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UN puts focus on construction industry’s huge environmental impact

In February, the United Nations launched a new effort to "green" the construction industry. Noting that in some cou...


In February, the United Nations launched a new effort to “green” the construction industry. Noting that in some countries buildings are responsible for up to 40 per cent of total energy use, Monique Barbut of the UN Environment Program inaugurated Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative.
“The construction and use of buildings generate substantial social and economic benefits to society but may also have serious negative impacts on the environment,” Barbut noted. Construction giants Lafarge, Skanska and Arcelor are among founding members of the initiative.
The goal of the UN initiative is to ensure buildings are routinely designed, constructed and maintained from an environmentally sustainable point of view over their entire lifespan. It will also work to have sustainable requirements included in building standards and legislation.
The construction industry seriously affects many of the world’s most pressing environmental issues like climate change, waste generation and depletion of natural resources, say the UN. Whether it’s influencing multi-lateral environmental agreements, encouraging “green architecture” in high profile buidlings or tackling topics like the illegal plundering of sand, the challenges for the industry are immense.