The construction industry must contribute actively to the realisation of:

  • The goals in the Paris Agreement
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The vision for a climate neutral Europe in 2050 

Phil Kelly

Head of sustainability and building physics

T: +44 7583 089 005

As a partner of the World Green Building Council, we contributed to their 2019 manifesto ‘A sustainable built environment at the heart of Europe’s future’. 

The manifesto urges European decision makers to recognise the vital role that the built environment sector plays in delivering a climate neutral Europe.

We used the eight priority areas defined in the manifesto as the basis for our ‘Sustainability dialogue tool’. We relate our tool to the Sustainable Development Goals but as this manifesto focuses solely on the built environment it is the most relevant basis for our tool.  The tool has been created in collaboration with our sustainability experts globally in order to quantify the client aspirations for any given project.

What does sustainability mean in the built environment? 

The modern use of the term sustainability is extensive and a complex issue to define precisely. It holds many different facets which can make it an immense challenge to devise and phase a sustainability strategy. Within the built environment, sustainability is a holistic matter where all disciplines need to meet and collaborate in solving challenges to create the best possible surroundings and built environments for people to live and thrive in without taxing the environment.

Challenges our clients face with implementing sustainable solutions

We have found that our clients face some challenges when considering sustainable solutions:

  • Businesses are aware of the fact that sustainability is important, but their targets can be vague, and focus on CO2 only. 
  • Certification schemes may not provide businesses with a fully holistic approach being an off the shelf solution. 

We can support our clients in identifying the right targets, risks, opportunities and actions in their projects.

How the tool works

The Sustainability Dialogue Tool is a digital tool which supports the early dialogue with our clients regarding sustainability in the built environment. We use the tool to illustrate the process of developing a sustainability strategy for a project by highlighting eight priority areas from the WGBC advocacy manifesto:  

 
  • CO2-emissions
  • Circular Economy
  • Health & Well-being
  • Water Use
 
  • Cost & Value
  • Resilience
  • Biodiversity
  • Just Transition 
Under each of the eight priority areas, we work with our clients to define the themes specific to their project taking into consideration the building type, local area and individual focus areas the client might have. Each priority is also related to the SDG goals impact.  

The tool has a scale of 1-5 on each theme, to help define the right level of ambition for the project. For example, level 1 means you are compliant with local building regulations and level 5 means world class quality in the theme. 

The aspirations mapping can be used to generate a bespoke sustainability strategy, to meet local planning policy, and to track performance throughout the project, to either compliment or replace existing third-party accreditation schemes such as BREEAM and LEED.