The year 2020, will be a defining year for the world’s built environment, marking the dawn of a decade of action in which the industry will be transformed by the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, Cundall, has named 2020 the ‘Year of Net Zero’, announcing its commitment to achieving net zero carbon throughout its own business operations, incorporating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into every element and leading the way for others to do the same.

Richard Stratton, managing director and Partner MENA, commented: “Sustainability permeates through every aspect of Cundall, achieving net zero is a huge part of that, and with COP26 in Glasgow later this year, we are committed to not only achieving net zero carbon throughout our own offices globally, but to sharing our learnings and leading the conversation around net zero carbon projects that started in 2019, and will likely only become more vociferous as COP26 draws closer.”

Stratton further added: “When we launched our latest Sustainability Roadmap in late 2018, we were under no illusions that achieving our ambitious net zero goals would not be straight forward. Net zero is a complex issue that needs the type of technical solution that we, as engineers, are best-placed to provide, and it is through the process of continuously learning from our project experience, developing our approach and adjusting our methods that we can succeed.”

Cundall has also announced its resolution to collaborate with industry bodies to revolutionise the built environment’s approach to net zero. Cundall will work alongside the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MOID), Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the UK Green Building Council, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) to help unify the industry and define targets for achieving net zero carbon in both new and existing buildings.

As a Board Director of EGBC, Cundall is undertaking an ambitious approach to drive the Net Zero Carbon agenda across the UAE and beyond.

Hala Yousef, head of sustainability MENA at Cundall, said: “The region’s leadership is showing the industry the roadmap that we all must follow in the next 10 years through the UAE’s Green Agenda 2015-2030 and National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017-2050, with no space given to climate change sceptics. It’s incredible to see the progress being made across all the Emirates and the on-going work the industry is committing to.”

 “Ultimately, achieving net zero is an engineering problem that needs a technical solution, and we are dedicated to helping the industry achieve it.”

Cundall Australia has led the charge to net zero, achieving certification in late 2019, and setting the bar for Cundall’s other offices around the globe to follow suit by June this year. Once this is achieved, the practice will continue along the path to being 115 per cent carbon positive by 2025.

Cundall is currently working with the GLA to launch new standards for whole life carbon for all referable schemes by early February, simultaneously setting out a proposed roadmap and targets for all developments in the next decade. The next step will be to set intensive targets for whole life and embodied carbon and mandate compulsory reporting for all building projects.

At the same time, the practice is also collaborating with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) to help unify the industry on setting operational energy intensity targets for all building types. Once agreed the aim will be to get these included in legislation for both new and existing buildings so that we can meet our net zero carbon targets.