BWI brings workers’ voices to UNFCCC

BWI, in collaboration with C40, participated in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow, Scotland by bringing the voices of workers and trade unions into the discussions on a “just transition” to a clean and green construction industry.

Through a video which was shown during a UNFCCC session titled “Built Environment: cities, industry and finance - cross-sectoral Highlight of clean construction actions,” BWI trade union affiliates from India, Ukraine, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Italy, Brazil, Ghana, Turkey, Egypt, and Finland took turns in calling for a “just transition” to a clean construction industry that is fully committed to decent jobs and occupational health and safety. 

The event’s panel was moderated by Mark Watts from C40. Panelists Dan Lert Deputy Mayor of Paris, Dr. Heike Henn of BMZ and Mario Lara Lederman from Landlease responded to the BWI trade unionists’ testimonies by discussing how a worker-responsive transition to a green future can be achieved. 

Watts said that the world is faced with an unprecedented opportunity. “With USD 12 trillion already spent to overcome the pandemic and its negative impact on the global economy, this huge public investment could be used quite literally to build back better and deliver a green and just recovery,” he remarked.

Speaking for France’s experience, Lert said that ecological transition in Paris has to be socially fair and seen as an opportunity to create jobs for local communities. “We take into consideration both the adaptivity of our buildings for future causes and a safe environment for our construction workers.”

For his part, Lederman said that achieving needed ecological targets necessitates bringing the business sector, workers, supply chains and other stakeholders together. “We are working closely with our supply chain to decarbonise the materials we use.  Ultimately, we won’t be able to transition to a net zero economy or net zero buildings without our workers and supply chains.”

Henn agreed. She asserted that all initiatives towards greening the construction sector and achieving the Paris Agreement have to go hand in hand with achieving the sustainable development goals. “There is no separation between our green agenda and the workers’ rights agenda,” she said.