A Green Built Environment supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

This blog has referenced the Sustainable Development Goals on many occasions, indeed within FutuREstorative I make the case for the SDG’s to replace the Brundtland definition.

It is now three decades since the Brundtland Commission defined Sustainable Development as ‘doing nothing today that compromises future generations’. It was and remains the definitive ‘strapline’ that has been built into countless sustainability strategies definitions, statements and policies. We have chosen the ‘do nothing’ option, and are compromising future generations, and without radical, positive change we will continue to compromise the next generation.

Understanding and addressing the huge influence of the built environment is essential. This (influence and responsibility) must be included as an organisational governance issue to enable a culture of restorative approaches and delivery.   FutuREstorative

In 2015 the UN published its Sustainability Development Goals 2030. The SDGs define the intention to change the Brundtland definition of sustainability to a new purpose that is proactive and net-positive, and one that improves the social, environment and financial wellbeing of people and the planet by 2030. Just as we embraced the Brundtland definition, so we must now embrace the SDGs as a foundation for our sustainability visions and strategies.

The World Green Building Council recently released a handful of great infographics illustrating how the built environment can support SDG’s,

While many might look at a building and see only an inanimate structure, we look at buildings and see both the physicality and the process by which they are created – an opportunity to not only save energy, water and carbon emissions but to educate, create jobs, strengthen communities, improve health and wellbeing, and much, much more. Green building is a true catalyst for addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues. World Green Building Council 

The SDG’s give new purpose to  built environment Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

Content pages cityscape SDGs new

Giving purpose to green facilities management, that can, through promotion of green offices, address several SDG’s:

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And how our homes can be the building blocks in support of the sustainability goals:

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Sustainability, Sharing and Success

Below is my keynote presentation given to the UCLan Teaching and Learning conference recently, where the theme of the conference was Sustainability, Sharing and Success.

My keynote covered development of sustainability thinking, from the throwaway dreams and society  of the 1950’s to the circular economy, from the ubiquitous Brundtland definition to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, from sustainable buildings to healthy, biophilic and salutogenic buildings that heal. The keynote explored sharing through social media, and successful, ‘just’ sustainability leadership.

All themes covered  in detail within FutuREstorative published end of August 2016.

What will Rio Plus 20 mean for construction?

It’s 1992, five years after the Brundtland Commission launched the now well accepted  Sustainable Development definition. Heads of State and environmentalists convened in Rio to agree, or attempt to agree, a strategy to implement the sustainable definition globally.

At that time I was changing role from Project Management to Business Improvement Management, taking an interest in improvement issues and wondered then at the relevance of Rio and ‘sustainability’ on construction.

The impact was to be slow burn. Sustainable construction was then a very rarely heard expression, if at all. However Agenda 21, the global national and local strategy from Rio ’92 would go on to kick start and shape our Sustainable Construction agenda in so many ways, from strategy to standards to winning and delivering work. It would also shape our sustainability thinking linking economic, social as well as environmental aspects.

And continues to do so. Only last month I had a call from a contractor looking for help in understanding a Local Authority PQQ question “How do you meet our Local Agenda21 principles”

20 years later it is worth reflecting on progress in sustainable construction. Undoubtably a mixed bag, we have moved a long way in some areas, but we are still debating the some same 1992 issues a generation later.  And have we avoided compromising the current generation? No

With design, construction and the way we use buildings (the “built environment”) Accounting for 40% of energy use, waste and resources we have a profound impact, but where in Rio +20 is the voice of the built environment? (Follow the hashtag #Rioplus20 and an embyronic Rio twitter list for those with a built environment interest)

Whatever the outcome the Rio+20, with a (perhaps flawed) focus on a Green Economy we can expect significant impact on the way we approach sustainable construction, not least in the financial accounting and price of ‘nature’ (biodiversity, carbon emissions, waste)

Green Economy growth would in many ways be good for the construction sector, but to be good for the planet, good for a sustainable and resilience sector, growth has to be tempered with effective corporate social responsibility, collaborative working and appropriate sourcing. That is doing more with less.

Interesting days ahead…

link – 10 things you need to know about Rioplus20

link #GVischatCSR in Construction Tweetchat – will explore what Rio Plus 20 could mean for construction. 8pm 20 June.