We’re more than halfway through the COP26 programme in Glasgow, and UKGBC has been busy making the most of the fantastic opportunity and focus that the conference has provided. The team is engaging across each of the daily themes in our work here at COP, this week examining how finance, energy, public empowerment and resilience can feed into the sustainability of our built environment.  

For us, last week had an additional theme, with the launch of UKGBC Scotland – our new, permanent Scottish network. The launch is the culmination of our long-held ambition to deepen our presence in Scotland, driven in large part by the combination of the progressive political policy environment (with a Net Zero target of 2045, five years ahead of the UK-wide target), and the strong existing base of innovation and low carbon delivery across Scottish industry. 

Many of our existing members have an active presence in Scotland and are keen to see more and deeper activity here. We want to support this ambition and grow the impact of our network with more focused and specific guidance, advocacy, and engagement that responds to the unique social, political and physical environment in Scotland. We think this is the perfect moment to launch this effort, with COP26 focusing greater emphasis than ever on the built environment as a key tool in addressing the climate and ecological crises. 

We were delighted to be able to launch UKGBC Scotland inside COP’s Blue Zone on Thursday, alongside the Scottish Government at the Multilevel Action Pavilion. UKGBC Chief Executive Julie Hirigoyen introduced our new Scottish network alongside Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, as well as collaborators from the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and the Existing Homes Alliance. 

The Minister highlighted the scale of the challenge ahead and the need for a collaborative effort from government, industry, and the third sector if we are to rise to the challenge of decarbonisation. We’re encouraged by Mr. Harvie’s appointment as the first government minister anywhere in the UK with a portfolio focus on decarbonisation of the built environment, and we’re looking forward to working alongside the Scottish Government to help ensure that the necessary changes are realised without leaving anyone behind, delivering on our core principle of a just transition. 

After the formal event, we had the opportunity to gather at JLL’s Glasgow office with old and new friends to celebrate the launch and hear more about members’ ambitions here in Scotland. On Monday evening we were excited to be hosted at the SpACE pop-up architecture, carbon and environment exhibition in Edinburgh to mark the launch, where we were welcomed by UKGBC founding member Rab Bennetts and Edinburgh City Councillor Neil Gardiner. We’re so encouraged by the positive engagement that we’ve had so far from existing members and new contacts in the sector, and are keen to collaborate with those who are already working hard to create a more sustainable built environment in Scotland. 

With the launch of UKGBC Scotland, we aim to build on the successes of the last 14 years of UKGBC by convening a diverse membership from across the sector’s entire value chain, while developing Scotland-specific guidance, showcasing Scottish solutions, and stimulating Scottish innovation. We will advocate for change by calling for even more ambitious commitments, stronger standards, and progressive policy, building on the work already being done in Scotland, and invite new members, collaborators and partners to join us in our mission to radically improve the sustainability of Scotland’s built environment.