Futurebuild 2020 responds to climate emergency with inspiring speaker line-up for arena programme

A game-changing arena programme has been announced for Futurebuild 2020 focused on transforming the industry to achieve a resilient and truly sustainable environment.

The three-day programme’s central theme is how we now respond to the climate and ecological emergency facing the world with discussions and debate led by politicians, academics and industry shapers, the programme is a catalyst for the change that is needed across the built environment.

High-profile speakers include Rory Stewart, London mayoral candidate; Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst; Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE FREng FRS, deputy chair of the Committee on Climate Change, Clive Lewis, MP and Sir James Wates.

The programme opens on 3 March with a focus on ‘Putting the planet first’. Chaired by Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE FREng FRS, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, the session will explore how the industry can tackle the ecological crisis and the importance of a UK wide, cross-departmental and cross-sector approach for shared governance for the environment.

Central to the three-day programme is how design and construction needs a circular rethink. With this in mind, ‘The future is regenerative’ session chaired by Peter Murray, chair of New London Architecture taking place on day one will take a closer look into this and address how we can make our cities fit for purpose, our buildings net zero and champion green retrofit.

Looking more broadly, the arena programme will not only highlight the built environment’s need to create an environmentally responsible industry but a socially responsible one too. ‘The future is ethical and inclusive’ session will look at how we tackle modern slavery and gender imbalance in construction and how we support more ethical practice and encourage young people to join the industry. The session will be chaired by Sir James Wates, CBE, Chairman of the Wates Group.

On the second day (4 March), Cristiana Ciaraldi Jolivet of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development will chair a session on carbon neutral cities of the future’ session. From improving mobility to urban greening, and combatting air pollution, the panel will explore the pathway to healthier, more equitable and resilient cities. Within the session, Rory Stewart, London mayoral candidate will host a session on achieving carbon neutral cities to ensure that what we decide to do today has benefits for future generations.

Policy and behavioural change are critical to decarbonising the built environment and this will form a key part of discussion across the Arena. ‘How to mandate change: legislation, regulations and guidance’ on day two will explore current policy context and changes required to achieve net zero.

The UKGBC-led discussion will explore a range of perspectives from industry leaders including Jorge Mendonça, executive director, Grosvenor and Julie Godefroy, sustainability consultant and technical manager, CIBSE.

On the third day (5 March), ‘Living and working green: what behavioural changes are required to bring about a net-zero world?’ chaired by Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst will explore how designers, builders, suppliers and visitors attending Futurebuild can drive this behaviour change in policy and economics.

The second session ‘Let’s hear it from young people’ offers a platform for young people to put forward their proposals for living in a zero-carbon world. This session will hear from representatives of the UK School Climate Network and the NUS Responsible Futures Group to discuss our climate and ecological emergency action plans.

Martin Hurn, event director of Futurebuild said: “The responsibility for tackling the climate emergency lies in all of our hands and we must collaborate in order to find solutions to secure our future. The Arena programme at Futurebuild 2020 has been carefully curated to facilitate thought-provoking discussion across the industry that inspires tangible solutions as we embrace the biggest single challenge we’ve ever faced as an industry – the climate and ecological emergency.

“The focus is on fostering this positive collaboration, common understanding and commitment to drive change and we want people to leave Futurebuild 2020 ready to make these changes or improvements across their sphere of influence.”

For more information about Futurebuild 2020, and to register for your complimentary ticket, visit:

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