Carbon Expert of the Month, July 2021
Justyna ChmielewskaJustyna is head of sustainability and a senior sustainability advisor at leading global property and construction consultancy company Gleeds Polska. The Gleeds Polska Sustainability team is involved in many types of projects in the construction industry. Their aim is to analyse buildings in terms of their entire life cycle, determining the values of emissions resulting from their construction, use and end of life, and taking steps to minimise them.
Funshop Park, Rosiorii de Vede
What led you to become a construction carbon expert?The activities related to green certification and the implementation of sustainable solutions in buildings have made the topic of the carbon footprint another natural next step on the way to climate neutrality. There are a number of issues related to the topic of climate neutrality, and one of the key ones are the methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In pursuit of our goal of caring for our planet we analyse buildings in terms of their entire life cycle, determining the values of emissions resulting from their construction, use and end of life, and taking steps to minimise them.
What kind of projects do you typically work on, and in what role?The Gleeds Polska Sustainability Team is involved in many types of projects in the construction industry. As a team leader, I can participate in many different projects from different sectors of the construction market. My team and I mainly provide services for green certifications, such as BREEAM or LEED, but also in the field of green consulting and Environmental Due Diligence audits. We evaluate, advise and analyse office buildings, hotels and industrial buildings such as warehouses and retail parks. We are trying to develop services related to carbon emissions and analyses of building life cycle which is the confirmation of our social responsibility.
“Warehouses are large-scale facilities, consuming huge amounts of energy and responsible for high emission values. So even minor changes, when you take into account the scale of these buildings, result in real environmental savings.”
Which projects and achievements are you most proud of?Together with my team, we are taking steps to minimise the environmental impact of the warehouse sector in construction industry. Despite the fact that the way to obtaining satisfactory results is long and the effects are not yet spectacular, I am proud of our contribution to the development of green buildings in this sector. Warehouses are large-scale facilities, consuming huge amounts of energy and responsible for high emission values. So even minor changes, when you take into account the scale of these buildings, result in real environmental savings.
How do you see carbon performance evolving in the market?In the last few years, market interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions has increased significantly. Investors, designers as well as material producers are more aware of the ongoing climate change and note that reducing emissions is a must. Awareness is growing year by year, and this is followed by actions that we must take to achieve the ‘emission zero’. In addition to the growing awareness of climate change, the increased interest in the topic of reducing CO2 emissions also results from the introduced regulations and goals set, among others, under the Paris Agreement signed by most countries around the world or EU regulations such as the Green Deal. As a result of the introduction of global climate goals, there is a need to provide services in this area, which will quickly develop in the near future and will become the need of every market participant.
“A company that respects the environment and cares about reducing emissions, is positively received by potential service users. Creating a green company profile is needed to ‘stay in the game’ in today’s construction market.”
What are the key value drivers you use to make the business case for materials carbon?To make the business case for materials carbon we are guided by three key value drivers according to the 3P rule – People, Planet, Profits. To clients, investors and the people with whom we work, we present the key value drivers in the form of the 3P rule as our common goal, which is to achieve climate neutrality. Drivers ‘Planet’ and ’People’ are connected with the topic of responsible business conduct with a focus on climate change and the contribution that customers can give to prevent a climate catastrophe. Growing awareness goes hand in hand with growing responsibility, thanks to which more and more companies raise the issue of emissions and introduce procedures to minimize them. The ‘Profits’ driver is related to the company’s marketing. A company that respects the environment and cares about reducing emissions, is positively received by potential service users. Creating a green company profile is needed to ‘stay in the game’ in today’s construction market. Striving to connect these three drivers is an important step towards achieving the goal of climate neutrality.