RIBA and Architects Declare publish Built for the Environment report 2021

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Today 38% of global energy related greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the built environment. The new Built for the Environment report is a call to action from the international built environment sector to the governments. It calls to meet the challenges of the climate and biodiversity emergency with a fair and sustainable built environment.

Written on behalf of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architects Declare, the report demonstrates the role the built environment sector is playing – and must play – in tackling the climate emergency. It brings together research and evidence to prompt the industry to scale-up its capabilities and sets out bold recommendations to governments ahead of COP26.

However, we have a broad collective knowledge-base and are well positioned to tackle the climate emergency. We are taking advantage of these strengths and being mindful to communicate and collaborate with each other to offer environmentally conscientious solutions on all projects and, where appropriate, offer alternative options. We are committed to bringing the built environment in line with planetary limits.

This report shows that it is possible for the built environment to operate within planetary limits, and as such all those involved in the sector – including policymakers – can and must take decisive and ambitious action now.

Recommendations in the Built for the Environment report

The report recommendations range from reporting emissions on consumption to support the decarbonisation of buildings.

  • Governments to ensure environmental targets are science-based and fair
  • Governments to shift focus onto reducing absolute emissions, as opposed to reductions per square meter of building area, or per person. Greenwashing or reliance on large offsets will not help us meet our collective goals
  • Governments mitigate and adapt to the climate and biodiversity emergencies via nature-based solutions 
  • Those operating within the built environment to actively adapt practice
  • Information to be openly and widely shared to enable collaboration and transparent decision-making
  • Social justice to remain at the heart of all action

Download the report here