Clean and Healthy Construction

Insights from the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen: Master Class and Market Dialogue for Clean and Healthy Construction.

Why clean construction?

Kevin Austin, Executive Director at C40 opened the event by presenting the hard facts on why clean construction needs to be on everyone’s agenda: “Roughly 60% of buildings that will exist in 2050 are yet to be built. This means constructing a city the size of Copenhagen (1.5 million people) per week until 2050”, he stated. Some of the most effective ways to lower the embodied carbon of buildings and the emissions on construction sites have been explored in the recent C40 report: Buildings and Infrastructure Consumption Emissions In Focus. 

What have we learned so far?

Cities have purchasing power, which can be used strategically to drive targets for Clean Construction. More cites are realizing the potential in green public procurement (GPP), but not fully utilizing this potential due to budget restrictions, questions around market readiness and lack of supporting policies and standards. The following key insights emerged from the master class:

  • Oslo has launched a new procurement policy and strategy to help get all construction work to zero-emission by 2030. The city has initiated the first zero-emission construction site, a pilot right outside the Oslo Climate Agency. Heidi Sørensen, Director of Oslo Climate Agency, explained that the early engagement with the industry and innovative procurement initiatives are key to success and that the project proved “not to be too difficult” once the city found the industry’s perception of risk and addressed it.
  • The city of Copenhagen, Host of the C40 Mayors Summit, has also laid out plans to further reduce carbon emissions. Jørgen Abildgaard, Executive Climate Program Director City of Copenhagen, explained how the City of Copenhagen’s ambition is to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025, where construction has one of the highest potentials for carbon savings. Moreover, Copenhagen is joining forces with Oslo and Stockholm on procuring for low-emission construction to uncover the benefits of scaling demand and sending a clear signal to the market. The three Nordic cities have initiated a joint statement, and have also collaborated on a cross-national tender for non-road mobile machinery.
  • The global competition for innovative carbon-free and resilient urban projects “Reinventing Cities”, where projects do not go to the highest bidder, but instead to the highest quality projects. 14 cities joined the competition and committed to this evaluation process, which is “opening the pathway for other projects, emphasising the need for more larger scale experiments and pilots”,  explained Helene Chartier, Head of Zero Carbon Development at C40.
  • More use of timber in construction as a key solution to reduce carbon in construction. For example, timber is lighter, which means fewer deliveries at construction sites and by utilising prefabrication the buildings go to market quicker.

Are visions, learnings and targets for Clean Construction translating into market opportunities?

The discussions at the master class were opened by the Deputy Mayor of Copenhagen, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, who emphasized the importance of collaboration with the private sector on driving development in the sector. The following insights emerged:

  • Throughout the last three years, the city of Oslo has been in regular dialogue with the market in order to shape their procurement strategy and criteria. As a result, Espen Nicolaysen, Head of the sustainability for the procurement department in the City of Oslo, announced that Oslo city council has 9 October 2019 agreed to change the award criteria, applying 30% weighing in environmental criteria, 50% of which is zero-emission non-road mobile machines (NRMM).
  • Amsterdam is taking a more strategic and collaborative approach to procurement in their strategy and have extended projects to 8 years in order to build long term relationships. This allows buyers to set minimum criteria for contractors on carbon reductions and then increase targets throughout the contract length. Amsterdam is joining forces with Copenhagen, Oslo, and 4 other cities through the programmes Big Buyers Initiative and Clean Construction to drive zero-emission construction sites through joint GPP and the next step is for the city of Amsterdam is to agree who will pay initial investments to initiate pilots.
  • The solutions exist and are being developed. The barriers seem to continue to lie in the scaling of solutions. Issues like infrastructure, energy supply, cost of ownership were mentioned and continue to pose challenges, and the views were very divided when it came to the role of regulation, and whether this really should pose a barrier for scaling. But one conclusion is clear to everyone – a joint approach is necessary.
  • When it comes to construction and supply and demand, it is not a simple buyers and supplier relationship – multiple parties are involved and need to be aligned in order to deliver emission reduction targets on the construction sites as well as the building.

Relevant reports mentioned during the two events:

 
Location
Denmark
Related Goal
Goal 2: Create green, resilient cities
Articles you may be interested in
In our community
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Raw materials expert insights
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Raw materials expert insights
In Detail
Challenge-led system mapping: A knowledge management approach

The challenge-led system mapping approach responds to the need to improve the practitioner’s capacity to move towards system change by providing mechanisms by which...

Challenge-led system mapping: A knowledge management approach
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC is restructuring to deliver systems transformation for climate...

EIT Climate-KIC is restructuring to provide “systems transformation as...

EIT Climate-KIC is restructuring to deliver systems transformation for climate change
In Detail
A Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Cities: Our Position Narrative for In...

Innovation-as-usual, which is typically siloed and focused on ‘supplying’ the market with technology-led solutions, is not going to deliver a just, inclusive world within 1.5-degree of warming from pre-industrial levels. Innovation...

A Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Cities: Our Position Narrative for Integral District Renewal
In our community
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Food expert insights
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Food expert insights
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC and partners reassess our values in the ‘new normal’

EIT Climate-KIC, together with Edgeryders, ETH Zurich and IOTA,...

EIT Climate-KIC and partners reassess our values in the ‘new normal’
In our community
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Climate expert insights
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Climate expert insights
Opinion
Who’s doing what: A news round-up of selected COVID-19 responses and recovery plans
Felicity Spors Head of International Affairs, EIT Climate-KIC
Who’s doing what: A news round-up of selected COVID-19 responses and recovery plans
In The News
Co-Action carbon capture project opens new field plots

Yesterday, EIT Climate-KIC community member ‘Co-Action,’ a carbon capture...

Co-Action carbon capture project opens new field plots
In Detail
Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for global sustainable finance: An int...

The UN Environment convened Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) recently published a working paper, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, on the implications of the COVID-19...

Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for global sustainable finance: An internal framework for response strategies
In Detail
A cartoonathon: Using humour to drive insights

Last week, in an event supported by EIT Climate-KIC, over 150 participants from more than 60 countries took part in a virtual ‘cartoonathon’ to...

A cartoonathon: Using humour to drive insights
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC launches Call for Proposals to support post-COVID-19 green rec...

EIT Climate-KIC’s ‘Extraordinary Post COVID-19 Regeneration Call 2020’ will...

EIT Climate-KIC launches Call for Proposals to support post-COVID-19 green recovery
Opinion
COVID-19 responses and recovery plans—the good news and the bad news
Felicity Spors Head of International Affairs, EIT Climate-KIC
COVID-19 responses and recovery plans—the good news and the bad news
Innovation Spotlight
How to engage citizens in a just transformation process

With climate change, we are facing one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime – one that...

How to engage citizens in a just transformation process
In The News
The European Union has the tools to boost a sustainable recovery from the COVI...

In a statement released today, the Technical Expert Group...

The European Union has the tools to boost a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, say TEG experts
In our community
Interview with Thomas O’Neill, Influence Map
Interview with Thomas O’Neill, Influence Map
In our community
The EU’s Coronavirus Response Initiative: An interview with Felicity Spors...
The EU’s Coronavirus Response Initiative: An interview with Felicity Spors, Head of International Affairs Strategy at EIT Climate-KIC
Opinion
Will COVID-19 derail climate finance?
Dominic Hofstetter Director, Capital & Investments, EIT-Climate-KIC
Will COVID-19 derail climate finance?
Opinion
Transformative policies for the climate challenge
Rachael McGuinness Policy Innovation, EIT Climate-KIC
Transformative policies for the climate challenge
In Detail
Exploring frontiers in sustainability: Bringing futures literacy to financia...

As part of EIT Climate-KIC’s Long-termism Deep Demonstration, Riyong Kim, Director of Decision Metrics and Finance at EIT Climate-KIC, has co-authored a new report,...

Exploring frontiers in sustainability: Bringing futures literacy to financial services in Ireland and France
Opinion
Long democracies
Dark Matter
Long democracies
Opinion
Long financing in a volatile world
Dark Matter
Long financing in a volatile world
Opinion
Long welfare
Dark Matter
Long welfare
Opinion
Abstracted to entangled organisation
Dark Matter
Abstracted to entangled organisation
Opinion
Persistent things
Dark Matter
Persistent things
Opinion
Persistent selves
Dark Matter
Persistent selves
Opinion
Futures in long-termism
Dark Matter
Futures in long-termism
In our community
Strengthening community ties and supporting each other through the COVID-19 ...
Strengthening community ties and supporting each other through the COVID-19 crisis
Opinion
The Corona canvas: How to deal with the crisis as a founder
Marc Mogalle & Anje Kluth Business Buddies & EIT Climate-KIC
The Corona canvas: How to deal with the crisis as a founder
In The News
Lilium completes funding round worth over €224 million

EIT Climate-KIC supported Lilium, a Munich-based aviation company developing...

Lilium completes funding round worth over €224 million