COP26: How to step into the carbon conversation

By talking intelligently about carbon, your business can stand out from the crowd.

Over the last week, carbon has been the word on everyone’s lips. COP26 was touted as being the most important climate summit in the world’s history. As the conference enters its second week, many new commitments have been made in the fight to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees.

Given the carbon-intensive nature of construction and the built environment, it seems likely that our industry is set for a period of unprecedented change in the push for carbon net-zero by 2050.

How should you be talking about these changes in the context of your business?

A carbon hungry industry

We know how carbon-intensive both the construction and running of buildings is. From steel production, right through to heating and energy infrastructure, nearly every part of the built environment is intertwined with carbon and our impact is massive.

Worldwide, the industry accounts for a whopping 39% of all carbon output. To break that figure down further, 28 of those percentage points come from the running of buildings once they’re built, while the other 11 come from construction itself.

With new legislation on the horizon in the shape of the future homes standard, the phase-out of gas boilers and the replacement of electric vehicles with petrochemical ones, it’s plain to see that change is coming.

The question is how should we talk about it?

Let’s talk about the future

While there are a host of unknowns when it comes to how we’re going to completely decarbonise our industry and the country at large, there are some loose blueprints out there. Filling the blanks will come from conversation, collaboration and problem-solving.

And that conversation and collaboration is going to be market wide, not hidden inside corporate R&D departments. Collaboration between scientific institutions, businesses, contractors, engineers, and governments will be pivotal to reaching net-zero.

Shouting about successes and raising questions

A big part of marketing in construction and the built environment is showing off your work. Typically, companies dedicate large portions of their websites towards showing off their previous projects. Showing off sustainable, carbon-friendly projects is a great way to solidify your green credentials.

Not just greenwash

Rather than just saying, “we’re dedicated to working sustainably!”, you can provide concrete evidence of your work, demonstrating new ways of doing things and celebrating your environmental successes. Where those projects are groundbreaking enough that they capture media attention, you could be generating significant interest from clients looking for contractors skilled in carbon-conscious construction.

Just as you should shout about your sustainable work, it’s also important to add to the conversation. That includes topics such as the difficulties of reaching a certain legislative target, things that need to change to help the industry move towards net-zero, or even a look at some exciting new green technology. You don’t have to have all the answers here. Questions and thought pieces are just as important.

Why marketing matters

Input from the industry is vital to deliver net-zero by 2050. From a commercial perspective, more and more clients will be turning to new ways of working and demanding the same of their supply chain. They’ll select companies that work with sustainable processes to produce buildings that are ready for net-zero energy solutions.

By talking frequently about the industry and its relationship with net-zero, you nurture your business’s green reputation, demonstrating that you have your finger on the pulse of modern, carbon-conscious construction practices.

The end of greenwashing

With carbon output becoming the topic of the moment, more and more clients and consumers will be au fait with the terminology around net-zero. What you don’t want is a reputation for greenwashing.

That means, being open and honest about your green credentials. If you say you’re doing more than you are, or if you’re claiming to be carbon-friendly when you aren’t, it could make for a PR disaster. And let’s be honest, the days of sniffing at sustainability are long gone – climate change is here to stay and  we have to adapt if the human race is going to survive.

The key to great marketing content centred on net-zero is staying informed, pushing the envelope and being honest.

If you’re looking for someone to help you contribute to the conversation on carbon net-zero, Luma Marketing can help you develop a strategy that sets you apart from the crowd. Get in touch today to arrange a consultation.

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