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The Construction Industry’s Role in Reducing Global Carbon Emissions

According to the Gleeds Construction Market Report from Q1 of this year, the construction industry and the built environment together contribute a staggering 38% of total global carbon emissions. This makes them pivotal players in the fight against climate change. As the world faces escalating environmental challenges, the urgency for the construction sector to adopt sustainable practices and reduce its carbon footprint has never been greater.

The Climate Emergency

The climate emergency continues to intensify, with last year being the hottest on record and the construction industry, with its significant carbon footprint, has long recognised its critical role in mitigating climate change. The industry’s impact extends beyond construction sites, encompassing the entire lifecycle of buildings—from material extraction and manufacturing to operation and eventual demolition.

COP 28

Recognising the gravity of the situation, the international community has launched several initiatives aimed at fostering collaboration within the construction industry to meet sustainability objectives. Last year’s COP 28 was a milestone event, introducing key programs designed to promote greener building practices.

Cement and Concrete Breakthrough Initiative

One of the significant initiatives is the Cement and Concrete Breakthrough, launched by Canada and the United Arab Emirates, with support from an initial cohort of endorsing countries including the United Kingdom and Ireland. This initiative seeks to establish clean cement as the preferred choice in global markets, targeting near-zero emission cement production to be established and growing in every region by 2030. Cement production is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions within the construction industry, and this initiative represents a crucial step towards reducing its environmental impact.

The Path Forward

We are at a critical juncture, with 38% of global carbon emissions attributed to the built environment, the sector’s actions will significantly influence the global fight against climate change. The construction industry must adopt a multifaceted approach to reduce its carbon emissions effectively, a crucial one of which is waste reduction. Promoting circular economy principles by minimising waste, reusing materials, and recycling construction debris. Digital platforms like Soil Link will play a major role by facilitating the exchange of materials, reducing landfill use and conserving natural resources.

By embracing sustainable practices, prioritising innovation, and fostering international collaboration, the construction industry can lead the way in reducing carbon emissions and building a greener, more resilient future.

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