Futurebuild 2020 came to a close yesterday (5th March) with a powerful call for industry to work together in order to tackle the climate emergency. With a central focus across the three days of the event on Responding to the Emergency, the final sessions in the Arena on day three challenged the built environment to take decisive action to make the transition to a zero carbon world.
In the morning, the Arena stage was handed over to young people who are at the forefront of the demand for urgent action. During ‘Let’s hear it from young people’ there were repeated calls for an overhaul of the way climate change is taught across the education system, with Jamie Agombar who is Head of Sustainability at the National Union of Students (NUS) saying “we should be using our universities to prepare young people for the world and we need young people to help make our world more sustainable.”
Among those taking to the stage was Cloud Harney-Romero, from Lincolnshire Climate Conscious Students, who commented: “Futurebuild has given young people the opportunity to spread our message far and wide. We’ve learnt so much through attending the event too.” Fellow student Theo Griffiths added: “Futurebuild supports and encourages innovations to be developed that pave the way for a more sustainable future.”
Collective and urgent action
The final Arena session of the event brought together key representatives from built and natural environment institutions and associations including the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Society for the Environment (SocEnv) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) among others.
Chaired by BBC Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin, the panel set out their contributions to achieving net zero carbon over the next five years. Eddie Weir, CIAT President, stated that: “To achieve net zero carbon by 2030, a provision of regulations and standards are required as a matter of urgency. These standards are not just for the environmentally conscious but we are advocating them to all our clients now.”
Innovation across the event
Industry endorsement in Futurebuild continued to gain momentum over the three days, with exhibitors and partners hailing the event a huge success at its close. The introduction of the Innovation Trail for 2020 proved incredibly popular, taking visitors on a journey across the event to experience revolutionary products, solutions and materials.
Among the 20 Innovation Partners was Kingspan. Its Global Head of Sustainability Bianca Wong said: “We’ve been showcasing our Planet Passionate sustainability programme at the starting block of the Innovation Trail here at Futurebuild and it’s been an exciting couple of days. Engaging with visitors and learning from industry influencers on how we can enhance our products and services has been truly inspiring. It’s been a great opportunity to elevate our own innovations, while collaborating with like-minded individuals who want to enable a net zero carbon and circular built environment.”
Another of the Innovation Partners was Steico, its Technical Manager Martin Twamley commented: “Futurebuild is a good place where we can get in front of the customer. It’s where architects, specifiers, detailers and home builders, really everybody who is involved in the whole market can come and talk to us directly, meet us face to face and realise that we’re all about doing what’s right for the construction industry and trying to provide solutions which benefit the homeowner at the end of the day.”
The acclaimed RIBA Bookshop was once again a popular feature for visitors. Ika Kazek, Buyer and Trade Sales Co-ordinator at RIBA said: “We’ve been extremely busy over the last three days and the position of our stand has acted as a great social space and meeting point for visitors to Futurebuild 2020. From a publisher’s perspective it’s fantastic to meet the people buying your books. All the visitors have really loved the simplicity of the stand this year. With climate change high on everyone’s agenda, we’ve really scaled down our stand to create minimal waste and we’ve ensured all of our fixtures are reusable.”
Martin Hurn, Futurebuild Event Director, commented: “We would like to thank all of our brilliant exhibitors, partners, speakers and visitors for making this year’s event the best yet. The message is clear, the time for talking is over. We hope everyone involved in the event has been inspired to take the action that’s so desperately needed to deliver a more sustainable future.”
Head to the Futurebuild website for highlights and news from across the event.