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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Building natural connections

Building Natural Connections: A series of three chaired talks in the run-up to COP26 that explore how the interdependence of nature, society and economy can be leveraged to provide solutions for a sustainable built environment.

The series – hosted by Make Architects’ Future Spaces Foundation, in collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership – features diverse perspectives from business, policy, finance, academia and civil society. With an audience of investors, developers, asset managers and policymakers, the talks will trigger fresh thinking around how the built environment can deliver a resilient and prosperous future for all.

You can find a follow up to these webinars on the Future Spaces Foundation website here


  • Changing climate, changing culture: Wednesday 29 September 2021, 14:00 – 15:30 BST: Despite the availability of low-carbon solutions, buildings and construction still account for nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions. This indicates that it’s industry culture – not technology – which must change to incorporate net zero into a business mindset and at a practice level. What does it mean to be an organisation committed to net zero? Where does responsibility start and end? How can climate-positive solutions and operational excellence be valued in a way that makes all stakeholders want to engage and drive positive action? How will we work differently as a result? Watch a recording of the session here>>


  • Banking on bio-resilience: Wednesday, 6 October 2021, 14:00 – 15:30 BST: Rapid biodiversity loss and land degradation present significant risks to the global economy. However, they’re rarely given financial value or integrated into decision-making in the built environment, where projects often ignore or downgrade nature-based options in choosing short-term, cost-saving measures. The sector must learn to assess, appreciate and integrate the value of nature into commercial decisions in order to improve resilience, human wellbeing, carbon reduction and economic stability. Where are the incentives to do this effectively? How can externalities be incorporated into decision-making for all parties across the life of assets? Watch a recording of the session here>>


  • Unlocking social value: Wednesday, 13 October 2021, 14:00 – 15:30 BST: Two-thirds of the global population will live in cities by 2050, yet most urban spaces are not created with human wellbeing as their goal. The built environment must deliver better social outcomes, such as reducing socioeconomic inequalities, enhancing access to nature, supporting food security, and prioritising health and wellbeing. How can we engage all parties early in the design process on this front? How do we draw on communities’ experiences and embrace social value in practice to learn from each other? How can we measure these outcomes? Watch a recording of the session here>>

These webinars are designed for professionals across the built environment value chain – from those involved in policy, investment and development to design, construction and facilities management. For more information on our work with the built environment, visit the Building Change hub.


Wednesday, 29 September, 2021 - 14:00 to Wednesday, 13 October, 2021 - 15:30