Joining forces with WWF, industry and government to cut carbon emissions

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
22 April 2021

Arup has joined with WWF-Australia, the NSW Government and 40 other leading companies to accelerate decarbonisation of the building and construction industry.

Together they have formed a new coalition – the Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders Alliance (MECLA) – to reduce embodied carbon across the building supply chain and encourage the transition to alternative, reused and recycled materials. 

Arup Materials Engineer, Lauren Howe is co-Chair of one of the five key working groups within MECLA developing tangible and actionable measures for industry. Her group is defining a best practice framework for evaluating embodied carbon which she said will increase transparency and accountability in decision-making.

The data is compelling about the potential for positive change: in Australia the built environment sector is responsible for one quarter of carbon emissions. ” Lauren Howe Lauren Howe Materials Engineer

Reflecting the complexity of the construction eco-system, MECLA’s Founding Partners cover the demand and supply sides of the industry. Together they propose to create demand for products like greener steel, concrete, cement and aluminium and alternative products like mass timber and reused and reformed waste materials. 

Separately, Arup has been working with Ecologiq in Victoria to inform and encourage  designers and contractors about using recycled materials in transport infrastructure projects.

Engaging with a broad representation of the industry is the best way to define a way towards a net zero carbon footprint. By collaborating, we can shift to a new green economy, where materials are sourced and used responsibly, driven by circular economy principles. ” Kerryn Coker Kerryn Coker Co-Chair, Australasia Region

Dermot O’Gorman, Chief Executive Officer WWF-Australia said: “The enthusiasm for the MECLA initiative right across the supply chain has been overwhelming and we’re excited about the Alliance’s potential. 

“We need to decarbonise high-emitting industries and drive industry innovation in our products, services, buildings and infrastructure to take advantage of the economic and social benefits of this transition to a low-carbon future.”

He said the Alliance has clear governance and anti-competition protocols that encourage all partners to work collaboratively and develop outputs that achieve collective goals of the broader industry. 

Arup has partnered previously with WWF to promote sustainability choices and initiatives. The ‘REWILD Our Planet’ augmented reality experience highlighted climate issues and the impact of individual decisions on fragile ecosystems.