My Sustainable Journey

My Sustainable Journey

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is most often defined as the way we can meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The definition of Sustainable Development came from the UN in 1987 through the Bruntland Commission

The 3 pillars of Sustainable Development are:
1. economic development
2. social inclusion, and
3. environmental protection

So to achieve true sustainability we need to balance these factors in equal harmony. Generally acknowledged in the business world is the term Triple Bottom Line relating to sustainability, which is used to measure performance in a wider perspective to cover the three P’s that represent this value system: Planet, People and Profit.

SCSI Climate & Biodiversity Emergency Declaration

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland are declaring a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency.

Why declare a Climate & Biodiversity Emergency?

The reason we are declaring a CLIMATE AND BIODIVERISTY EMERGENCY is because climate change is the greatest threat of our time and has far reaching implications for the real estate industry and all our futures. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.  We are not doing enough in our profession to address this, and we want to change this.

The Emergency Declaration

By declaring the emergency, we are stating that we are: 

  • Raising awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies, and the urgent need for mitigation and adaptation action amongst ourselves, our colleagues, employees, clients, peers, collaborators and supply chains. 
  • Advocating for faster change in our industry towards regenerative practices,  
  • Committing to sharing knowledge and research on an open-source basis, to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies. 
  • We are saying that we are not doing enough, and we want to change that. 

The SCSI invites you to join us in making this Declaration by publicly signing our ‘Surveyors Declare’ Declaration.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C released in 2018 by the IPCC demonstrated that 1.5°C is a critical threshold for many climate concerns. Weather extremes, such as heat waves and extreme precipitation occurrences, are predicted to rise with the increase in global temperature. The more recent 6th evaluation report released in 2022 by the IPCC stated that only the most extreme reductions in carbon emissions and disruptions in the pattern of how we consume resources from now will help prevent an environmental catastrophe as the world is expected to approach the 1.5°C level by the early years of the next decade.

Considering the amount of carbon, we are still globally emitting, the Climate Clock below collects real-time data and indicates how much time we have before the carbon limit runs out. It clearly shows that we need to get our acts aligned and work towards building a zero carbon future.

Surveyors Declare

As Chartered Surveyors, we are aware of how our business activities impact upon the environment, and we are committed to ensuring that these activities have the least possible detrimental effect on the environment. As members, we commit to following sustainable business practices in our day-to-day operations, and encouraging and supporting our clients and colleagues to instill these practices in their lives also.

The Surveyors Declare document is an important resource for Surveyors that have signed up in support of the Declaration which serves as a framework and a first step for Surveyors in tackling the climate change challenge within our practices and homes. 

Looking for practical ways to implement Surveyors Declare? Check out our Practical Guide

I will:

  • Strive to limit the use of fossil fuels in my practice
  • Act in accordance with the best principles for the mitigation of environmental harm and the enhancement of environmental quality for all
  • Strive to ensure that the uses of natural resources are fair and sustainable taking account of the needs of a diverse society
  • Use my skills and experience to serve the needs of the environment and society
  • Serve as an example to others for responsible environmental behaviour
  • be aware of, and aim to observe and support the United Nations Sustainable Development goals


I am committed to:

Surveying Activities:

  • Ensuring environmental practices are included in my assessment of suppliers and contractors and that their performance in this area forms part of the selection criteria utilised
  • Purchasing products and services that have the least known environmental impact, where this is feasible
  • Encouraging suppliers and contractors to implement sustainable environmental systems
  • Minimising the use of hazardous chemicals and solvents and instructing agents acting on my behalf to do the same
  • Using materials, fittings and furnishings from sustainable sources where feasible


  • Reducing my carbon footprint as much as possible
  • Optimising energy efficiency and conservation in all operations
  • Reducing the impact of transportation in my business activities


  • Actively promoting reduce, reuse and recycling in my office and/or workplace
  • Minimising waste generation and unnecessary resource usage during the stages of planning, design and operation of new and existing business activities


  • Optimising water efficiency and conservation in all operations
  • Mitigating risk of polluting water courses


  • Endeavour to  incorporate biodiversity  in both new build projects, infrastructure projects and in managing existing buildings.
  • Take measures to avoid  impact on ecosytems and were impacts cannot be avoided,  take measures to reduce the duration or extent of impact


Members Surveyors Declare Sign Up

Firm Support for the Declaration

Firms from across the construction, land and property sectors have given their support for Surveyors Declare. If your firm is interested in supporting Surveyors Declare or if you have questions about the declaration, please contact as at

Click here to view a list of members that have signed up as well as a list of firms that have given their support for this initiative.


Sustainability Working Group

Sustainability Working Group
The Sustainability Working Group within the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) is made up of a group of approximately 18 committee members across a number of disciplines. The Sustainability group works on behalf of the membership to provide support, advice and draw up policies to augment knowledge and awareness for our members on all matters relating to sustainability across each of the Societies’ professional groups.

Member Benefits
The Sustainability Working Group are also instrumental in driving other projects for the benefit of members.  These include the ongoing policy formation, which will help our industry adapt as we move towards a complete decarbonization of the Built Environment by 2050. In addition, the Working Group also organises CPDs, contributes articles to the Surveyors Journal and e-zine. to support education and develop awareness among our membership.

Find out more

If you are interested in finding out more about the Sustainability Group please contact us at

SCSI Sustainability Policy & Template for firms   

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland are aware of how our business activities impact upon the environment, and we are committed to ensuring these activities have the least possible detrimental effect on our environment.  

The SCSI has adopted its Sustainability Policy as a framework to progress our aim of striving to promote sustainability and follow sustainable business practices in our day-to-day operations, encouraging and supporting our members to instil these practices in their own business. 

We have also made this policy available to members firms as a template which can be used and adopted by members firms to incorporate sustainability practices into their day-to-day operations.  

Download SCSI Sustainability Policy

Download Sustainability Template



The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.

The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.

Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century

Extreme weather and rainfall events have increased, leading to:

  • Global temperature rise
  • Warming oceans
  • Shrinking ice sheets
  • Glacial retreats
  • Decreased snow cover
  • Sea level rise
  • Extreme weather events
  • Ocean acidification

The EPA released a document relating to Climate Projections for Ireland in Dec 2020 and reported that Ireland’s climate is definitely changing, resulting in higher temperatures, changing precipitation patterns and increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme events, with these changes expected to continue and intensify into the future. They report that warming will be enhanced at the extremes (i.e. hot days and cold nights), with summer daytime and winter nighttime temperatures projected to increase by 1–2.4°C, and summer heatwave events are expected to occur more frequently, with the largest increases in the south. Precipitation is expected to become more variable, with substantial projected increases in the occurrence of both dry periods and heavy precipitation events.

Irish companies are beginning to link their sustainability efforts to commercial value such as:

  • Reducing costs from resource efficiency
  • Reduced operational costs from enhanced design
  • Increased asset value
  • Increased business opportunity
  • Finally, there is increasing solid evidence linking sustainable buildings to improved health and wellbeing of occupants.

The future holds great positive potential: on one hand, we have limited natural resources, for example, minerals, water, and fossil fuels. But on the other hand we have rapidly renewable materials – such as timber or bamboo – reusable waste, and virtually infinite renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind, hydro power etc. We need to become smarter in using our resources more efficiently and increasing and integrating the use of renewable alternatives as quickly as possible.

2030 Climate Target Plan:

The European Commission in Sept 2020 presented its plan to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This level of ambition for the next decade will put the EU on a balanced pathway to reaching climate neutrality by 2050. The new target is based on a comprehensive Impact Assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts. The Assessment demonstrates that this course of action is realistic and feasible. This raised ambition also underlines the EU’s continued global leadership, ahead of the next UN climate conference (COP26).

The Commission in Sept 2020:

  • tabled an amendment to the proposed European Climate Law, to include the 2030 emissions reduction target of at least 55% as a stepping stone to the 2050 climate neutrality goal;
  • invited the Parliament and Council to confirm this 55% target as the EU’s new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, and to submit this to the UNFCCC by the end of this year;

set out the legislative proposals to be presented by June 2021 to implement the new target, including: revising and expanding the EU Emissions Trading System; adapting the Effort Sharing Regulation and the framework for land use emissions; reinforcing energy efficiency and renewable energy policies; and strengthening CO2 standards for road vehicles

Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill is an ambitious piece of legislation. It commits us, in law, to move to a climate resilient and climate neutral economy by 2050.

The Programme for Government commits to a 7% average yearly reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. This Bill will drive implementation of a suite of policies to help us achieve this goal.

The Bill brings in a system of 5-year economy-wide carbon budgets, which will outline a ceiling for total greenhouse gas emissions. These will be prepared by the Climate Change Advisory Council and presented to Government to consider and approve, with input from the Oireachtas.

The Bill includes the following key elements:

  • Establishes a 2050 emissions target
  • Introduces system of successive 5-year, economy-wide carbon budgets starting in 2021
  • Strengthens the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council in proposing carbon budgets
  • Introduces a requirement to annually revise the Climate Action Plan and prepare a National Long Term Climate Action Strategy at least every decade
  • Introduces a requirement for all Local Authorities to prepare individual Climate Action Plans which will include both mitigation and adaptation measures
  • Gives a stronger oversight role for the Oireachtas through an Oireachtas Committee

This legislation sends a clear signal to businesses, to farmers and to our communities that climate action is good for the economy. It will allow us to reach our climate targets while creating jobs and sustainable growth in new sectors.


Climate Action Plan 

In 2019, Government published its Climate Action Plan in response to climate change and the commitments entered into as a member of the European Union.

Within this plan, there are many ambitious targets to meet our obligations as members. The main targets of the plan to be implemented by 2030 are:

70% of all electricity generated to be from renewable sources • 500,000 existing homes to be upgraded to B2 Building Energy rating (BER) • Homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell back to the grid under scheme for micro-generation • 600,000 heat pumps installed (400,000 in existing buildings)

Programme for government – Our Shared Future’

In Government’s ‘programme for government – Our Shared Future’, this document is a commitment from the proposed coalition Government to publish a National Retrofitting Plan as part of the National Economic Plan which will set out their commitment to:

Developing a new area-based and one-stop shop approach to retrofitting, to upgrade at least 500,000 homes to a B2 by 2030 (as per the CAP).

Grouping homes together to lower cost, starting in the Midlands area.

Leveraging smart finance (e.g. loan guarantee, European Investment Bank, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)).

Developing easy-payback mechanisms (i.e. through utility bills).

United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals


Ireland’s Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan 2018-2020 provides a whole-of-Government approach to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The plan sets out the Government’s ambitious response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commits Ireland to fully achieving all 17 of the Goals by 2030.  The Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment has responsibility for officially reporting on Ireland’s progress toward meeting the SDG targets and the CSO has a central role in the identification, management, and presentation of the data needed to meet the requirements of the SDG Indicators.

While Governments have primary responsibility for implementing the SDG’s, the Goals do not belong to Governments alone.  To achieve the SDG’s, Governments, businesses, communities and individuals will all have to work together.  The SDG’s therefore encompass all of civil society.  We believe that the SCSI have their part to play in this, as an important component of the Built Environment.  Many goals are wrapped up in what we do.

EU Renovation Wave:

EU Circular Economy Action Plan:

EU taxonomy for sustainable activities

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