It’s Time For Action: Futurebuild unveils ambitious conference programme to drive real change

Climate change, global warming, a climate crisis – there’s no question that action needs to be taken today to create a sustainable future. Against this backdrop, Futurebuild has announced details of its ecobuild conference programme which sets out to highlight the critical issues facing the built environment and create an action plan for change.

Sponsored by ACO and available on-demand at Colab, the three-day Time for Action programme (05-07 March) brings together an unrivalled collection of industry leaders, disruptors, pioneers and rebels to encourage debate and discussion around 13 challenges, with the ultimate aim of driving radical and fast-track action. High profile speakers such as the Rt Hon Claire Perry MP and Chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, will address issues including the Climate Change Challenge and the Commitment Challenge.

Martin Hurn, managing director of Futurebuild Events, commented:

“If you speak to any industry professional, they’ll tell you that there are serious issues facing our long-term survival, not just from a business perspective, but also from an environmental one. We’ve been trapped in a cycle of inadequate responses for too long and that simply must change, and it must change now.”

“There’s no denying that this is a huge undertaking and will require positive collaboration with a common understanding and commitment. This conference is about changing mindsets across the board when it comes to business, growth and profit and putting the environment at the centre of our thinking. We know we can’t solve this alone, but by addressing these challenges through the ecobuild conference, we can shine a light on the most pressing issues and demonstrate ways that people can go about making changes or improvements across their sphere of influence. This isn’t about fear, it’s about empowering people to take action.”

Day by day conference – an overview
The ecobuild conference opens with a focus on the fast-approaching deadline of 2030 and how the UN Sustainable Development Goals and UK government commitments are going to be met. Led by Aldersgate Group chair and former MP Joan Walley, the panel includes UCL’s Professor Simon Lewis, Bioregional’s Julia Hawkins, Mott MacDonald’s Davide Stronati and Lord Jack McConnell, chair of the

All-Party Parliamentary Group on the UN SDGs. It will ask how individuals and groups are coming together to deliver these vital commitments.

Central to the three-day programme is the challenge of how to achieve a healthy environment. The Government’s draft Environment Bill requires all of us to take an interest in this issue, not just those deemed “environmentalists”. With this in mind, on day two (06 March), Eloise Scotford, Professor of Environmental Law at University College London, will chair a session asking how environmental protections can and should be strengthened and enhanced in post-Brexit Britain.

The recent IPCC report on the need to limit temperature rises to 1.5°c will provide a framework for climate change discussions on day three (07 March). Futurebuild is delighted to welcome the report’s co-ordinating lead author Myles Allen to the panel tackling the Climate Change Challenge. This session will include a keynote from Claire Perry MP, Minister of State at the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Myles Allen said:

“While there are huge opportunities for reducing emissions from UK buildings, making our built environment consistent with net zero carbon dioxide emissions will be hard: this may be one area where continued use of some fossil fuels combined with carbon dioxide capture and disposal and using hydrogen for energy delivery may be the only viable option, so we need to start thinking now about how that can be delivered on the necessary scale.”

How we reduce our carbon usage across the built environment is another key issue the conference programme will highlight. This will be tackled across a number of sessions from the Retrofit Challenge for Housing (05 March) chaired by Arup’s Chris Jofeh to the Urban Challenge (06 March) led by Rachel Cooper OBE, Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy at the University of Lancaster.

At a societal level, Paul Chatterton, Professor of Urban Futures at the University of Leeds, is one of a number of speakers who will explore the Housing Challenge (06 March). This will look at how to deliver more equitable societies which are proven to work better for everyone involved.

All sessions will be available on demand at Colab following Futurebuild. Peter Ridgway, Brand Development Director at ACO, said:

“We’re delighted to sponsor the ecobuild conference. To be able to unite so many forward-thinkers under one roof to collaborate on a plan for the future is an incredible achievement. We want to make sure that the content from the conference lives on and continues to inspire people to take action. By making the sessions available through our online CPD platform, Colab, we can ensure this reaches the widest audience of professionals dedicated to changing our world for the better.”

To find out more about the ecobuild conference and to register for your free place click here.