Environment

In mid-2020 the Transformation Plan was expanded to include a new workstream to focus on improving environmental sustainability, and supporting the construction sector to prepare for changes to the way we build due to climate change.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act puts the spotlight even more firmly on the construction sector to determine what its contribution to New Zealand's zero carbon by 2050 should be.

The Accord recognises there are significant opportunities and challenges for the construction sector when it comes to its environmental impacts.

In January 2021 the Accord commissioned BRANZ to lead the Environment workstream and to progress the Environment Roadmap as a key output for the workstream.

This workstream will create a roadmap for how the built environment and construction sector can contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand's climate and other environmental goals. The roadmap will be developed from insights across the sector and support the sector to understand its role, contribution and the shifts that are needed to meet these goals. It will identify the actions the Accord will focus on over the short term and align with other significant work underway within the sector to improve environmental performance, including the government's Building for Climate Change programme.

Building for Climate Change(external link) — MBIE.govt.nz

Environmental challenges facing the sector

Framing up the opportunities requires shared clarity on the challenges and the issues facing the construction sector. In June 2021, BRANZ published a paper for the Accord’s Environment Workstream:

Environmental challenges, opportunities and transitions for construction in Aotearoa New Zealand(external link) — BRANZ

This paper draws on insights from interviews with leaders across the sector and an analysis of trends and developments influencing the sector. The paper identifies environmental challenges facing construction in Aotearoa New Zealand and places them in a broader system-wide context, alongside some opportunities. 

Construction sector environment roadmap for action

BRANZ has created the Construction Sector Environment Roadmap for Action(external link).

The roadmap outlines how the built environment and construction sector can contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand's climate and other environmental goals.

The roadmap has been developed from insights across the sector and supports the sector to understand its role, contribution and the shifts that are needed to meet these goals. The roadmap sets out clearly what we'll need to do 'to reimagine all aspects of the building system'. It aligns with other significant work underway within the sector to improve environmental performance, including the government's Building for Climate Change programme.

The roadmap identifies four priority areas:

  • Changing mindsets by improving awareness of what's needed and committing ourselves to reducing emissions in our sector and better protecting the environment.
  • Scaling up the great work already being done by some so that all our work across the whole industry is on the right track.
  • Demonstrating impact by measuring the progress we are making contributing to the country's climate and environmental goals.
  • Incentivising and aligning to ensure environmentally sustainable building practices become what we do every day.

Next steps

The Roadmap is an important starting point to focus on actions that will help improve environmental awareness, strengthen capabilities, and improve cohesion and accountability across the sector.

The Roadmap will be the foundation of the Planet workstream currently envisaged as part of 'Accord 2.0', the next iteration of the Accord's Transformation Plan. The next steps are well underway to develop the implementation plan and are being progressed through the Accord 2.0 Plan design process.

Programme timeline

Date Programme 
June 2021

Environmental challenges, opportunities and transitions for construction in Aotearoa New Zealand paper published.

BRANZ convened an expert advisory group to develop a roadmap for the workstream which includes associated actions. 

October 2021 

Accord environment workstream developed the Construction Sector Environment Roadmap for Action, including the priorities and actions needed to achieve New Zealand's 2050 environmental climate change targets.

Read the Roadmap for Action [PDF 1.7MB](external link)  - buildmagazine.org.nz

Last updated: 23 June 2021