Key takeaways from the Sustainability Impact Summit
We recently attended the Sustainability Impact Summit, held by Built Environment Networking. Here's what we learned.
On Wednesday 17th November, we had the pleasure of attending the Sustainability Impact Summit, in partnership with Impact Capital Group. One of the many events from Built Environment Networking, a great organisation that highlights sustainability in construction and civil engineering. It’s definitely worth checking out.
During this afternoon of great panel discussions, there were some key takeaways that got our brains ticking. Especially in the first portion, where the speakers discussed the importance of addressing Net Zero pledges and climate change in the construction industry.
It’s about internal processes
Things won’t change externally automatically. Companies serious about addressing the environment in their solutions, products and services, need to look inward. One of the speakers, from company Modono, stressed the importance of agreeing to pledges and gaining certification to meet standards. This shows a companies dedication to making a change – which importantly, home-owners increasingly want to see!
The idea that we’re building houses traditionally was not considered modern or sustainable moving forward. There’s still a way for the industry to catchup. An example of progress is starting to build offsite: “We wouldn’t buy a car that they build in the drive way.”
All speakers agreed that genuine improvements are important – not just offsetting carbon. Improving the amount construction and housing companies are putting out in the first place, not offsetting their output. In the long run its good to know the difference!
Focusing on supply chains
This also includes supply chains. Looking back at where materials are bought and what the organisations companies work with do. Does everyone’s values align?
It was brought up that to move towards Net Zero goals some companies are now using materials that can be re-used at the end of their life. Purchasing and installing kitchen equipment that is made from recycled parts, for example. This isn’t about getting cheap deals and saving money, though – quality AND performance is very important.
Which brings us to our next takeway…
It’s about the people who live in the homes
All speakers tended to agree with the idea that the focus should be on the tenants who live within the homes. In an age where younger generations are now starting to buy and get on to the property ladder, they’re increasingly looking at reassurances that the houses they purchase are not harmful to the environment.
Companies shouldn’t be just greenwashing with their processes, they should proving that their homes contribute to a better planet. Increasingly, home-buyers want to see this.
Can the UK government help?
Essentially, companies want to see support for suppliers and manufacturers who have innovative products and tech. Normally supply chains can’t really catchup in time for targets that are introduced, and don’t have the capacity. The construction industry needs the support from government to match it. This was agreed from everyone on the panel. It can be seen to currently favour larger companies who can adapt quicker, blocking out SMEs and smaller companies who are more restricted with time and resources. Luckily, building regulations are a lot more acceptable of greener and sustainable energy/solutions. Which can influence change, however sometimes it doesn’t move quick enough.
With events such as COP26 taking place, discussions about how sustainability, Net Zero and climate change integrate into how we buy homes, are expanding. After all, the construction industry contributes to approximately 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. So things now need to progress.
As Impact Capital Group stated during the panel: “Companies that don’t adapt will die. They will fall behind. The race for a better world is on”.