Red Tape Hobbling 2012 Sustainability

The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 issued its carbon report on the London 2012 programme on 1 December 2009. and while it gives a positive response to the commitments made by the delivery bodies to date, efforts so far will not satisfy the government's objective for zero carbon homes in the area by 2016.

There is an ample source of renewable energy in East London, it is organic waste. It currently goes to landfill and could be processed locally into gas, which could fuel the Olympic Park. We have been recommending this should happen for 2 years and although we have seen a lot of activity we see no real results.

There seems to be a lot of real or imaginary bureaucratic, commercial and technical hurdles and not enough determination to sort them out. If this is not resolved soon it will be too late, losing the opportunity for the park and putting the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games' zero waste to landfill target for the Games at risk.

We are calling on government to mitigate the 1.9 million Tonnes of residual carbon footprint by building on the experience of the Olympic Delivery Authority to create new knowledge around this subject. If we can learn how to develop, design, build, use and dispose of buildings and civil engineering works in a way that minimises emissions over life, the application of this knowledge will reduce the 1.9 million Tonnes many times over.

Current thinking, such as the UK sustainable construction strategy, has a focus only on the use of buildings, not other aspects of the construction process.

If this work is started now, a new standard for managing embodied energy in construction could be available to the world by 2012, if applied, the carbon savings could dwarf the 1.9 million Tonnes, if British companies are smart in selling their skills to apply the standard, the economic benefit of the Games would be multiplied many times over.

If we follow the example of the energy from waste opportunity and spend the next 2 years having meetings, writing position papers and generally achieving very little, somebody else will do this and another opportunity will be lost for ever.

This illustrates the need for businesses to think ahead, property developers, construction companies and manufacturers need to be aware of future government policy in order to anticipate what will make their business successful in the future. For example:

  • Be aware of new policy positions such as the UK sustainable construction strategy and the sustainable communities act.
  • Understand how your customers may respond to these changes and how they may value your service differently in future
  • Invest in training your workforce in response to your customers future needs
  • Take your supply chain with you, ensure that your future procurement decisions reflect your long term aims and that your supply chain has time to adjust
In today's competitive world, you don't get much for a silver medal.

(Pic: cliff1066 cc2.0)