningful contribution to our industry and society.

“I believe collaboration across the sector is the most impactful way to make a meaningful contribution to our industry and society”

The CIOB is a member of the Construction Industry Council’s (CIC) Climate Change Committee, which is coordinating the efforts of sector professional institutes to meet the emissions target set out in the Climate Change Act 2008. This work also now covers the Industry Recovery Plan.

The committee comprises 10 workstreams, which are contributing to the development of a climate action plan. This plan brings together work that is already underway, as well as setting out actions that the CIC and its members believe need to be taken by the professional institutes over the next 10 years to achieve the 2050 net zero target. The committee intends to present the plan at COP26, in alignment with Built Environment Day.

The CIOB also sits on the RICS Building Carbon Database steering group, set up to oversee work on a database for use by all built environment professional institutes. This group is time limited, with the specific purpose of guiding work ahead of COP26.

We are also part of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) domestic RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) working group, which is developing recommendations for a national retrofit strategy to help underpin a sustainable recovery. This is being supported by research we are conducting into a ‘help to fix’ loan scheme to finance a national retrofit rollout, which has been adopted by the CLC as one of its key recommendations to government.

We will be committing to our own internal net zero plan, dialling up our influencing activity in this area, engaging with policy-makers and parliamentarians on the built environment’s vital role in contributing to a green recovery and transitioning to net zero.

Caroline Gumble is CEO of the CIOB.

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