Clock is ticking on the health of our planet

Police attempt to remove a protester from the road at Oxford Circus in London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest
Susan Mason

THE global issue of climate change is never far from our screens at present, with protests world-wide and efforts being taken by governments to commit to legislation to mediate the growing problems. At every turn, we are presented with information and advice on how to reduce our own carbon footprint and contribution to the current crisis.

At RICS, we are keenly aware of our industry’s impact on the built environment and our potential to effect positive change. For some time now we have been putting efforts into developing a campaign to reflect our views on the issue, and to move towards increased sustainability in our profession.

Last week, we launched our Value the Planet campaign, promoting the preservation of the planet through the adoption of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The campaign pushes for increased action within the profession, highlighting the essential need to Value the Planet and will provide support and resources from RICS and the industry to help tackle both climate action and adopt the UN SDGs.

With the clock ticking on the health of our planet, RICS is committed to using its position to achieve the SDGs within the built environment.

The Implementing the UN SDGs paper we published looks at climate action, highlighting three key aims for the profession; thinking across the life cycle, collaboration, and being accountable.

The paper lists action that can be taken by the built environment profession, gives information on professional standards, provides tips, resources, research, thought leadership and examples of collaboration to support RICS professionals and firms in achieving the 2030 target of adoption of the SDGs.

The campaign also highlights the public interest responsibility of RICS, whose professionals work within every stage of the property life cycle, and demonstrate the benefits that the surveying profession provides in offering solutions to society's most challenging issues.

Our organisation has also published the RICS Responsible Business report, which provides recommendations for businesses on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the built environment.

Responsible businesses embrace corporate responsibility, which as built environment professionals we define as action taken that positively impact on the environment, communities, the workplace and suppliers. In everything we do, we need to apply our knowledge and expertise to drive a progressive agenda for the benefit of business, society and the planet.

It is our hope that, by taking on board the recommendations, the Value the Planet campaign will help our professionals be accountable for the sake of future generations. We are committed to supporting our professionals and firms in this area.

This long-term campaign is an opportunity for the profession to show its green credentials and to lead on innovation, action and investment in a low-carbon economy, to safeguard the planet and promoting sustained economic growth and human security.

We will continue to champion and support both the low carbon transition and resilience capacity building agenda, through the introduction of new global standards and professional expert guidance across both the built and natural environment.

:: Susan Mason is head of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Northern Ireland

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