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Carbon Leadership Forum

Plan for Launching the Initiative

The project plan has five main components and is designed to compress a 24-month process into eight to launch by June of 2018. An overview of the components are as follows:

1. Introduce the idea (November 2017)

Initial planning took place on November 7th, 2017 held in Boston at the Carbon Leadership Forum meeting at GreenBuild Expo.

2. Develop a comprehensive plan (December-January 2018)

The planning process was facilitated by Carbon Innovations, a business consultancy focused on laying the basis for a global economy that thrives by storing billions of tons of carbon in valuable products while reducing carbon emissions to zero. Carbon Innovations works to connect network partners with diverse expertise and shared passion to bring products to market and to transform markets.

Over a three-month period (from November 2017 through January 2018), the Carbon Leadership Forum and Carbon Innovations convened a team of over 30 experts from companies and NGOs across the building industry to develop a comprehensive plan for how to convert the built environment from a new carbon emitter into a net carbon sink.

Network participants and organizational leaders worked to identify knowledge gaps and propose pathways to transform the industry. The team first identified a set of Conditions Required for Success:

  • Carbon-storing materials must be low cost, widely available and widely used.
  • Buildings are high-performing, and emit no GHG’s in operation.
  • Analysis of a building’s carbon footprint is integrated in project design and delivery tools.
  • Carbon-storing best practices are widely shared and rapidly improving.
  • Buildings have a carbon footprint rating that is easy to find and understand.
  • Designers, builders and owners make storing carbon a goal on every project.
  • Developers realize higher profits for carbon-storing buildings.
  • The public views carbon stored in buildings as part of the climate solution.
  • Policies to promote storing carbon in buildings are in place globally.

The planners then developed detailed Action Plans aimed at enabling the building industry to meet those conditions:

  1. Accelerate progress with a collective impact initiative.
  2. Secure industry commitments.
  3. Improve global warming potential (GWP) analysis methods and tools.
  4. Promote lower carbon materials and methods.
  5. Promote best practices with compelling case studies.
  6. Develop low-carbon materials supply chains.
  7. Engage state and local governments.
  8. Recruit leading Fortune 100 firms to demand minimized embodied carbon in buildings they commission.

3. Create the backbone; recruit founding partners; prepare for launch (January-June 2018)

Together, we’ll work to support, connect, and accelerate the work of many companies and organizations to create:

  • A common agenda among the network partners, based on a common understanding of the problem and a shared vision for change.
  • A shared plan for collecting data, measuring results, managing performance, and sharing accountability.
  • A broad range of partners with differentiated approaches engaging in mutually reinforcing activities, and coordinating through a joint plan of action.
  • Continuous, consistent, and open communications, focused on building trust and supporting collaboration.
  • A small backbone organization, fully funded and capable of providing infrastructure and processes to host and promote the Initiative and measure progress.

4. Public launch (June-September 2018)

The first public announcement and presentation of the Carbon Smart Building initiative in the US will be at the American Institute of Architects 2018 Convention in New York City June 20-23.  The first global launch will be at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 12-14.

5. Execute (beginning now!)

The Carbon Leadership Forum is a professional community of manufacturers, designers, builders and academics focused on reducing the carbon ‘embodied’ in building materials. Industry sponsorships have funded embodied carbon research at the University of Washington and firm representatives have led initiatives.  Participants in CLF have worked together to understand and reduce embodied carbon: leading by testing methods, sharing results and motivating each other to improve.  The Carbon Smart Building initiative will use CLF’s previous work as a foundation for advancing the initiative, spurring work on the initiative’s Action Plans while developing the necessary backbone and infrastructure needed.