Researchers develop global consensus on sustainability in the built environment

Posted on: 01 October 2020

Researchers from Trinity are among an international group calling on the global community, politicians, industry leaders, and societal decision-makers to better understand the critical importance of the built environment for sustainable development at global and local scales.

The consensus has the backing of the leading professional associations in the domain of construction engineering and underlines the critical need to mitigate against global climate change.

“Nothing less than a transformative and united worldwide effort from all stakeholders of the construction sector is required for human society to be successful in sustainable development, and in the mitigation of the disastrous consequences of climate change at global and local scales” – this is the central message of the GLOBE Consensus, which has been recently stipulated by an international group of experts, mandated by seven of the leading professional associations in the domain of construction engineering.

GLOBE stands for Global Consensus on Sustainability in the Built Environment and it highlights the global challenges associated with the built environment as a main contributor to climate change.

The GLOBE Consensus is targeted at societal decision makers and professionals in the construction industry and calls for a coordinated and joint effort to counter global climate change.

The objective is to make players in the construction area aware of their enormous responsibility; GLOBE puts sustainability in the construction sector and the built environment on the global agenda – at the same level of importance as safety and durability. The consensus document further addresses facilitators and suggests clear actions, which must be implemented immediately.

Professor Michael Havbro Faber, President of the Joint Committee on Structural Safety, Aalborg University, Denmark, said:

“Sustainability and mitigation of climate change is a global challenge – that must be addressed in a global collaborative and focused effort – and this is what the GLOBE Consensus is really all about.”

With increasing urbanisation and construction demand and more and more limited resources, the construction industry and the profession of civil engineers become the most relevant drivers for positive socio-economical and environmental developments and more sustainable processes.”

“Nevertheless, most actors are not even aware of their individual role and responsibility in this challenge. Therefore, the GLOBE consensus is a milestone, which directly addresses all actors in the entire built environment and encourages them to become change drivers towards a better future perspective,” added Dr Dipl.-Ing. Wolfram Schmidt (BAM), who studies local material solutions for global challenges.

Alan O’Connor, Professor in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at Trinity, said:

“The GLOBE consensus details the need for a coordinated approach to be taken by leading educators, researchers and institutions together with professional organisations and stakeholders in addressing the challenges presented to the construction sector in delivering sustainability in the built environment. Trinity College Dublin is proud to be a part of this critical initiative.”      

The expert group strongly proposes that a globally composed task force is established and mandated to support supranational and national policy makers with respect to sustainable development in the construction sector and the built environment.

More detailed information on the GLOBE Consensus may be found on the GLOBE homepage, where the GLOBE Consensus may be found in English, Chinese, Spanish, German and Kiswahili. More language translations are in process.

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