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Fri January 28 2022

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Panel calls for action on embodied carbon

15 Nov 21 An industry panel meeting at COP26 has called for action from governments and business to address embodied emissions in building construction.

The meeting took place at COP26 in Glasgow
The meeting took place at COP26 in Glasgow

Representatives of Stora Enso, Google, Lendlease, WEB Limited Group, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Green Building Council gathered to discuss: How can construction contribute to solving the climate crisis?

Agreed upon during the event were calls on government and industry to reduce the sector’s environmental impact, including:

  • for national and sub-national governments around the world to adopt a life-cycle approach to the reduction of emissions from buildings, and ensure that embodied emissions get addressed from the early stages of planning and building design; and
  • for businesses in the building sector to commit to radical collaboration across the value chain in order to develop, promote and adopt sustainable building practices that achieve the reduction of embodied carbon in buildings at scale and without delay.

“A striking 10% of global carbon emissions are said to come from materials and construction processes, often referred to as embodied emissions,” said Stora Enso Wood Products executive vice president Lars Völkel. “Most of these embodied emissions are released before the building is used. Our industry has an inescapable duty to do better for the planet, for all of us, and we call upon the world’s governments to support us in doing so with regulations and building standards fit for the modern world.”

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He added: “As an industry we have low-carbon and circular solutions that contribute to net-zero buildings, cities and states today. Solutions that contribute to solving the climate crisis, rather than intensifying it. We are at a tipping point in history, and the decisions we make now will impact human lives and the environment for decades to come.”

The event was hosted by Stora Enso, a provider of mass timber systems based on cross-laminated timber (CLT) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL). The panel included:

  • Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council;
  • Elizabeth Chege, CEO WEB Limited Group and chair of African Regional Network
  • Roland Hunziker, director sustainable cities and built environment at WBCSD;
  • Joe Van Belleghem, senior director real estate, Google;
  • Neil Martin, CEO, Lendlease Europe;
  • Lars Voelkel, CEO, Stora Enso Wood Products.

Lendlease and Stora Enso recently launched a global partnership involving sustainable timber.

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