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RIBA declares environment and climate emergency and commits to action plan

RIBA declares environment and climate emergency and commits to action plan

27 June 2019

RIBA trustees today formally agreed to join the global declaration of an environment and climate emergency at the triannual meeting of RIBA Council members.

At the meeting, which brings together elected trustees to debate and discuss the biggest issues facing the profession, the Institute also committed to developing the RIBA Ethics and Sustainable Development Commission’s action plan and a pledge to support the government’s 2050 net zero emissions target.

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.

The implementation of a 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.”

The Ethics and Sustainable Development Action Plan will include measurable actions to support a net zero carbon built environment. It will drive change at a national and international level in industry standards and practice; in government and inter-governmental policy and regulation; and in the RIBA’s own carbon footprint.

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 Chief Executive, Alan Vallance said:

“With a background in the meteorological sector I have a deep insight into the impact of climate change and the vast and urgent task ahead of us. RIBA Council’s commitment to the climate emergency declaration is an important moment for the institute and the profession – a catalyst for the further action and change that is needed to ensure that architects and the built environment sector are at the forefront of a zero-carbon future.”

Next steps will include the implementation of a five-year detailed action plan to embed sustainable industry standards and practice and use the RIBA’s influence to improve government and inter-government policy and regulation.

Chair of the RIBA’s Sustainable Futures Group, Gary Clark said:

“The RIBA Sustainable Futures Group welcomes the RIBA Council decision to declare a climate emergency. This is an important first step that formally recognises the scale and urgency of climate change and that as architects we have an obligation to demonstrate leadership for a sustainable future. Now the hard work starts – we only have 11 years to agree and implement a net zero carbon trajectory for new and retrofitted buildings, and infrastructure. The RIBA will be guiding the profession but we must all take action to voluntarily reduce operational emissions and embodied carbon significantly beyond regulation.”

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