‘Alarming’: Most companies in built environment  sector do not have climate transition plans

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The analysis, conducted by the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) and CDP, covers the climate-related targets and performance of 50 companies across building-related sectors.

The top-line findings have been described as these two organisations as “particularly alarming”, given that buildings account for some 37% of global annual emissions and that, because buildings have such long working lives, decisions taken now can lock in emissions for decades to come.

A significant minority (44%) of the companies assessed have no publicly-disclosed targets to reduce emissions at all.

Of the 32 companies deemed by the WBA to have significant property development or construction activities, less than one fifth have a net-zero target that includes the operational, in-use emissions of the buildings.

The few leaders in this space are Ayala, Gecina, Hyundai E&C, Lendlease and Prologis. But even they do not have a roadmap detailing how they will deliver zero-carbon-ready buildings by their target year. Without such plans, the WBA is warning, companies will face bills for renovations and rebuilds in the decades to come.

The benchmark shows an even lower level of consideration for embodied emissions – those generated upstream – than for operational emissions.

Just transition

The analysis also shows how many of the companies lagging behind on climate are also failing to protect jobs and safeguard worker livelihoods and rights.

More than half (54%) of the businesses assessed do not have a climate transition plan. Transition plans are intended to support long-term emissions targets with interim goals and plans for their delivery, including innovation, investment, upskilling and reskilling staff, and more.

Of the companies which do have a plan, the analysis states, most lack some of this detail. Information on planned investment was found to be particularly scant. All companies scored zero out on transition planning.

Without stronger transition planning, the analysis concludes, the 50 companies are putting the jobs of 1.2 million direct employees, plus millions of jobs for contracted workers and supply chain workers, at risk.

Moreover, the analysis reveals what the WBA is describing as a “systemic lack of commitment and action regarding the fundamentals of responsible business conduct” in the sector. Two-thirds of the companies assessed have no publicly available policies on respecting human rights.

“The lack of plans and action by companies could risk the success of the low-carbon transition and could lead to increased inequality, mass unemployment and civil unrest,” warned the WBA’s decarbonisation and energy transformation lead Vicky Sins.

“Despite the fact that buildings are built by and for people, no one is taking accountability for the people who work or live in buildings. We need every company in the building sector to step up efforts to accelerate the transition to more efficient buildings and more sustainable materials and resources, but for the transition to be just, it is essential that companies consider the millions of workers who will need to reskill or retrain.”

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    In the final analysis, we come to the necessity to use nuclear derived energy, for the majority of electricity generation. This will have to include fusion. Not easy!!!!
    Solar and “renewables” I do not see as sole providers.
    How many centuries will that take??

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