Podcast: Cundall discusses its global net-zero, net-positive commitments

EXCLUSIVE: The firm aims to become 15% net-positive by 2025, aligned with the UN's Sustainability Development Targets

Cundall discusses its global net-zero, net-positive commitments
Cundall discusses its global net-zero, net-positive commitments

The head of sustainability at international consultancy firm Cundall, Hala Yousef has revealed details of the firm’s net-zero and net-positive commitments.

During the latest episode of the Construction Week Viewpoint podcast, Yousef discusses the firm’s commitments with a focus on demystifying the misconception that sustainability is complex.

Listen to the entire conversation here.

Cundall recently pledged to make its global business net-zero by mid-2020, in line with the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Targets.

Speaking about the firm’s approach towards the sustainable commitments, Yousef said: “We took the pledge with [entrepreneurial charity] Bioregional to become a one-planet living company in 2012. We made the pledge with a longer-term view; when the net-zero commitment came about, it only made sense to sign up and accelerate our targets. We are already carrying out all the five steps of the net-zero commitment – to commit, to disclose, to act, to verify and to advocate it.”

Cundall has collaborated with several industry bodies as part of the approach, including the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MOID), Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the UK Green Building Council, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI).

“Through our roadmap, a lot of industry bodies approached us, following which we formed partnerships with ministries and not-for-profit organizations to showcase what we do and advocate the same. This way, we have the industry verify and critique what we do,” Yousef explains.

With many other firms pledging their commitment to becoming net-zero, Cundall is doing things differently by ‘going beyond the pledge expectations with its aim to not only become net-zero by mid-2020 but also net-positive by 2025 by 15%,’ she adds.

Commenting on the way forward for Middle East construction in terms of sustainability, Yousef says: “The market is starting to ‘mature’ in terms of construction. We have had decades of increase with exponential amounts of construction. We are now hitting a stage where we do have construction but it is not as big of a boom.”

The solution to this would be to place emphasis on existing building stock with a strengthened focus on the role of retrofitting, she suggests.

“We need to be able to maintain the buildings we have currently because they will have the biggest impact in the long term for the carbon life cycle. Statistics indicate that by 2050 our building stock as per square metre is expected to double. While we still have a lot of building stock that we will build by the period. However, a large part of what we will have by 2030 is already here,” Yousef concludes.

Construction Week Viewpoint is a weekly podcast series produced by the Construction Week editorial team and published on SoundCloud and iTunes at noon (GST) every Monday.

Business leaders are regular podcast special guests. The weekly bulletin has welcomed the likes of Gurminder Sagoo, client director of WSP; David Cook, the founder and chief executive officer of Contractors Direct; Michiel Raaphorst, the founder and owner of V8 Architects, who is responsible for the design of the Netherlands' Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai site; Ludwig Bouldoukian, Hyatt's regional vice president of development for the Middle East and Africa; and Geetha Nayak and Pratap Mendonca, managing partner and co-founder of Design Infinity. 

To volunteer yourself or a colleague as a guest speaker on Construction Week Viewpoint, please contact Ashley Williams.

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