New year, but same net-zero carbon targets

Net-zero carbon targets must be at the heart of business decision making in 2023 and going forward
Sharon McClements

AS 2023 begins, Rics in Northern Ireland is starting it off as we mean to go on, with a continued push for positive change in the built and natural environment in a bid to address issues relating to climate change.

For years Rics has been advocating for the built environment and the role it plays in maintaining Northern Ireland's rich history and heritage. This year we will continue to acknowledge and support the importance of the built environment as a key economic driver and the role it plays in promoting a sustainable regional economy.

The built environment can play a crucial role in helping to foster a sense of pride, identity and emotional attachment to places while also supporting the long-term economic prosperity and resilience of local and regional communities. By investing in our infrastructure, we invest in our communities and build a sustainable future.

We all know that climate change is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges that we are facing, with increased carbon emissions leading to severe impact on our environment and societies. This is why net-zero carbon targets must be at the heart of decision making in 2023 and going forward.

Launched just under a year ago, Rics delivered International Building Operation Standard (IBOS), a new framework which invites a new approach to measure and manage how buildings perform for people through data.

The Covid-19 pandemic changed how we interact with commercial property significantly, the IBOS is set to support organisations in attracting people back to the workplace, by delivering confidence for end users that the building they're in is supporting their wellness, and benchmarking success against driving down the commercial sector's carbon footprint.

The IBOS is supported by both the commercial and public sector and is the first of its kind globally to deliver a consistent approach to help organisations assess and improve their building's performance in such a broad way. It will provide data on buildings with people at the centre of future decision making and help embed ESG into real estate strategy.

In 2023 we want to see an executive that will use public spending to decarbonise our society and embed net-zero targets at the centre of decision making. We want an executive that will acknowledge the value of the built environment in promoting a sustainable regional economy.

We want, and need, a future that is healthy and sustainable, and to do so we need to embed procurement approaches as industry standard and to attract people to live, work and invest in Northern Ireland.

As my time as chair of the Rics regional board in Northern Ireland draws to a close later this year, I will use my time in my role to help the profession mitigate climate related risk and move towards a net-zero future, as we work to deliver a sustainable future for all in the built environment.

:: Sharon McClements is chair of the Northern Ireland regional board of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), which promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure