UK News Women in Construction for Sustainability

The construction industry needs to respond to the climate challenges that are already happening now

Anna Malhari Constructive Voices
Written by Jackie De Burca

Today’s Women for Sustainability guest is Anna Malhari of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation.

Anna Malhari believes that in light of the IPCC report, that the construction and real estate industries need to really start paying attention.

Not just when it comes to developing buildings with a lower carbon footprint, but also ensuring these are as resilient as possible to be able to protect their occupants in case of climate change events such as the recent hurricanes in the US. It is not just about what will happen down the line, but how are we responding to the challenges that are already happening.

Let’s take a look at some current news stories around this topic.

The British Architectural Journal stated that “To drive down carbon emissions on every project, we need to change the Building Regs”

6 SEPTEMBER 2021 BY WILL ARNOLD

Part Z, a proposed amendment to the Building Regs drafted by industry sustainability experts, already has impressive support – but you and your practice can help us build on that, writes Will Arnold.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report opens with the stark message: ‘It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.’ It is the latest in a series of scientific statements of concern, adding to the warnings of others that predict global food shortages, the potential collapse of the Gulf Stream, and the loss of British seaside towns by 2050.

Meanwhile, in the past few months, we’ve experienced storms so bad in London that hospitals had to turn people away at the door, Europe recorded its hottest temperature ever at nearly 50°C, and Italy, Greece and Turkey lost half a million acres of forest to fires.

The science is clear – the climate is changing; it’s our fault, and it’s going to get much worse unless dramatic action is taken. Read the rest of this article here.

Measurabl raises $50M to help reduce the carbon footprint of commercial buildings

San Diego startup Measurabl, which makes software that helps commercial real estate companies track the carbon footprint of properties, has raised $50 million in a Series C round of venture capital investment.

The money will accelerate Measurabl’s efforts to expand into new markets and introduce additional features to help drive decarbonization in commercial real estate.

“I think we’ve got to go from measurement and disclosure, and we need to get to action,” said Matt Ellis, founder and chief executive of Measurabl. “Today, there is a foundational change in the way society, government and capital markets expect businesses to be run. We need to actually help our customers decarbonize their real estate portfolios.”

Founded in 2013, Measurabl has clients in 80 countries that use its subscription software to collect and report “investment grade’ sustainability data on 11 billion square feet of commercial buildings.

Depending on the source, commercial real estate is responsible for roughly 40 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. But gathering and reporting this information manually can be difficult for owners and building managers.

Cement and concrete “are not carbon sinks” says Cambridge materials scientist

The recognition of concrete’s ability to absorb atmospheric carbon in the latest IPCC climate report means climate change “is worse than we thought,” according to Cambridge University materials scientist Darshil Shah.

Shah contacted Dezeen in response to last week’s story reporting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified cement infrastructure as a carbon sink.

“We are very concerned about the incorrect message [the story] gives, particularly in the run-up to the COP26 climate conference and given the urgency for climate action,” Shah said.

The IPCC report points out that around half the carbonate emissions from cement production are reabsorbed by concrete structures.

Darshil Shah

But Shah said these emissions are “only a fraction” of the total produced by the cement industry, which is estimated to produce around eight per cent of all global greenhouse gases. Read the rest of the article here.

LafargeHolcim in the US Names First Plant in the Nation to Fully Convert to Low-Carbon Portland Limestone Cement

CHICAGO, September 14, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of a global effort to adopt more sustainable products and lower the industry’s carbon footprint, LafargeHolcim in the US has announced that its plant facility in Midlothian, Texas, will be the first cement plant in the country to fully convert to Portland limestone cement (PLC). The decision is a monumental step in the industry’s efforts to provide low-carbon materials and solutions. Read the full article here.

Environmental risks and climate change considerations need to become embedded in all stages of decision processes

Our guest, Anna Malhari, also made the point that environmental risks and climate change considerations need to become embedded in all stages of decision processes, including finance and investment professionals, allowing for these considerations to become part of the day to day decisions. Otherwise, we don’t have much chance of fighting it…

A 2019 Harvard Business Review study found that sustainability and environmental, social, and governance issues are now a top priority for leading investment firms and public pension funds

Given the stakes, it’s no surprise that investors are keenly focused on the climate change crisis. A 2019 Harvard Business Review study found that sustainability and environmental, social, and governance issues are now a top priority for leading investment firms and public pension funds. As the study points out, the world’s largest asset owners have trillions invested in the global economy and multigenerational obligations that call for a long-term view of systemic risks; they can no longer afford to let the planet fail. Read the rest of this article here.

“The report is clear that the time to talk about this is over, we all need to act.” Anna concluded.

Last but not least, I am worried that the IPCC reports give a stark warning, but not enough will be done at governmental and corporate levels to really take it seriously and act. The report is clear that the time to talk about this is over, we all need to act.

About Anna Malhari

Anna Malhari serves as Chief Operating Officer of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation a $4 billion listed REIT focusing on multifamily and office assets. In her role, Ms. Malhari oversees the operations, communications and sustainability efforts of the company. Ms. Malhari started her career in real estate investments and later capital markets at NorthStar Realty Europe.

She became interested in sustainability and wider ESG efforts during her tenure at NorthStar where she was involved with LEED certifications for her Frankfurt assets. It soon became apparent to her that real estate is a major contributor to climate change, but beyond new developments, no one seems to be paying attention. Her mission is to ensure her company and the wider industry become aware of the issue and act on it – as it is the only way to create a better place for the society we live in.

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About the author

Jackie De Burca

Creative director, author, podcaster, presenter and media consultant. De Burca’s first podcast, Creative Places and Faces, is ranked in the top two percent of all podcasts worldwide, by Listen Notes. She is also director of the award-winning digital agency, CWA with a client list that includes the construction industry. Over the years, she has developed creative concepts and written scripts for a series of health and safety videos, which were key to upgrading the safety practices of many companies.

As well as producing and directing, De Burca also teaches media to private and college students. She is committed to sustainability and connected to the environment, and its potential to nurture our lives.

De Burca is the author of Salvador Dalí at Home and the creator of Travel Inspires.

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