Making a pledge – by Sara Cameron

This year, I have been on a sustainability journey.

Following my attendance at the joint IFMA UK and RICS Last Straw seminar, in April, you may recall I wrote a blog for Surveyorhood – you can read it here: The Last Straw.

I immediately made some personal pledges and changes as a result of what I heard.

My purchasing habits have changed. My laundry habits have changed.

From doing my APC, where sustainability is a mandatory competency, to being personally concerned about my individual impact on the planet, I was thrilled to be invited to the launch of Value the Planet at RICS HQ last month.

I am proud that my profession is promoting the preservation of the planet through the implementation of the UN’s sustainable development goals. This is absolutely in the public interest and exactly what our Royal Charter expects of us as a profession.

The RICS’ sustainable business toolkit offers practical measure for all organisations looking to act now, and implement the UN’s sustainable development goals. You can download it here.


And so this brings me to my VegPledge – I was talking to Natasha Tyler (UK RICS Matrics Chair) and Barry Cullen (Head of Future Talent, Diversity & Inclusion at RICS) at the launch of #ValuethePlanet about vegetarianism. 

Totally inspired, I was thinking about it on the train home and I received an email from CRUK about taking part in #VegPledge in November.  I owe my life to cancer research and the care of the NHS and now at 9 years all clear this felt like a sign.

It was meant to be. 

I signed up straight away – you can see my fundraising page here.

One answer to the climate crisis is on our plates.

IPCC Special Report – Climate Change and Land

The IPCC report is a comprehensive look at how land use influences climate change and vice versa.  It demonstrates that how we grow, get and eat our food is a major driver of climate change.

The food system as a whole, which includes food production and processing, transport, retail consumption, loss and waste is currently responsible for up to a third of our global green house gas emission.

IPCC Co-Chair Eduardo Calvo Buendia.

Avoiding meat and dairy is one of the biggest ways to reduce our environmental impact.  I wanted to know what kind of impact that may and I found the BBC’s climate change food calculator – I probably ate a bacon roll three times a week in October (don’t judge me), whilst busy and constantly on the go, so eating pork three to five times a week looks like this:

Since my VegPledge, I am now eating beans three times a week and that looks like this:

A reduction of 355kg in my contribution to annual greenhouse gas emissions from one food swap!!

I am now keen to record the whole month and work out the impact of my personal VegPledge so watch this space!

In fact, I’m enjoying the plant based diet so much that I can see no reason why I will not just continue eating this way…imagine the impact of that!

#HarrisDebate – Climate Change: Your impact, your responsibilities

Buildings consume over one-third of energy worldwide, with this figure increasing in developed markets. At the same time, about one-third of global carbon emissions can be traced back to buildings.

Alastair Mant, Head of Business Transformation at UK Green Building Council (aka @greenginger) gave a stark but essential presentation on climate change and ecological crisis and the role the built environment industry can play at the Harris Debate watch it here (you can earn 1.5 hours CPD if you do and it will hopefully, as it did me, make you think differently to do differently):

RICS Harris Debate 2019

As Alastair says, we must collaborate to get further “we need a peleton approach” to push and lead us to radically change with open and purposeful innovation.

Our Planet: Our Business Trailer – YouTube

With corporate social responsibility, sustainability and public advantage at the heart of what we do the global business community can be a powerful force to drive action for nature.

WWF has developed Our Planet: Our Business, a new film for business inspired by the Netflix series Our Planet, it is available to watch now and find out why they are confident that change is possible.

Our Planet: Our Business

One last thing…

Take part in the RICS Social Impact Awards 2020 – now open

As we have already seen and heard, buildings are bad for the climate – we can do better and we, the built environment professions are uniquely placed to make a difference.

We need to act now and the RICS Social Impact Awards are one way we can highlight better practice and recognise the built environment’s positive and transformational contribution to society.

Projects and initiatives in all sectors will be judged based on their contribution to making a positive impact and adding value to society.

Criteria covers human, social and environmental impact as well as collaboration and innovation.

Get nominating!

Closing date for entries: 5pm on 31 January 2020.

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