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RIBA commits to climate emergency declaration and action plan

27 June 2019

The trustees of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) have today formally agreed to join the global declaration of an environment and climate emergency and to drive support for the UK government’s commitment to a 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

The agreement was made at the triannual meeting of RIBA Council members, which brings together the elected trustees of the RIBA to debate and discuss the biggest issues facing the profession.

RIBA Council acknowledged the scale of the challenge and responsibility of built environment professionals in playing their part in tackling it. For the UK to reach the government’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the architectural profession must take a leading role, ramping up its actions. RIBA Council endorsed a series of key decisions including the development of a five year, detailed, measurable action plan to embed sustainable industry standards and practice; use the RIBA’s influence to improve government and inter-government policy and regulation; and reduce the RIBA’s own carbon footprint.

RIBA Council endorsed the following motion:

  1. Declaration of an environment and climate emergency and support for the UK government’s commitment to put into legislation the UKCCC recommendation for a UK 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target.
  2. RIBA to develop an Ethics and Sustainable Development Action Plan to include measurable actions to support a net zero carbon environment, driving change at national and international level in: Industry standards and practice, government and inter-governmental policy and regulation, the RIBA’s own carbon footprint.
  3. The RIBA should work to support chartered member practices (in the UK and internationally), enabling them to commit to voluntary reporting of core building performance metrics, and to work towards the whole-life net zero carbon standard and standard Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) reporting metrics when the guidance is available.

RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire, said:

“The climate emergency is the biggest challenge facing our planet and our profession. But to have a significant impact we need to do more than make symbolic statements - we need to turn warm words into impactful actions.

We architects need to transform the way we practice and along with our fellow professionals around the world, make changes that will impact at a global level.

Whilst the task ahead of us is vast, we have already made some progress embedding Post Occupancy Evaluation into the RIBA Plan of Work, and introducing enhanced sustainability requirements in our awards criteria. But there is still much more for all of us to do.

The five year action plan we have committed to today will ensure we are able to benchmark change, and evaluate the actions that make most impact.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact +44 (0) 20 7580 3761
  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

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