Climate Resilience and Nature

A programme of work to help the built environment adapt to the impacts of climate change, embrace nature and promote biodiversity, by prioritising the use of Nature-based Solutions.

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April 13, 2021

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Policy & Advocacy, Research & Innovation

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It is now unequivocal that human influence has warmed the planet, resulting in widespread and rapid changes affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. For the built environment, this will have a consequential impact on our buildings, infrastructure, and way of life.

The IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5ºC found that we are already seeing the consequences of a 1ºC global temperature rise and that 1.5ºC is expected by 2030-2052. The UK Climate Projections found that in the UK we will see hotter drier summers and wetter windier winters. The most recent assessment of UK climate-related risks and opportunities found that nearly 60% need to be addressed urgently, and that the gap between risks and adaptation action is widening.

We are also experiencing an ecological crisis. Biologists and geologists predict we are entering a human-caused sixth mass extinction event. Human impacts on the environment are substantial: 56% of monitored species declined in the UK between 1970 and 2013.

Climate action failure, extreme weather and biodiversity loss rank as the three most potentially severe risks for the next decade. Therefore, we hope that all those working in the built environment sector will support our ambition that “by 2030, all buildings and infrastructure will, throughout their lifetime, be climate-resilient and maximise environmental net gains, through the prioritisation of Nature-based Solutions”.

To help our members and the wider built environment sector achieve this ambition we are undertaking a number of activities. They will all involve collaborating with members and we will announce these opportunities when they arise. To receive regular updates about our work on these topics please join the UKGBC Climate Resilience, Nature and Biodiversity Interest Groups by emailing Hannah Giddings

Planned programme deliverables for 2022-23 

Shaping Sector-wide Targets for Climate Resilience

The UK built environment sector currently lacks the definitions and targets needed to become climate resilient by 2050. Working with programme partners, this project aims to scope and propose an industry wide collaborative project to set new climate resilience and adaptation targets for the sector.

Meetings, roundtables, and workshops will be held with the UKGBC membership and other key stakeholders to seek views on content and approach, and key industry stakeholders and funding sources will be identified to deliver the project.

The output will be a budgeted and timelined project proposal for bringing together a multi-disciplinary team to define sector wide targets. This project plan will then be used to pitch for the required funding from grant giving organisations, including government and charitable foundations. The eventual project aims to be similar in scope and ambition to the Whole Life Carbon Roadmap.

Physical Risk Assessment Lab

Following the release of the Framework for Measuring and Reporting of Climate-related Physical Risks to Built Assets, this project aims to bring together organisations aiming to implement climate-related physical risk assessments for their built assets.

Through a series of workshop sessions, users will be taken through the physical risk assessment process, increasing understanding and collaboratively working through identified barriers. A summary output report will be produced on completion of the lab sessions identifying solutions to barriers found and containing useful case studies of the Framework in use. The user feedback given within the lab sessions will also help us improve future versions of the Framework.

Nature-Based Solutions Finance and Innovation Lab

Following the release in May 2022 of the report into the value of nature-based solutions (NBS), this project aims to bring together industry experts and built environment actors to discuss and work through the barriers of implementing and financing NBS in urban environments. Through a series of workshop sessions, attendees will be able to share knowledge, build capacity and develop innovative solutions for developments and operational assets that wish to increase nature-based approaches.

Measurement Framework for Ecological Footprinting

Utilising UKGBC’s previous work on circular economy principles to minimise the construction industry’s impact on nature, this framework aims to increase understanding around the ecological footprint of construction materials in order to improve decision making processes during project design stages. This is of particular importance in regard to forthcoming recommendations of the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD).

A Task Group will help deliver the framework, drawn from the programme partners, wider UKGBC membership, and key industry organisations. The content will be created via desktop research, workshops, interviews and industry consultation.

Guidance on Implementing BNG and ENG

With biodiversity net gain (BNG) becoming a mandatory requirement and environmental net gain (ENG) principles increasingly adopted, this project aims to provide learning opportunities for individuals wanting to increase their knowledge and understanding of the two approaches. This will be completed through learning-based opportunities including roundtables, informative videos and short explainer documents, all delivered in collaboration with the programme and project partners.

Nature and Resilience Policy Playbook

We will build upon the success of our New Homes and Retrofit Policy Playbooks to include matters of resilience, adaptation, biodiversity, and NBS. The Nature and Resilience Policy Playbook will be a resource pack designed to help cities and local authorities drive up the sustainability of new and existing homes, with some scope for future consideration of new commercial buildings. The content will be created through extensive member engagement, including a number of workshops.

National Policy Advocacy

The UKGBC policy team will ensure the learnings from the programme are integrated into our national and local policy work.

Solutions Library

We will increase the number of solutions and case studies related to this programme on our Solutions Library. We will also continually update the library with case studies covered in our existing and emerging resources. You can submit your own Solutions and/or Case Studies now via our webpage.

Presentations at UKGBC and industry events

We will continue to present the programme outputs at UKGBC events, including Learning & Development courses, and at impactful industry events.

This programme of work is made possible by our Programme Partners BuroHappold, Hoare Lea, Hydrock and JLL.

 

UKGBC resources