- In advance of the COP21 International Climate talks in Paris this month, 54 building and real estate companies — including international construction giant Skanska, software company Autodesk and engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti — have signed on to the Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration, which urges policymakers to seize one of the "greatest economic opportunities of the 21st Century" in tackling climate change, Building Design & Construction magazine reported.
- The declaration is a complement to Ceres' Climate Declaration, created in 2013, which has more than 1,660 signatories, including Gap Inc., General Mills, Disney, Apple and Starbucks. The Ceres Climate Declaration encourages business to take advantage of the economic opportunities available as part of grappling with climate change.
- The Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration calls attention to the risks, but also the financial opportunities, associated with fighting climate change in the built environment, which organizers have said produces 39% of carbon emissions annually.
"Our community knows that buildings represent the lowest cost and greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions," Roger Platt, president of the U.S. Green Building Council, said. "The Climate Declaration will give visibility to buildings as a critical climate solution. We’ve proven that by acting sustainably, we can leverage innovation and efficiency to drive economic growth."
Sweden-based Skanska has been a participant in the climate change arena for years and is a signatory to multiple global initiatives. According to BD&C, Skanska’s goals include replacing fossil energy with renewable energy, and it has conducted 113 "project carbon footprints" to reduce greenhouse emissions in 2014 — a 40% rise since 2013.
This is the latest industry-wide move toward a sustainability mindset. According to findings from Dodge Data & Analytics' World Green Building Trends 2016, green building is doubling every three years.
In addition, The Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint Center for Building Performance’s sixth annual Greenprint Performance Report, found that its members — 36 real estate firms representing 5,224 buildings in 51 countries — are significantly reducing their properties' energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.