A holistic approach to sustainability needs to be embedded and continuous opportunities explored to support the necessary market transition. There is a substantial opportunity to support the industry in responding to climate targets, with principles for the built environment that include both buildings and infrastructure. A more sustainable built environment represents better quality assets, maintained to a high standard, providing a better investment that offers cost savings across the lifecycle.
Public procurement benefits
A great deal of the world’s current and future infrastructure and buildings are procured with public resources. Public procurement is the process by which public money is spent on the construction of vertical and horizontal infrastructure. It plays an important role in achieving the United Nations’ (UN’s) sustainable development goals.
Public procurement contracts can advance the sustainability agenda for infrastructure by adhering to the principles of transparency – balancing financial and non-financial value and committing to net-zero emissions plus wider environmental benefits.
Case study: UK’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution
The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy37, which was developed by the United Kingdom (UK) government, is the first strategy published by a major economy that sets out how the industry can decarbonise in line with net-zero while remaining competitive and without pushing emissions abroad.
The main actions from the decarbonisation strategy focussed on public procurement are:
Advancing offshore wind.
Driving the growth of low-carbon hydrogen.
Delivering new and advanced nuclear power.
Accelerating the shift to zero-emission vehicles.
Green public transport.
Jet-zero and green ships.
Investing in carbon capture, usage and storage.
Protecting our natural environment.
Green finance and innovation.
Beyond buildings World Green Building Council report
The benefits to the built environment of infrastructure that is resilient, in line with their climate goals, and meets the targets of the sustainable development goals are significant.
The executive summary is as follows:
The built environment, buildings and infrastructure must be on a clear path to decarbonise by 2050 and have made significant progress by 2030.
Infrastructure and buildings share key commonalities and are interdependent in use. It is important to use them together as part of a system.
The overall built environment sector demands clear climate and sustainability targets, frameworks and methodologies in all places. The governance and delivery of projects need greater alignment with climate and sustainability targets.
A significant investment is needed to deliver on these targets and have trusted benchmarks to ensure these outcomes are achieved.
The building and infrastructure sectors are on similar paths and must work together to deliver these outcomes. The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its members are here to help create awareness, develop common principles and sustainable goals, and take action to include aligned principles in public procurement, investor frameworks and the built environment industry.