Our approach to addressing the climate emergency is failing. We need a radical transformation of the systems we operate within to achieve a net zero, climate resilient and regenerative built environment. We need to challenge our assumptions and business as usual way of working to enable a dramatic paradigm shift that reconciles humans and the rest of nature. 

What is systems change? 

Systems change refers to the process of making significant and lasting transformations to how a system operates, with the aim of addressing complex problems and achieving positive outcomes without unintended consequences. It involves shifting the fundamental structures, rules, and relationships within a system to create long-term and sustainable solutions. Instead of merely treating the symptoms or individual components, systems change focuses on understanding and addressing the root causes of a problem and involves transformational – not incremental – change. 

What is the built environment’s role? 

Progress has been made in our sector, but to put it simply, it is not enough. The scale and pace of change is inadequate. The majority of industry continues to operate in the compliance or ‘meeting regulation’ mindset. UKGBC seeks to enact change in the culture and mindsets to move away from business as usual and empower stakeholders to be take collective action in this transformation. 

What will this programme explore? 

This programme will be fluid and open to participants to bring in their unique insights and perspectives on different elements of the system, and key topics.  

Areas of conversation may cover what we see as the biggest systemic issues, for example dependencies on economic growth, inadequacy of policy and regulations, our relationship with the rest of nature, rapid decarbonisation, regenerative design or climate justice. 

Following the September kick off event, programme participants will work in sub-groups to explore the  challenges and insights on key themes and discuss possible interventions. The outcome of this work is open to the opportunities that arise across the course of the programme. 


With our unique positioning as a network of 700+ organisations from across the built environment value chain, we are leveraging our power as an industry convenor to facilitate the radical collaboration that is needed to enact widescale, transformative change. 

What do we want to achieve?


Unpack and build consensus

around the urgent action and transformational change needed.

Build personal and collective understanding and capabilities

of systems change

Develop understanding of the levers of change

and inspire and engage by facilitating conversations and learning across the value chain

Equip & inspire participants to collaborate

across the value chain and define key actions to further work on systems change,

Move the dial

and pull the levers to facilitate systems change in the built environment

What is Involved?

There are 4 key touch points:

27th September 2023 – kick-off webinar

Understanding of systems change, how to get involved.

16th – 17th October 2023 – Systems Change Conference

What’s stopping us and what’s the change needed.?

11th January 2024

Mid programme check in

6th-7th March 2024

Systems Change Summit, where have we got to?

Why get involved 

If you are passionate about systems change, sustainability, or just want to know more about what is coming in the future, this journey could be of interest to you. It is particularly of interest for change makers and leaders who are trying to make change within their organizations, or wider across client groups, supply chain or sub tier contractors.  

Join this inspirational, experiential learning journey to dig deeper on working through our big challenges, in a collaborative way with others. 

Who should get involved?  

This process aims to bring together a diverse group from across the value chain at all levels. We welcome involvement from anyone interested in making change happen and contributing to this new, radical programme of work. Get in touch.  

Sign up for our kick-off event on 27th September in London where we will formally launch the programme and introduce our partners, aims and timelines.

UKGBC have committed significant resources to what we believe will be a powerful, transformational programme. We are seeking a true representation of the industry, from the big players to sole traders and everyone in between. To do this we are asking for donations only. A suggested donation would range from £150+ for large organisations, £80 for SMEs and £10 for sole traders. We are a charity and need to recoup some costs but do not want the ticket price to be a barrier to joining. Please share this event with your network. Members and non-members welcome.

Systems Change Team:

The UKGBC team is lead by CEO, Smith Mordak, and Director of Experiential Learning, Elfrida Hamilton-Russell.

Smith Mordak Chief Executive
Elfrida Hamilton-Russell Learning and Leadership Director

This programme is supported by teams of external experts and member leaders. See who we have on board here.

With thanks to our strategic partners

And support from The University of Southampton

Event details

Open to

All are welcome.