Charter on Sustainable Design & Construction
In co-operation with the Commission of the European Union, and the International Council for Building Research, Studies and Documentation ( CIB ) ;
Recognizing the integral and interdependent nature of the natural and built environments on this Earth, our home ;
Re-affirming the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development ( Agenda 21 ) , adopted at Rio de Janeiro on 14th. June 1992,
and striving to respond to it on matters directly concerning the design and construction of a sustainable built environment, capable of providing for responsible and environment-conscious human, social, cultural and economic progress ;
Mindful of the recent inclusions and amendments to the European Union ( E.U.) treaties and certain other acts (see relevant extracts from the Amsterdam Treaty in Appendix I to this document) ;
Working towards the achievement of equality of opportunity for every person in the European Union, which in turn must lead to full social inclusion (see Guideline Framework in Appendix II to this document) ;
Understanding the importance of harmonizing language, concepts and terminology, in order to communicate more effectively with one another (see Vocabulary in Appendix III to this document) ;
Confirming that direct and meaningful consultation with people, partnership between all sectors of society, consensus, transparency and openness are essential elements in 'social wellbeing' ;
Proclaiming that Sustainable Design, Construction / De-Construction and Maintenance is the necessary, suitable and practicable response, in built form, to Sustainable Energy-efficient Environment-friendly Development ( SEED ) ;
the following principles should be actively considered by the Institutions of the European Union and relevant authorities in each Member State, implemented, and monitored by means of benchmarking and the application of appropriate sustainability performance indicators ........
Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
Movement towards a 'person-centred' and 'socially inclusive' approach in the planning / design / construction of a built environment, i.e. placing real people, their needs and responsible desires at the centre of creative endeavours, should be encouraged and fostered by every key sector in society.
The method of work in the various processes of planning / design / construction should be widely multi-disciplinary. An active dialogue between practitioners, researchers and end-users, based on meaningful consultation, partnership, and consensus should become the standard.
Member States of the European Union have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources, pursuant to shared E.U. energy, environment and sustainable development policy goals - and the obligation to ensure that activities within their own jurisdiction, or control, do not cause damage to the environment of other Member States or countries / areas beyond the limits of E.U. jurisdiction.
A responsibility is attached to the right of development - it must be achieved in such a manner as to equitably meet the energy, environment and development requirements of present and future generations.
Sustainability of the 'built environment' can only be understood in relation to that of the 'natural environment' ; it involves, with precision and accuracy, ........
Life cycle management should be fully integrated into the processes of planning / design / construction of the built environment. Life cycle assessment / analysis / appraisal of product and service systems used or consumed should involve an evaluation of 'energy cycle' costs, 'environmental impact', and 'sustainability' performance.
In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection and energy efficiency should constitute integral parts of the development process, and should not be considered in isolation.
Environmental protection and energy efficiency requirements should be integrated into the definition of all European Union policies and activities, and implemented at all levels of the E.U. - most particularly at local level.
Member States of the European Union should co-operate in the tasks of protecting human rights, eradicating poverty, and removing social inequality, as indispensable and necessary prerequisite steps to achieving sustainable development, in order to decrease disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of all peoples in Europe.
The shared goal of Member States should be full social inclusion for every citizen of the E.U.
The special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed and those most environmentally vulnerable, should be given special priority. E.U. policies and activities in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development should address the interests and needs of all peoples in the world.
Member States of the European Union should co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect, heal and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, countries have common but differentiated obligations. Europe acknowledges the responsibility that it bears, in the international pursuit of sustainable development, as a result of the pressures its society has placed on the global environment over past centuries, and of the technologies and financial resources it now commands.
Understanding the fragility of the natural environment, and observing the vast expanse of existing development and waste already generated in the built environment, every alternative should be exhausted before intruding further into the natural environment.
All opportunities should be taken to heal previous injury to the natural environment ; initial damage repair by human intervention, sufficient only to promote natural self-healing, is a recommended course of action.
Adequate resources should be allocated by the European Union towards the proper disposal of nuclear wastes.
To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all peoples, Member States of the European Union should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and promote appropriate demographic policies.
With concern for the protection of indigenous architecture and methods of building, sustainable patterns of planning / design / construction of the built environment should be encouraged by means of ........
Member States of the European Union should co-operate to strengthen capacity-building for sustainable development by improving scientific understanding through the exchange of information, and by enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion and transfer of technologies, including new and innovative technologies.
Acknowledging our incomplete understanding of sustainable development, each Member State should establish a high level, cross-sectoral research group to examine the concept, and to suggest clear alternatives and make concise proposals with regard to implementation and monitoring strategies.
Each Member State should establish a 'Forum on Sustainable Construction' - to articulate the necessary, suitable and practicable response, in built form, to the concept of sustainable development. As our understanding of sustainable development evolves, so also should the nature of our response.
The smallest viable unit, with regard to concerted action in any of the above policy areas, is the 'region'.
Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all interested citizens, at the relevant level. At European Union and Member State levels, each individual should have access to complete relevant information concerning the environment which is held by public authorities and institutions, including information on hazardous materials and processes in their communities.
Each individual has the right to participate in decision-making. Member States should facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings at all levels of the E.U., including redress and remedy, should be provided.
The European Union should properly enact, operate, monitor and control effective energy, environment and sustainable development related legislation. Standards, codes of good practice, and management objectives, priorities and systems should reflect the regional context to which they apply. E.U. standards, codes and systems may be entirely inappropriate, and of unwarranted economic and social cost in other regions of the world, particularly developing countries.
The E.U. should properly enact, operate, monitor and control effective health, safety and welfare related legislation ; the base concerning human health and safety, environmental protection and consumer protection, should be set at a high level, and should take account of any new developments verified by scientific fact.
Member States of the European Union should co-operate to promote a supportive and open international economic system which must lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all countries, in order to better address the problems of environmental degradation. Trade policy measures for environmental purposes should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination, or a disguised restriction on international trade. Unilateral actions to deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the E.U. should be avoided. Environmental measures addressing transboundary or global environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on an international consensus.
The European Union should develop law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage. The E.U. should also co-operate in an expeditious and more determined manner to elaborate further international law regarding liability and compensation for harm to human health and the adverse effects of environmental damage caused by activities within its jurisdiction, or control, to countries / areas beyond the limits of its jurisdiction.
Member States of the European Union should co-operate effectively to prevent the relocation or transfer outside an individual Member State, or the importation into any part of the E.U., of an activity or substance which causes environmental degradation or is found to be harmful to human health.
The precautionary approach should be widely applied by the Member States of the European Union. Where there is a potential for harm to human health, or serious or irreversible damage to the environment, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing practicable prevention measures or countermeasures.
Member States of the European Union should promote the internationalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to public interest and health, and without excessive distortion to international trade and investment.
An environmental impact assessment should be undertaken for any proposed activity which is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment ; such an assessment should be subject to proper monitoring and control by competent authorities and institutions in the European Union.
All practicable means for an improvement in sustainability and energy efficiency, and the reduction and elimination of adverse effects on the environment, should be shown in an Environmental Impact Statement.
Member States of the European Union should immediately notify other Member States of any natural disasters or other emergencies which are likely to produce sudden harmful effects on human health, or on the environment of those States. A co-ordinated E.U. effort should be made to help States so afflicted.
E.U. resources should be directed towards effective management, monitoring, prevention and warning systems, particularly in the case of the fire safety of hazardous materials storage and processing.
Member States of the European Union should provide prior and timely notification, with complete relevant information, to other potentially affected Member States or to countries outside the E.U., on activities which may have a significant adverse transboundary environmental impact. Notifications should be at the earliest possible stage of an incident, and in good faith.
Women have a vital role in environmental management and development. Their full participation is essential to achieve sustainable development. The experience and wisdom of the elderly should be valued ; the abilities of every person should be cherished ; and the creativity, ideals and courage of youth should be mobilized to forge a European partnership in order to ensure a better future for all.
Local communities, and especially indigenous peoples and their communities, have a vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices. Member States of the European Union should recognize, duly support and celebrate their separate identities, cultures and interests, and enable their effective participation in the achievement of sustainable development.
The environment and natural resources of peoples under oppression, domination and occupation should be protected.
Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. Member States of the European Union should respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict, and co-operate in its further elaboration, as necessary.
The production, use, and supply of landmines or landmine technology should be prohibited by E.U. legislation. Appropriate resources should be allocated by the E.U. towards the clearance and proper disposal of existing landmines in the world.
The further spread of strategic / tactical nuclear weapons and weapons technology should be prevented under E.U. legislation. Appropriate resources should be devoted to the elimination and proper disposal of existing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction in the E.U.
Peace, responsible human / social development, environmental protection and energy efficiency are interdependent and indivisible.
Member States of the European Union should resolve their internal or external environmental or energy disputes peacefully, and by appropriate means, in accordance with E.U. law and the Charter of the United Nations.
Harmonized short, medium and long-term strategies in the policy areas of energy efficiency, environmental protection and sustainable development should be planned for implementation in the European Union over the following time frames :-
Such is the threat to quality of life and human progress caused by current environmental degradation, and such is the great timelag between implementation of corrective actions and resulting beneficial environmental impacts, that sustainability performance should be benchmarked at year 1990 in the Member States of the E.U.
Detailed performance indicators for all stages of design, construction / de-construction, maintenance and disposal should be used to target improvements in sustainability performance, verify target attainment, and continually re-adjust targets at appropriate intervals thereafter.
The European Union and its Institutions, relevant authorities of the Member States, and the peoples of Europe should co-operate, in a spirit of partnership and good faith, to fulfil the principles embodied in this Charter, and to further elaborate E.U. and international laws - in pursuit of Sustainable Energy-efficient Environment-friendly Development ( SEED ) .
Extracts from the E.U. Amsterdam Treaty
Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, signed at Amsterdam, 2nd. October 1997.
( 97 / C 340 / 01 )
1. Sustainable Development
Replaced 7th. Recital of the Preamble to the TEU ( Treaty on European Union )
New Article 3c in the TEC
3. Human Health
5. Personal Data Protection
of Equality of Opportunity & Social Inclusion
Direct and meaningful consultation with people, partnership between all sectors of society, consensus, transparency and openness are essential elements in 'social wellbeing' . Set out below are a number of areas which should be actively considered by the Institutions of the E.U. and relevant authorities in each Member State, implemented, and effectively monitored through the informed application of sustainability performance indicators ........
1. Empowering People for Participation in Society
2. Removing Physical Barriers to Participation
3. Opening Up Various Spheres of Society
4. Nurturing Opinion of the Public, Government
Administrators, and Design
Useful Terms & Definitions
Standards & Additional Reference
ISO 6707-1 : 1989
Building and civil engineering - Vocabulary. Part 1 : General terms.
ISO 6707-2 : 1993
Building and civil engineering - Vocabulary. Part 2 : Contract terms.
EN ISO 14040 : 1997
Environmental management - Life cycle assessment - Principles and framework.
E.U. Council Directive 85/337/EEC , of 2nd. June 1985, on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.
E.U. Council Directive 89/106/EEC , of 21st. December 1988, on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to construction products.
E.U. Council Directive 89/391/EEC , of 12th. June 1989, on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.
E.U. Council Directive 92/43/EEC , of 21st. May 1992, on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
E.U. Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1836/93 , of 29th. June 1993, allowing voluntary participation by companies in the industrial sector in a Community eco-management and audit scheme.
E.U. Council Directive 96/29/Euratom , of 13th. May 1996, laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionizing radiation.
Sustainable Development and the Future of Construction - CIB Publication 225
International Council for Building Research, Studies and Documentation ( CIB ) . Report. CIB Working Commission 82 : Futures Studies in Construction. The Netherlands. May, 1998.
UNFCCC - The Kyoto Protocol : 1997
Agreed at the 3rd. meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 3) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Kyoto, Japan. December, 1997. This Protocol sets legally binding targets for different regions of the 'developed world' to limit emissions of an aggregate of six more greenhouse gases : CO2 , CH4 , N2O, PFC's , HFC's , and SF6 .
Helsinki Declaration on Action for Environment and Health in Europe
World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe. 2nd. European Conference on Environment and Health. Helsinki, Finland. 20th.- 22nd. June, 1994.
International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites
International Council of Monuments and Sites ( ICOMOS ) . Venice, Italy. May, 1964.
International Charter for the Protection of Indigenous Architecture and Methods of Building
Conscious of the meaning of 'environmental impact' , it was agreed at a meeting of CIB/TG16 in Paris, on 11th. June 1997, that work should commence on this proposed Charter. Possible sponsorship of the document by the United Nations will be explored.
* International Energy Charter Treaty
Lisbon, Portugal ; December, 1994. Official Journal of the European Communities ( No. L 380 ) . Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Luxembourg. 1994.