The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched its Renewable Energy Procurement and Carbon Offsetting Guidance for Net Zero Carbon Buildings. According to the UKGBC, the guidance ‘provides clarity for the property and construction industry on the procurement of high-quality renewable energy and carbon offsets for net zero buildings and organisations in the UK.’
Nick Proctor, Founder and CEO of amber energy, and a member of the UKGBC’s task group, applauds the guidance as a framework for action but calls on building owners, occupiers, and developers to demonstrate leadership rather than participation:
“Climate change is widely accepted as the single biggest threat to global prosperity and survival, and the property industry – and private sector more broadly – cannot behave like this is an issue that sits outside of its purview. There are of course great strides being made by many businesses, but for those that are yet to start passive participation isn’t going to cut it. It’s time for companies around the world, of all sizes and in all sectors, to display leadership in the race to operational net zero.
“Through the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve been able to unintentionally witness the extent of change that’s needed to reduce emissions sufficiently to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees celsius. Covid-19 has significantly reduced domestic and international travel and halted swathes of industry, yet this significant disruption to daily life has only achieved a relative emissions reduction of 6.4%, which is still short of the 7.6% reduction that’s needed every year of this decade to meet the Paris target.
“It’s important that anyone reading the UKGBC’s guidance doesn’t look for the bare minimum that can be done to call their business ‘carbon neutral’. Instead, seek to be the trailblazer in your sector. Yes, decarbonisation can be seen as a cost, but I suggest it should be reframed as an investment. By taking action now, businesses can carve out a competitive advantage that makes them more attractive to new and existing customers, investors and employees.
“Decarbonisation isn’t a passing fad. Governments around the world are moving in one direction in the fight against climate change, and so a ‘wait and see’ approach isn’t an option. Failing to act now will just store up effort and cost for the future, risking fines, taxation and a damaged reputation. Worst of all, we risk the planet.”