Spotlight on Scotland’s built environment needed to fight climate change, industry collective to hear

Trade Minister Ivan McKee

SCOTLAND’s construction sector will play a vital role in supporting a transformation to zero carbon ahead of COP26 and beyond, attendees at an industry seminar will hear next week from Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism, and Enterprise. 

Building to COP26, hosted by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) on 7th September, will see industry professionals gather online to discuss what COP26 means for the Scottish built environment, and to learn more about the opportunities that can be harnessed to help tackle climate change.

The event comes just eight weeks ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, when all eyes of the world will be on Scotland’s efforts to tackle climate change. Accounting for around 40% of emissions, the built environment is at the heart of the challenge and the entire sector is being encouraged to maximise on the opportunities associated with reaching zero carbon.

Trade Minister Ivan McKee said: “Construction has a major part to play in the transition to net zero through its operations, materials, products and designs, the sector will also deliver much of the infrastructure and retrofit needed to reach our ambitious target. I encourage the sector to seize the opportunity of COP26 to showcase what Scotland can do here and internationally.”

Stephen Good, CEO of Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, added: “Transformational change at a vast scale is needed to decarbonise our built environment and it will require a concerted and coordinated effort across all parts of the sector. That is why we are inviting everyone to join the discussion next week, building on the culture of innovation and collaboration that we have seen emerge throughout the pandemic.

“COP26 is a milestone event for Scotland and is putting the spotlight on sustainability like never before. It has become a platform for engagement and knowledge sharing and we will see a range of initiatives and prototypes demonstrated as part of COP26 showcases and fringe events.

“However, transformation and innovation are not limited to new-build projects, and retrofitting existing infrastructure also forms a large part of the challenge. Establishing the necessary supply chains, maximising our use of locally sourced materials, and developing new skills will be a crucial part of the industry’s future.

“The construction sector and associated supply chains account for thousands of jobs and make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy, underpinning the activities and output of many other industries. A greener built environment could boost the development of a strong, resilient and fair future for Scotland.”

Following a keynote speech from Ivan McKee, a panel of experts will discuss the public and private sector’s commitment to driving green growth and achieving zero carbon, the greater use of Scotland’s natural resources as part of a circular economy and the skills and capabilities required across the sector to achieve those aims.

Joining the panel are Peter Reekie, chief executive of Scottish Futures Trust and member of the Construction Leadership Forum; Sean Smith, professor of future construction at the University of Edinburgh; Lynne Sullivan, architect and national built environment strategic advisor; Steve Petrie, business performance director at Balfour Beatty; and Alan Wilson, managing director of SELECT – the trade association for electrical contractors – and chair of the Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum.

Building to COP26 takes place online on Tuesday 7th September at 10am. To register for free, visit:

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