Capturing the complexity of ESG principles to turn them into action

Duration: 4 weeks, 1 module/week (24 hours)

Cost: 1.000 €


Dates: from 30th October to 20th November 2023

A SOS certified course for those who want to acquire the necessary practical skills to becoming Green Building Consultants in the fields of Architecture and Engineering(Basic Level).

Course Introduction

In order to mitigate the consequences of climate change and to reduce CO2 emissions in the construction sector there is a rising need of professional figures able to address energy efficiency, climate neutral design approaches, climate resilience and circular economy. The module will provide an understanding of the principles, strategies and tools for the enforcement of green and sustainable buildings, from design stages to construction and operations, and the creation of resilient, ecological and regenerative solutions for urban environments through an interdisciplinary and integrated approach.

Course Objectives

This course aims to nurture the future sustainability leaders and their ability to manage the complexity of the ecological and social transition to the post-carbon era in the construction sector.

The Structure

Classes will last 6 hours divided in 4 modules as below. Each lesson is characterized by a first theoretical part and a second part of practical excercises.
ESG01 - Module Introduction and ESG Frameworks (2 Units - 6 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

30 October 2023

1 Unit - Introduction to the module: The concept of ESG is becoming more and more relevant in all we do nowadays: public and private entities are using this new complex language to set up their initiatives and to measure their impact. Understanding what is behind this acronym is the aim of this module. By looking at the different areas, at the set of skills and mindsets required to face the complexity of ESG frameworks and strategy the Arup experts will guide the students through a broad spectrum of themes and methodologies. Sustainability in the construction world no longer looks only at environmental aspects, but times are ready for the conscious integration of the other two components: the social one which considers the impacts of the work on society by promoting human rights, inclusion and health and safety and the governance one which promotes the involvement of stakeholders in key-decisions with an ethical approach.

2 Unit - ESG Frameworks: ESG generally means a broad set of environmental, social and corporate governance considerations that may impact a company’s ability to execute its business strategy and create value over the long term (Nasdaq, 2019). The emergence of ESG as significant performance index marks the increasing importance of reporting on non-financial matters in a transparent and efficient way. ESG provides a conceptual framework of the Environmental, Social and Governance approach that can be applied to every phase of a project, from planning to construction and building management. The lesson’s goal is to provide an understanding of the principles, strategies, and metrics of the ESG approach and to highlight the links that may be drawn from ESG to UNSDGs or to the EU Taxonomy requirements. Particular attention will be paid to the Social and Governance pillars, currently less tested and consolidated in practice with respect to environmental issues, to reflect on their importance and investigate their potential.
ESG02 - Design for Carbonization and Circular Design (2 Units - 6 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

6 November 2023

1 Unit - Design for Decarbonisation – operational carbon: Buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and climate neutral design is a requirement to meet global and national climate goals. The lesson provides explanations of the concepts, definitions, and targets around decarbonisation. Carbon emissions related to buildings are split into the embodied carbon and operational carbon components. This session focuses on the operational carbon and energy consumption aspects, outlining the main strategies for achieving Net Zero Carbon design at building and urban scale and looking at their implications, both during the design phase and in operation

2 Unit - Circular Design: Circularity is one of the key enablers for the decarbonisation of the built environment, helping to reduce embodied carbon emissions in constructions’ whole life cycle. This session is intended to showcase circular design approaches and principles for building elements and interiors and their practical application to Arup projects through an overview of the Circular Buildings Toolkit (CBT), developed by Arup and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).
ESG03 - Social Value, Equity Design & Climate Change Adaptation for Building (2 Units - 6 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

13 November 2023

1 Unit - Social Value & Equity by Design: More professionals in the built environment industry are starting to recognise the importance of social value and equity in relation to place and are starting to take their responsibilities towards the local communities they work in far more seriously. As a result, ESG considerations are becoming a priority in the industry, using them as guidelines that help companies manage their Environmental, Social and Governance Commitments, and measure their performance. Frameworks such BREEAM, WELL and LEED are increasingly used to assess the performance of architecture and design projects, but while the Environmental pillar is well-researched and can count on a number of qualitative and quantitative indicators of performance, the social pillar is still hard to apply and assess in built environment projects, and its importance is often overlooked. The lesson’s goal is to provide an understanding of how to mainstream social value & equity principles, methods and metrics in urban design and masterplanning projects, to create social and environmental outcomes that benefit the society and the planet.

2 Unit - Climate Change Adaptation for Building, Infrastructures and Masterplans. Review of practices and regulations for the industry: Buildings, infrastructure and cities are increasingly exposed to events for which they have not been designed for. Between 2000 and 2019 only more than 7000 major disaster events were recorded claiming 1.23 million lives, affecting 4.2 billion people and ~US$2.97 trillion in global economic losses – displacing 25 million people in 140 countries. Current climate change scenarios suggest that temperatures may increase beyond 1.5°C. Implications are significant: Flooding & sea level rise costs may rise to €145 billion for 2050s and up to €650 billion by 2080s Even in moderate warming scenarios, in the coming decades more than 50 percent of the global population will be exposed to climate hazards such as heat stress, drought, riverine and coastal flooding. In addition, national and supranational actors, such as the EU are starting to regulate resilience and climate adaptation, e.g. the EU Taxonomy. The observed and expected impact of climate change and the regulatory process require that professionals of the built environment learn how to integrate climate change considerations in their project life-cycle. The objective of this module is to review practices at Masterplanning, Buildings and Infrastructure scale and challenge students to develop their own resilient design.
ESG04 - Strategic Planning & ESG Complexity (2 Units - 6 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

20 November 2023

1 Unit - Strategic planning: The challenge we are facing at present time is the transition from sustainability towards a restorative and regenerative future (living systems design). City planning and design is an essential discipline in achieving this goal as, instead of designing things, we design places which are complex systems in a constant state of motion: cities are constantly living, changing, growing and evolving. This session is intended to showcase a set of approaches for strategic planning - from research to foresight tools - and to focus on one or two implementations in real case studied, including a workshop exercise to experiment with 2050 Four divergent futures Arup tool.

2 Unit - Dealing with ESG complexity with data: ESG principles, frameworks and the subsequent reporting are based on an underlying set of information and data that support the assessment, both at asset or portfolio level. In the previous modules, several topics that contribute to an understanding of ESG complexity have been introduced: decarbonisation, circular design, climate change, social value and others. They all relate to different stages of the process, from design to construction and operations, or have an impact on different stakeholders, from developers to users and the communities. Therefore, an integrated and digitally driven approach is fundamental to capture the complexity and allow for an easy and accessible use and sharing of data.The objective of this module is to review current practices and data driven contributions that allow for the assessment within each area of expertise and discuss the relevance of a data driven process to embrace the complexity of current ESG practices

Module Leader

Paolo Cresci - Sustainable Development Leader Arup Italia

Paolo Cresci is an Associate Director at Arup. Based in Milan, he is the Italy Sustainable Development Leader and a member of the Arup Europe Region Climate and Sustainability Leadership. Over the last 20 years Paolo has developed a significant international experience leading multidisciplinary teams in the delivery of innovative and highly sustainable projects across city, masterplan and building scale. Design focused, he is passionate about supporting architects and designers through an integrated and creative approach that always fosters quality.

He is a lecturer in several universities and regularly participates at conferences promoting an integrated and science-based approach to sustainable development, climate change mitigation and adaptation and to support the transition to a regenerative economy based on circularity principles.

He has been the Curator of 2017 Domus Green “People and Nature in the age of Technology” and 2019 Domus EcoWorld “The UN Global Goals in practice”.

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