CEO update: Everything, everywhere all at once

26 May 2023

Earlier this year, UN secretary general António Guterres issued a stark call to “massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.”

With this firmly in mind, we’ve delivered a flurry of pollution slashing events, guides and announcements out in the last month.

These included a jam-packed Green Property Summit, the release of our industry-leading embodied carbon methodology and calculator, the launch of our electrification guide to boot fossil fuels out of buildings, climate scenarios for the construction and property sector alongside the Taskforce for Climate Related Financial Disclosures, the ever popular Future Thinker of the Year award which this year very deservedly went to Maria Walker, a brand new certification for net zero buildings (keep an eye out for more details on this next week), and supporting the World Green Building Council as they went live with the Circularity Accelerator Playbook.

Enough? Not quite. We also responded to the government’s budget, pointing out that Warmer Kiwi Homes is still worryingly lacking in ambition, and far behind overseas programmes. And we were stoked to see Environment Canterbury achieve a New Zealand first by scooping up three green certifications for their office.

There was big news too this month on embodied carbon. The headline grabbing announcement on the $300million public-private investment to cut pollution from the Glenbrook steel plant is just the kind of ambition needed, and pretty much exactly what the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund should be doing. Lower carbon concrete received a boost too, as the New Zealand Green Investment Fund backed Kaysand’s clean technology with a canny $3.5million investment.

Nine percent of NZ’s emissions relate to embodied carbon. There's been huge demand for training on how to calculate embodied carbon and what data to collect. The embodied carbon master class is coming to Wellington 7 June. You can also join the wait list for courses in Christchurch & Auckland.

Months like the one just passed, marked by a multitude of significant green building developments, show the undeniable momentum pushing our movement and our sector forward.

However, there's still a way to go, particularly when it comes to our planning and regulatory systems. For example, we need to further incentivise low-carbon homes and buildings and we're urging the government to use the building levy to do this. The money gained from the levy could be used to speed up the Building for Climate Change programme and help the sector prepare for these changes with outreach and education.

We'll be releasing our response to the Climate Change Commission's second carbon budget next week - it should be bolder and more specific, helping to promote greater ambition and urgency. We'd encourage you to make your own submission urging them to push further, faster. 

There are now less than 80 months left until 2030. That’s less than 80 months for New Zealand, and for the built environment, to cut our carbon pollution by 50%.

To hit that target, we’re going to have to work together to drive systemic change, and make every month, every week, every project, and every day count. mor