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Climate Change

The built environment and construction sector accounts for 38% of global carbon emissions and it has been estimated that globally we build the equivalent of a city the size of Paris every week.

The last few years have shown the stark consequences of climate change inaction and with future global heating ‘baked in’ from current carbon emissions, adaptation in the built environment is a necessity.

On 1st May 2019, the UK Parliament declared an Environment and Climate Change Emergency. In the following month, government committed to a net zero emissions target by 2050. To coordinate the efforts of the professional institutes in the built environments in meeting these targets, CIC's Chair at the time Stephen Hodder MBE established the CIC Climate Change Committee.

In March of 2020, the Committee released a joint statement, recognising the emergency and committing to taking action to address it and in June 2021, CIC published 'Carbon Zero: the professional institutions’ climate action plan’; a plan for real action in the face of the climate and biodiversity emergencies, a plan capable of delivering on net zero.

You can now view the progress that has been made so far with the action plan, plus key resources and future plans on the individual workstream pages below.

Proud to be implementing

The signatories to the Action Plan collectively represent more than 350,000 professionals across all sectors of the built environment and the full spectrum of the design professions. They have agreed that:

  • the actions listed are necessary for dealing with the challenge of climate change;
  • they will implement those actions appropriate to them as an institution/organisation; and
  • they will support the other signatory institutions and organisations in delivering the remaining actions

At the heart of the plan are the ten workstreams which reflect the main target areas in terms of delivering Net Zero for the construction industry and meeting the broader challenge on climate change adaptation and risk.

The workstreams are fully mobilised and the Committee has been benchmarking their progress against the deliverables.

The UK construction industry has a very significant role to play. The Construction Leadership Council’s Construct Zero Programme is playing a key role in bringing the sector together to co-ordinate and amplify its accelerated transition to Net Zero. As a supporter of Construct Zero it’s crucial that collectively the sector gets behind and supports the programme, putting in place the necessary measures for the UK to able to meet its Net Zero obligations.

CIC at COP26 to support industry’s drive to Net Zero

The Construction Industry Council was at COP26 on 11th November 2021 to present on the Action Plan. The presentation was in support of the Construction Leadership Council’s Construct Zero session which took place as part of the COP26 Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day.

Chair of the CIC Climate Change Committee

Mina Hasman is the Chair of the CIC Climate Change Committee responsible for coordinating the Climate Change Action Plan. Mina is the author of the RIBA Climate Guide and has been included in TIME100 Climate, TIME’s inaugural list of 100 of the world’s most influential leaders driving climate action in business. She currently leads SOM's sustainability practice and is co-leader of the firm's Climate Action Group. Mina also led the Cross-Industry Action Group which developed the Climate Framework.

Mina follows on from past chair Stephen Hodder MBE, a former RIBA president, former CIC Chair and current Deputy Chair and director of Hodder+Partners, an established architectural practice with over 70 national awards including the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture.

Workstream 1: Education and Qualification

Led by University College of Estate Management (UCEM).

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CIC Climate Action Plan Toolkit: Education and Qualification

Embedding Sustainability and Climate Literacy

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Making the case for sustainability and climate literacy

Professional institutions within the built environment sector are uniquely placed to lead and enable professionals to play their role when it comes to tackling the climate emergency.

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Embedding sustainable practice and climate literacy within accreditation requirements for education and training programmes

Entry and access to the built environment professional registers, that is qualified professionals, often require the successful completion of a recognised, or accredited, programme.

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Professional qualification: Embedding sustainable practice and climate literacy within standards and assessment requirements

Professional standards can, like membership categories, be at various levels ranging from technician through to practitioners and chartered professionals and beyond into fellowships.

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Placing sustainable practice and climate literacy at the forefront

With the focus on building safety legislation and incoming regulation, engagement with the built environment professional institutions and their qualifying and ongoing competence processes are now at the forefront of the minds of many built environment organisations and the professionals’ therein.

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Workstream 2: Standards and regulations

Led by National House Building Council (NHBC).

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Workstream 3: Operational energy and whole-life carbon

Led by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

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Workstream 4: Resource use and embodied carbon

Led by Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE).

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Workstream 5: Land use, transport and infrastructure

Led by Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT).

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Workstream 6: Finance and risk

Led by ISSE.

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Workstream 7: In-use performance

Led by Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

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Workstream 8: Adaptation and resilience

Led by Landscape Institute (LI).

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Workstream 9: Emergency response

Led by Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE).

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Workstream 10: Competence/ethics/advocacy

Led by the Edge.

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