CLF Newsletter - February 2021

February 2021

Leadership to Enable Communities

By Anthony Hickling, Managing Director, Carbon Leadership Forum

2021 will be a better year for climate leadership.

From corporate sustainability reports, to local climate action plans, to state and federal legislation, we see embodied carbon becoming an increasingly common area of focus. I congratulate you for this good news! It reflects the collective leadership of advocates who identified a significant climate change blindspot and sought to give it the attention it deserves.

As we work to scale these solutions, I’ve started thinking hard about what leadership means for our organization. We call ourselves the Carbon Leadership Forum. That’s a strong assertion! If the term is crucial enough to be a part of our name, how does it feed into our work?

The essence of leadership is not the ability to issue orders or exert power over the behavior of others. True leadership is about enabling communities, teams, and organizations to create positive change. Leadership implies service to others – listening, learning, and noticing opportunities for impact. Most importantly, true leadership is collective leadership, requiring the conscious participation of everyone, powered by the ideas, energy, and talents of all.

Collective leadership is crucial to eliminate carbon from building materials and construction. As the Carbon Leadership Forum, we are not the top-down authority on the topic. Rather, our role is to develop research, share resources and enable a network of other leaders to drive action on a massive scale.

And while “enabler” resonates strongly with my perception of our leadership identity, I recognize that there can be an implied power dynamic, that, if unaddressed, can lead to exclusive and inequitable systems. To address it we must proactively create space to listen and share power. We don’t have all the answers, and we don’t even know all the right questions to ask. As leaders we must actively compensate for our blindspots, not just for the sake of equity and justice but also because it makes us smarter decision makers.

I’m learning more and more that leadership is a process. I appreciate you joining us on this journey.

See you online,

CLF Resource Library

CLF Announces New Resource Library to Support Embodied Carbon Action
The new CLF Resource Library is a significant upgrade of tools and information available to assist the building industry in systematically reducing the carbon footprint of buildings and materials. You have a critical role to play in enriching and leveraging the Library!

An array of resources to support the crafting of policies to radically reduce embodied carbon.

Advancing scientific analysis, quantification, and methodology to enable action.

Helping to understand the full complexity of issues and develop practical solutions grounded in solid science.

Frameworks, standards, tools, and methodologies to drive the calculation and reduction of embodied carbon.

Short list of recommended books key to understanding and reducing embodied carbon in built environments.

Share your case studies with the CLF network, adding to case studies by CLF staff.

Submit your webinar or other video candidate for potential promotion and inclusion in a Playlist.

Explore the Resource Library

By The Numbers

Procurement policies leverage the large purchasing power of governments, which typically makes up 12-30% of a country’s gross domestic product (UNEP).

Procurement policies are widely recognized as a key strategic lever for driving innovation and increasing the sustainability of the private and public sectors across the globe (UNEP; KGM & Associates and Global Efficiency Intelligence). This figure (from the CLF Policy Primer “What is a Buy Clean Policy” shows how much of the embodied carbon of construction in the United States between 2008-2018 was estimated to be attributed to public projects. It shows how much embodied carbon could be reduced in the public sector with the help of embodied carbon policy.

Member Impact

CLF Sofia Segebre Marta Schantz CLF

Amanda KaminskyCLF Board Member; Founder + Principal, Building Product Ecosystems LLC
Sofia SegebreCLF staff and undergrad student; BLA Landscape Architecture, UW
Marta SchantzCLF Board Member; Senior VP, Urban Land Institute (ULI) Greenprint Center
Courtney BlodgettCLF Board Member; Market Strategy Director, McKinstry

Find out what steps our members are doing to address embodied carbon

Learn More

Introducing CLF Staff: Steph Carlisle


by Stephanie Carlisle, Research Scientist, Carbon Leadership Forum

The story of embodied carbon is the story of the entire built environment: of land management and extraction, of global markets and labor, culture and technology, craft and innovation. Increasingly, the AEC community has begun to reckon with the extent to which we are driving our global climate crisis. The real question is, how will this knowledge change the way we design and build? What tools and structural changes must we make to decarbonize the building sector? What levers can we pull that will support radical, systemic change?

Read the Complete Essay