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“We need bold regulations and purposeful policies” – 200 built environment representatives deliver united plea to Governments at COP26

Over 200 businesses and organisations across the built environment have endorsed the our latest report, which will be presented to policymakers at COP26.

02 November 2021

Over 200 businesses and organisations across the built environment have endorsed the RIBA and Architects Declare’s extensive report, which will be presented to policymakers at COP26 this morning.

Built for the Environment brings together a cross-section of research and evidence, demonstrating how the built environment must adapt to limit global warming, and urges Governments to take action to support the decarbonisation of buildings.

From leading contractors such as Sir Robert McAlpine and Galliford Try; to real estate stakeholders CBRE Investment Management and Lendlease Europe; to architects, engineers, surveyors, and global collectives such as C40 Cities, the 220 endorsers urge Governments to:

  • Amend Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to include ambitious built environment sector actions for new and existing buildings.
  • Reform building codes to regulate the energy performance of both new and existing buildings.
  • Ensure building codes set minimum standards for embodied carbon, reuse of materials and natural materials and implement carbon budgets for planning authorities.
  • Hold and freely provide information on derelict and vacant building stock, to encourage adaptive reuse of existing structures.
  • Ensure building codes and planning systems require in-use monitoring and post-occupancy evaluation.
  • Update building codes and planning systems to include holistic health and wellbeing metrics, and nature-based solutions.
  • Reform public infrastructure and procurement policies to require industry leading standards and integrated social value requirements.
  • Develop financial mechanisms to drive public investment into emerging and low carbon technologies, and support green finance initiatives that focus on reducing energy use of existing buildings.

By adopting these recommendations, Governments will support the sector’s efforts to reach net zero.

As a business or organisation, you can still endorse the report until Tuesday 30 November. Endorse here.

The report will be presented as part of a panel discussion within the Buildings Pavilion at COP26 (Blue Zone) from 9:30-11am – watch live here.

Find out more about all RIBA COP-related activity here.

RIBA President, Simon Allford, said:

“As a pan-industry alliance of clients, contractors, consultants and manufacturers we are today making a collective call to Governments worldwide. Without ambitious legislation that will support the decarbonisation of our sector, we will not meet the Paris Agreement reductions. Our buildings are responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions. For the benefit of humanity, we need bold regulations and purposeful policies that will secure our future. I thank and commend all those who have contributed to this report and amplified the call to action. It now requires immediate attention.”

Maria Smith, RIBA Councillor, Buro Happold Director and report editor, said:

“Hundreds of built environment companies are collectively urging governments to increase their ambition and commitment to tackling the climate and biodiversity emergencies. These public and private sector clients, developers, architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers, and more are calling not only for stronger environmental regulation but also for more resources and infrastructure to facilitate a fair and sustainable built environment. This report represents a collective capability statement from the industry, but also a call for international climate justice: from monitoring and regulating embodied carbon, to reporting and targeting emissions reductions on a consumption-basis, this report aims to give confidence to all inside and outside the built environment that a better world is possible.”

Andrew Waugh, Architects Declare Steering Group Member, Director of Waugh Thistleton Architects, said:

“Architects Declare – a global organisation of over 6,000 practices – have joined forces with the RIBA to establish a direct voice from industry to governments ahead of COP26. The Built for the Environment report is a clear message from the industry that we are ready for the urgent transformation that is needed. We must change the way we design, build, maintain, operate, and regulate our industry. The lack of commitment from global governments is holding this transformation back. There is no choice now but for governments to act, and not by incremental improvements but wholesale change and now!”


Notes to editors:

  1. Media contact:
  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.
  3. Architects Declare is a network of architectural practices committed to addressing the climate and biodiversity emergency. Originated by architects Steve Tompkins and Michael Pawlyn, and launched on 30 May 2019 by the then 17 UK recipients of the Stirling Prize it quickly attracted hundreds of other architectural practices from across the UK. Under the wider banner of ‘Built Environment Declares’, it has now spread to more than 25 different countries, with over 6,000 signatories, and has been adopted by other built environment disciplines that have signed up to variations on the original 11-point declaration.

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