Authors: Roland Hunziker & Bill Sisson
In the past weeks, WBCSD has participated in several events centered around how the building sector is key to reviving the global economy and the importance of reinforcing sustainability going forward.
During the 11th annual World Green Building Week and Climate Week New York, there was an unequivocal consensus among all participating organizations that we need to build our way out of the social and financial crisis provoked by COVID-19, without losing sight of our net-zero targets.
To contain the virus and protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens, governments across the world introduced lockdowns which caused otherwise bustling urban environments to quickly turn into ghost towns.
For the construction sector, rigorous COVID-measures meant that in many countries sites came to a halt. At the same time, the sector showed an impressive capacity by building hospitals and other care facilities in a very short time.
Now, as public and private companies and organizations struggle to keep their employees safe while simultaneously coping with a financial setback, recovery plans seem to be the focal point of everyone’s attention.
With population growth and rising purchasing power in emerging markets, the global building floor area is expected to double by 2050.
While this rapid expansion of infrastructure is a challenge for the construction sector on its path to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, it also opens a window of opportunity. The construction sector can provide the boost we need to jump-start the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Today, the construction sector represents 11-13% of global GDP and employs 7% of the global workforce. In an effort to revive the economy, governments around the world recognize the potential of this industry for creating new jobs and strengthening local businesses.
“Build, Build, Build” – the catchphrase of the ‘New Deal’ announced by the British Prime Minister this summer, clearly demonstrates this direction for economic recovery.
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