With the climate and ecological crises rising up the political and business agenda, there is an increasing recognition of the need to protect and enhance nature, as well as its role in combatting some of the physical impacts of climate change.

UKGBC research has shown that the application of nature-based solutions can improve the climate resilience of buildings and infrastructure assets and provide benefits to ecosystems whilst improving health and wellbeing, sequestrating carbon and providing social value; ultimately envisioning communities where:

  • Urban environments are cooled through networks of tree canopies rather than air conditioning units
  • Rainwater is managed, stored and filtered through green roofs, vegetated ditches, ponds and wetlands
  • Flood defences are built using trees and wetlands rather than engineered structures

In a short report, ‘Climate resilience and embracing nature: An ambition for the built environment’, UKGBC presents a statement which has been co-created in partnership with UKGBC members and other key stakeholders from across the built environment value chain, and makes the case for why the industry needs to rally around it. The statement has been through a detailed consultation process, with respondents invited to comment on each element to reach consensus on scope and level of ambition.

Sector ambition statement:

By 2030, all buildings and infrastructure will, throughout their lifetime, be climate resilient and maximise environmental net gains, through the prioritisation of nature-based solutions.

Alastair Mant, Head of Business Transformation at UKGBC said:

“We’re seeing an increasing focus from Government and industry on the role that nature can play in solving some of our biggest climate resilience issues. Meanwhile, recent legislation requiring developers to deliver biodiversity net gain on new developments highlights the importance that is being placed on not just protecting habitats and ecosystems, but on enhancing them.

“With this simple statement, we’re providing a focal point for industry to aim for; a level of ambition that is both commensurate with the scale of the challenge and viable within our industry.

“Our hope is that built environment businesses rally around this ambition, adopting it as their own, and work with us to identify and create the initiatives and solutions required to make it a reality.”


Notes to editors 

The report ‘Climate resilience and embracing nature: An ambition for the built environment’ is available here

The consultation on the statement ran from 21 August to 6 September 2019 and received 39 responses.