An essential day of conversations exploring the building sectors' role in reducing emissions and combating climate change, attendees travelled from all over Europe to be in the North East for this momentous occasion orchestrated to inspire and instigate transformative action. The first in-person event of its kind, it was an electric day of discussions and networking between innovators and representatives spanning every breadth of the industry. Architects, construction workers, policymakers, building materials companies, tech startups, venture capitalists, environmental experts, and more were each brought together under one roof with one common mission; decarbonising the built environment.
Opening the conference was the mind behind this important event, Space Group's CEO Rob Charlton. Setting the scene and reminding everyone of the severity of the day's focus, Rob referenced the UN secretary general's statement at COP27,
"We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.
Following an illuminating Climate Timeline video, the former Head of Sustainability Innovation at IKEA, Håkan Nordkvist, presented how we can innovate, build a circular society and change earth systems for the better. "Governments need to be bolder," cited from Håkan, connected closely to the advice and findings offered by Chris Hines MBE, Founding member of Surfers Against Sewage and Former Sustainability Director of the Eden Project. The _shift audience hung onto every word as Chris offered honest insights into how activism can enact real and lasting environmental change. Overall, the sentiment was optimistic, and it was fascinating to hear Hakan and Chris discuss their experiences of bettering the lives of people and the planet, emphasising how the built environment can now do the same.
The conference proved a huge success, as industry knowledge was further delivered by a plethora of speakers and panellists, including James Pellat of GPE, Helen Kerrigan from Newcastle City Council and Scott Bush, Co-founder of Low Carbon Materials, finalists in this year's Earthshot Prize.