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Aurecon joins forces with industry and government to decarbonise building and construction industry

The Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance (MECLA) aims to drive reductions in embodied (upfront) carbon across the building supply chain.

Membership with MECLA aligns with Aurecon’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025

22 April 2021 – International engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon has joined over 40 leading companies, the NSW Government and WWF-Australia in a new coalition to decarbonise Australia’s building and construction industry.

The Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance (MECLA) aims to drive reductions in embodied (upfront) carbon across the building supply chain.

This means working collaboratively to create demand for products like greener steel, concrete, cement and aluminium, and alternative products, including mass timber, and reused and reformed waste materials that can be used to decarbonise Australia’s construction industry, with the potential to export innovations around the world.

MECLA was founded by WWF-Australia and the NSW Department of Industry, Environment and Planning, Presync, along with many industry partners including Aurecon, Lendlease, Transurban, Boral, BlueScope, AdBri, Energy Estate, Investa, Built, Hyne Timber, and a range of engineers, architects, and building firms. 

Aurecon’s Managing Director, Built Environment, Tim Spies, said that the company’s membership of MECLA aligned with Aurecon’s recently announced commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025, as part of its plan to decarbonise its business and help clients to transition to a zero emissions model.

“Reducing embodied carbon across the building supply chain is vital to a decarbonisation strategy and Aurecon is committed to helping industry and our clients transition to a net zero emissions future through our advisory and technical services and our involvement with MECLA,” Mr Spies said.

Chief Executive of the WWF-Australia, Dermot O’Gorman said that as economies of the world were transitioning towards a low-carbon future, Australia could not afford to be left behind.

“We need to decarbonise high-emitting industries and drive industry innovation in our products, services, buildings and infrastructure to take advantage of the economic and social benefits of this transition. MECLA brings together key industry partners and governments to achieve outcomes that will help pave the way to achieving our Net Zero carbon goals. The enthusiasm for this initiative right across the supply chain has been overwhelming and we’re excited about the Alliance’s potential,” Mr O’Gorman said.

Reflecting on the complexity of the construction ecosystem, MECLA includes working groups that cover both demand-side and supply-side of the industry, all working to align industry with the Paris Agreement targets and within the principles of circular economy.

The working groups will develop tangible and actionable measures upon which industry can act. These include:

  • Demonstrating the demand and activating the supply of construction materials which meet the needs of net zero carbon goals
  • Defining a best practice embodied carbon evaluation framework to increase transparency and accountability in decision-making
  • Knowledge sharing through best practice education, case studies, myth-busting, demonstrations, and supporting innovation in materials and processes as part of a pre-competitive approach
  • Developing common language for design specifications, procurement guidelines and tendering criteria as standard practice for government agencies and companies
  • Helping to manage industry’s risks association with climate transition and with adopting innovative materials, as well as the required skills development
  • Supporting materials such as steel, cement and concrete, and aluminium to reduce their carbon intensity

Dale Connor, Lendlease’s Chief Executive Officer, Building, said that at a time when construction was leading the economic rebuild, there was a fantastic opportunity and urgent obligation to decarbonise the building industry.

“As a 1.5 degree aligned company, we’re absolutely committed to this journey, but understand partnership and collaboration is the only way to make the industry more sustainable and climate-friendly. A founding member of the newly-created MECLA, we look forward to working with our peers, clients, suppliers and government to accelerate the critical change required for a sustainable future,” Mr Connor said.

The Alliance has clear governance and anti-competition protocols that encourage all partners to work collaboratively and develop outputs that achieve collective goals of the broader industry.

MECLA is part of WWF-Australia’s Renewables Nation campaign, which advocates for Australia to seize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a renewables export powerhouse. By doing so, Australia can boost its economy, create tens of thousands of new clean energy jobs, and safeguard its position as a desirable, responsible trading partner in the global market.

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