Arup, a global sustainable development consultancy, has successfully concluded its pre-COP28 ‘Race to Transition’ Asia event series, calling for collective climate action to shape a more sustainable future. 

The event series happened as world leaders gear up for the upcoming COP28 in Dubai to address the findings from the First Global Stocktake and accelerate ambition to limit global warming to 1.5˚C. Held in strategic partnerships with Civic Exchange, ICE Hong Kong, Resilient Cities Network, and World Resources Institute, the series took place in Hong Kong, Manila, Tokyo and Shanghai, attracting over 1,300 people joining online and in-person.

Hong Kong: Collaborating for a greener future

The series kicked off at the CIC-Zero Carbon Park in Hong Kong, co-organised by the Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Sustainable Business Network.

The consensus is that collaboration is key to integrating diverse expertise and resources, amplifying efforts, and achieving greater impacts. With the government leading the society’s green transformation, businesses can take the opportunity to translate the macro policies into actionable initiatives, driving meaningful changes through collaborative efforts across sectors.

Manila: Enhancing resilience for future water infrastructure 

In Manila, water experts explored ways to enhance future water infrastructure in response to increasing extreme weather events. The focus should shift from mitigation alone to include adaptive planning. Integrated water management is essential for our cities, prompting us to rethink about assets, stewardship models and our shared value.

To ensure future water security, we must address both reliability and resilience. When building water infrastructure to meet rising demand, it is crucial to consider system shocks and ensure our facilities can withstand the impacts of climate change, extending beyond droughts. By working in tune with nature, we can forge a powerful alliance to combat climate change.

Tokyo: Driving a paradigm shift in green architecture

In collaboration with Shinkenchiku, a leading Japanese architecture journal, our experts from Tokyo office delved into the pivotal roles of architecture and architects in the green transition. The dialogue emphasised the need to refresh our thinking process regarding why and how we build, and to embrace diverse approaches to drive sustainability change. The dialogue shed light on the growing prominence of timber as a mainstream building material in Japan, highlighting the importance to trace its origin and incorporating design strategies that effectively reduce embodied carbon emissions.

This collaboration also showcases the active involvement of young practitioners who are passionate about the environment and dedicated to exploring innovative and regenerative architectural designs.

Shanghai: New strategic partnership for a low-carbon and circular future

The Shanghai event focused on the application of circular economy principles within the built industry, discussing the future of circular buildings, technical requirements for low-carbon development, and sustainable asset management and operation strategies. The circular design framework developed by Arup and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation urged the prioritisation of retrofitting and reuse, increasing the long-term value of buildings, improving efficiency, and selecting sustainable materials.

At the event, Arup and China Building Material Test & Certification Group Shanghai Co., Ltd. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation on embodied carbon and circular buildings research. The strategic partnership aims to establish industry standards for low-carbon practices, energy conservation and emission reduction, and promote green certifications.

Watch the recording of the full series.