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The rise of greener construction practices: why your C-suite leaders need to be in the know

18th December 2019 | Conor Firth

The rise of greener construction practices: why your C-suite leaders need to be in the know

The issue of climate and the ecological impact of corporate activities has been making waves in the worlds of politics and business for some time, and continues to creep up the agenda as its importance rises. 

The increasing recognition and awareness of the effect of human activity upon the climate has encouraged businesses in the built environment industry to take a step back to reflect upon their own impact, and make attempts to address the problem and reduce the effect of construction upon the world. 

One way that it is doing this is through greener construction. 

What is “greener construction”? 

Greener construction refers to a process of building that takes environmental impact into consideration throughout the design, construction and operation processes that are involved in a specific project. 

This is done through more efficient construction methods, utilising more natural and eco-friendly materials and ensuring that the design of the building is maximising the potential of the natural environment surrounding it – i.e. making use of solar energy, tree canopies for cooling and utilising natural flood defences. 

Why do your C-suite leaders need to be in the know?

The rise of green construction practices has been relatively slow thus far; however, this is set to change in the near future. The World Green Building Trend 2018 Report, involving 2,000 built environment professionals from 86 countries, revealed that half of the experts in the sector believe that most construction projects could be ‘green’ in as little as three years. 

There are several reasons for this, but the ones that your C-suite leaders should be aware of include evolving client demands, legislative changes and social responsibility. 

Evolving client demands

The demands of the modern client are very different from what they were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. As anyone in the built environment sector knows, your client’s expectations can shift rapidly in reaction to changes in the cultural and political environment of the times. 

Our current political and cultural environment is very much focused on the environmental impact of human actions, and thus, this has had an effect on client demands. 

The emerging trend is for construction to be as efficient and environmentally sound as possible, and it’s essential for your C-suite leaders to react to this demand swiftly to remain competitive and to keep your built environment business leading from the front. 

Without C-suite leaders that understand the eco-centric demands of the modern client, it is possible for your business to lag behind and lose its competitive edge. 

Legislative changes

As political leaders react to the demand for action against the climate crisis, more and more environmental legislative changes are being put into action. 

It is vital that your C-suite leaders stay up-to-date with these changes to ensure that your business is not only operating legally, but also so that it can anticipate further change on the horizon, and strategically plan ahead so as not to falter in the face of stricter construction legislation, which could ultimately cost your business time and money. 

In the UK, the Government has already taken extreme steps in the direction of greener construction. Alastair Mant, Head of Business Transformation at UKGBC, commented: “We’re seeing an increasing focus from Government and industry… recent legislation requiring developers to deliver biodiversity net gain on new developments highlights the importance that is being placed on not just protecting habitats and ecosystems, but on enhancing them.”

The UKBGC also released a statement anticipating that “By 2030, all buildings and infrastructure will, throughout their lifetime, be climate-resilient and maximise environmental net gains, through the prioritisation of nature-based solutions.” This reflects their insistence that the greener construction movement is imminent and will demand the entire industries involvement. 

Social responsibility 

Reducing the environmental impact of your business practices through greener construction is important not only out of the necessity of evolving client demand and increasing legislative pressure, but also because of your corporate social responsibility to operate in the interests of the public and for the betterment of society.

Through greener construction, your business can reduce its environmental impact, thus having a more positive impact upon the world. This, in turn, will be a huge benefit for your business in many ways. 

For one, this will improve your public opinion, which could make your business a preferable choice for future projects. This is especially vital in nailing larger contracts, where the corporations involved take social responsibility seriously, and will only consider working alongside businesses who reflect their environmental ethos.

It is also beneficial for company morale, ass employees are more likely to enjoy working for, and feel a closer affinity to, a business that cares about its impact and champions a good cause. 

In summary

The time is now to make a change. Greener construction is not merely a trend on the horizon, but a reality that built environment businesses need to face in the present. 

Your C-suite leaders need to be in the know when it comes to greener construction if your business is to remain competitive in the current eco-conscious political and cultural environment. 

The changing demands of clients, legislative changes and the social responsibility of your company to do so should be very much at the forefront of your C-suite leader’s minds, and if not, then perhaps now is the time to make some adjustments? 

Here at Goodall Brazier, our specialist talent management teams have connections across the globe with the most talented leaders in the built environment sector. Through talent management, your business could utilise talented leaders to gain valuable insight into greener construction, so that your business is poised to react and adapt to significant industry changes. 

For more information on how Goodall Brazier could help your built environment business gain the edge on greener construction through talent management, contact us today.