Research and technology development are key to achieving a sustainable construction sector. At the Construction Climate Challenge roundtable in Stockholm, some of the most influential voices in the field of construction sustainability gathered to discuss existing knowledge gaps and the best ways to address them.
How can academic research help improve business, government regulation and the innovation process in order to achieve a sustainable construction sector?
Since its establishment, a key goal of the Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) has been to shape the future agenda. With that aim, a CCC roundtable was held on Wednesday November 25th, in conjunction with the Volvo Group Sustainability Forum, to discuss how to make sustainability research more impactful and to give direction to CCC’s own research programme.
“We are doing this as part of an effort to revise our research topics from the work that has been done in 2015. Leading up to the next research call for papers in early 2016, we need to ask ourselves what research is missing. We held this roundtable as part of an effort to revise our research topics,” said Peter Wallin, Research Manager at the CCC, in his opening address.
As a variety of stakeholders from business, governmental and non-governmental organisations and academia came together; one of the key questions was the lack of consensus about what sustainability is. For many in the field, the lack of a common definition and a common language are seen as obstacles to a real systemic change.
“I usually compare it to a game of chess. There are almost an infinite number of moves, but first we must define the rules in order to play. When that is done, we can find ways to reach checkmate and end the game,” said Göran Boman, Professor in Strategic Sustainable Development at Blekinge Institute of Technology.
Other major topics included how to secure economic profitability and long-term environmental sustainability, how to share innovation and how to increase sustainable behaviour throughout entire supply chains.
“In order to reach applicable solutions we must begin to understand the challenges and how to address them. Research is how we help the industry make a difference,” concluded Deborah Pullen, Group Research Director at the Building Research Establishment (BRE).