Workstream 7: Environment
Roadmap for Action underway
While the construction sector faces many challenges, it can reasonably be argued that none are greater than responding meaningfully to environmental sustainability and climate change concerns.
BRANZ convened an expert advisory group to develop a roadmap for the workstream, including a vision and associated actions.
A draft paper was published in June 2021, framing up the challenges, opportunities and transitions facing the construction sector. The paper provides a way of thinking about the seven challenges identified:
- greenhouse gas emissions: built environment contributes around 20% of emissions
- energy: industry a heavy user of fossil fuels, need to increase energy efficiency of buildings
- waste: BRANZ estimates construction generates up to 50% of waste to landfills
- water: construction impact on water availability and quality
- land use: productive agricultural land converted to housing, loss of habitat and biodiversity
- climate adaptation: increased resilience, e.g. to flooding, has environment and economic cost
- regenerative construction: new environmental and social value so that building and construction activities help environments and communities thrive.
The paper notes there are also opportunities: the government, in part through supporting the Accord, has set a strong direction of travel, and many in the sector do not need to be persuaded that change is necessary. The framework for focus and action provided by the Accord has been lacking in the past so the support and foundations now exist to make a real difference for Aotearoa New Zealand.
A draft Environment roadmap was endorsed by the Accord Steering Group in November 2021. The final report was published in February 2022. It identifies four priorities:
- Changing mindsets by improving awareness of and commitment to addressing, accounting for and improving environmental outcomes
- Scaling up the sector's capability and capacity in environmentally sustainable construction
- Incentivising and aligning to ensure environmentally sustainable building practices are facilitated
- Demonstrating impact by measuring construction sector progress in contributing to Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate and environmental goals.
Development of an implementation plan is underway.