Climate campaigner urges decarbonisation to be top priority for built environment

Sarah Edmonds

SARA Edmonds, a key advocate for climate action in the built environment, has called on the next generation of industry leaders to work to ensure that decarbonization and greater sustainability are the top priority for the sector.

The call comes as Built Environment – ​​​​Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) launches a recruitment campaign for up to 15 future leaders to represent, articulate and contribute the views of their peers in the industry as part of its BE Change Makers initiative communicate. Application deadline is October 7th.

Launched at an event with Scotland’s Business Secretary Ivan McKee MSP last October, the first cohort of 12 change makers laid the groundwork for the programme. A diverse group of representatives from across the construction industry and the built environment set out how they aim to bring positive change to the sector.

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Four priority areas have been identified: skills and career development; equality, diversity and inclusion; Sustainability; and digitization. Among other activities, the group developed its themes into a manifesto, presented its views to the Construction Leadership Forum steering groups, created a training program and is currently conducting research into positive diversity initiatives in Sweden.

Sara Edmonds said: “Decarbonising the built environment must be the top priority of this generation of leaders in the industry and those who will follow in the years to come. This summer we have seen the impact climate change is having on society as a whole and our industry within it, with rising temperatures, drought and torrential rain all presenting their own challenges.

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“The cost of living crisis will only compound the challenge of bringing our existing building stock up to standard and ensuring homes and businesses are as energy efficient as possible. We must do what we can to help young people make their voices heard by advancing action on climate change and embedding sustainability into the fabric of the built environment, which is high on our agenda.

“The BE Change Makers program is a great forum for people to come together, discuss how they want to shape the future of the industry and then pitch that to today’s leaders. I would like to encourage every young person who wants to make a difference to get involved and play their part in building a positive and more sustainable future.”

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dr Mila Duncheva, Business Development Manager at Stora Enso Building Solutions and Chair of the first BE Change Makers, added: “Being the Chair of the BE Change Makers has helped me grow exponentially as a leader in the built environment. My current role in business development is about driving change towards more sustainable construction and my worldview of the built environment has expanded. I had only experienced a small part of it before, but now I feel like there is someone like me in all the other 11 BE Change Makers companies.”

To learn more about becoming a BE Change Maker, visit the BE-ST website:

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