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Sustainable Development Goals are the benchmarks to achieve diversity and change, says Landscape Institute President, Jane Findlay

26 May 2022
Reading Time: 3 mins

Jane Findlay, president of the Landscape Institute, was speaking in the Beyond Net Zero pavilion at UKREiiF in Leeds.  She told the audience on day three that  green jobs must be put at the heart of the levelling up agenda,


Adding that better environmental design was critical to creating places where everyone could thrive, as well as mitigating against climate change.


"An investment in environmental resilience is an investment in our economic resilience as well," she said. "We need to move quickly to close the green skills gap. Government must put green jobs at the heart of their levelling up agenda.”


Ms Findlay said the built environment sector suffered from "a tremendous lack of diversity", adding: "We must do better.”


She said the sector needed to change "...perceptions, policies and power dynamics. The Sustainable Development Goals are the benchmarks to achieve this change" she added.


The Beyond Net Zero pavilion - sponsored by the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development in partnership with City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, supported by UKBCSD members Sir Robert McAlpine and Keyland Developments - has been looking at ways of encouraging clean, sustainable growth beyond simple, albeit important, environmental targets.



In another morning session, the audience heard how one of our UKBCSD members, Bradford Council, is moving to create rapid economic growth in an inclusive and responsible way. The city is aiming to become the UK's leading Clean Growth testbed.


Simon Dew, development director at Muse Developments, said Bradford presented "fantastic opportunities" to investors.


Muse is the company behind One City Park, a BREEAM excellent office building in the heart of Bradford due to open in summer 2023.


He said Bradford had been a city at an economic "tipping point" set for rapid growth, with a number of schemes coming on-line at once.


"So many things were happening and we felt as a developer that the city presented some fantastic opportunities," he said.


Mr Dew said Muse had been attracted by the pool of talent in Bradford, and the fact the city had the youngest population in the country.


It wasn't just in the Beyond Net Zero pavilion where Bradford was the talk of UKREiiF.


Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, who gave a keynote speech on levelling up, told delegates she shared Bradford's "frustration" that Northern Powerhouse Rail - a high-speed cross Pennine link that would have included a station in the city - had been downgraded by the government.


"Bradford has so much going for it, but unlocking that potential does require good transport links," she said. "To be able to fire on all cylinders, it needs connectivity."

In the Beyond Net Zero pavilion, the afternoon kicked off with a session on “How might we shape a flourishing economy for 2050?” chaired by the chair of The Bradford Economic Partnership Manoj Joshi.

Mark Dickinson, CEO of Inspired Energy, warned delegates not to confuse consumer will with consumer behaviour.


He said consumer behaviour was affected by personal finances and poverty - and that often people in poverty had got more immediate problems to deal with than environmental sustainability.


Mr Dickinson said access to capital drove behaviour and restricting that capital could drive different behaviour - as governments are doing with climate-related financial disclosures.


In the final session of the day, led by the Landscape Institute, Ludo Pittie, Head of Landscape at UKBCSD member WSP, said: “As long as we see nature as something we can just take and we never put a price on it then we’re neve going to value it.”

He said economic modelling had valued nature’s worth in excess of $125trillion and said people needed to start putting nature first when looking at development.  Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said her organisation had launched a Green space index which found that only four out of the 12 regions of the UK met the standards of provision for green space.

Deborah Nagan, head of place and nature at the Future Homes Hub said that much of what has happened to nature could be explained by the fact that nature has no voice and no CEO.