Sweden’s pioneer on low carbon infrastructure: the Sweden Green Building Council

The Sweden Green Building Council (SGBC) has been a pioneer in focusing on low carbon infrastructure,” says CEO, Cecilia Ehrenborg Williams.

Speaking at the CCC Summit in Gothenburg, 19 June, she said: “We have a sense of urgency when it comes to really trying to fix it by being carbon neutral by 2050 and the clock is ticking. And the embodied carbon is a huge part of that. And unfortunately it is actually increasing in the world.

“You need some pioneers that are driving that issue and taking the incremental steps. What we do need is a disruptive change around it,” says Celia Ehrenbor Williams, Green Building Council

The SGBC has hosted the CCC Summit for three years and says it is very important because the SGBC has several members within the infrastructure and the building industry who are very interested in those issues.
We see a lot of potential for collaboration between those two industries. There is a lot to do here, and a lot to gain.

The Council has had an important role the development and progress of the Swedish Government’s 2045 Carbon Neutral Program.

“My ambition has been that the Sweden Green Business Council has been the facilitator, providing a tool box for our members to make it easier for them to reach the national goals on carbon neutrality. Also organising seminars and education packages around it. So we like to help the members to drive this issue as fast as possible forward.

A key part of the Programe are industry-specific strategies for carbon neutral infrastructure, she explains.

“I guess we need some order and plan to it, some kind of railing to hold on to, and also common strategies so that the industries can benchmark and provide common data and come up with baselines and measurements. All that is so essential for moving forward. And I think that well thought-out strategies help solve those challenges as well.

Role of innovation

“There is of course an innovation perspective to this that has to be worked on. We also have to dare to put it out on the market and try it. And the ones that have the muscles must use them to make the incremental change until that we have a tipping point which makes everyone follow.
And around that we need educational initiatives, political will, great leadership and engagement in society from each and every one.
These are the ingredients that are needed for such a change.

See CCC Summit press release

See CCC Summit Roundup page here

 

Full interview with Cecilia Ehrenborg Williams, CEO, Sweden Green Building Council

 

What has been the motivation of the Sweden Green Building Council to host the CCC Summit?

We have already done it for three years, and this is the fourth event. It is very important for us because we have several members within the infrastructure and the building industry who are very interested in those issues.

We see a lot of potential for collaboration between those two industries. There is a lot to do here, and a lot to gain.

 

The Sweden Green Building Council has been a pioneer in focusing on low carbon infrastructure Why do you think this is so important?

We have a sense of urgency when it comes to really trying to fix it by being carbon neutral by 2050 and the clock is ticking. And the embodied carbon is a huge part of that. And unfortunately it is actually increasing in the world.

You need some pioneers that are driving that issue and taking the incremental steps.

What we do need is a disruptive change around it.

 

What impact is this having on Green Building Councils in other territories?

We have a network through the World Green Building Council. We do meet, all of us, once a year. We have webinars and we exchange experiences and lessons learned with one another.

And we can also inspire each other to learn from each other’s markets when it comes to all the obstacles to getting the market moving on this issue.

 

What has been your role in Sweden’s 2045 Carbon Neutral Program?

I hope, my ambition has been that the Sweden Green Business Council has been the facilitator, providing a tool box for our members to make it easier for them to reach the goals on carbon neutrality. Also seminars and education packages around it.

So we like to help the members to drive this issue as fast as possible forward.

 

Why is it so important to implement industry-specific strategies for carbon neutral infrastructure?

I guess we need some order and plan to it, some kind of railing to hold on to, and also common strategies so that the industries can benchmark and provide common data and come up with baselines and measurements. All that is so essential for moving forward.

And I think that well thought-out strategies help solve those challenges as well.

 

Billions will be spent by 2050 on infrastructure of the world’s expanding cities. What are the risks if carbon use is not controlled?

I often think about lots of novels with such topics about the future. No one knows but we have a lot of scary scenarios in front of us. It might be that we have a very divided world. Most people not having the means of protecting themselves and actually to survive the change in life on earth. And there might be a small proportion of people who have the means to create the resilience needed for surviving.

 

What more can be done to promote low carbon construction and carbon neutral infrastructure?

There is of course an innovation perspective to this that has to be worked on. We also have to dare to put it out on the market and try it. And the ones that have the muscles must use them to make the incremental change until that we have a tipping point which makes everyone follow.

And around that we need educational initiatives, political will, great leadership and engagement in society from each and every one.

These are the ingredients that are needed for such a change.

July 27, 2018
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