As a leading voice in the architectural sector, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is uniquely positioned to drive change in the built environment. In the U.S., nearly 40% of greenhouse gases can be attributed to carbon produced by buildings during construction, embodied in concrete and steel, and created by everyday processes such as heating, cooling and lighting. Because of this, architects – and architectural practice – have the potential to make a major difference in the fight against climate change.
To build on previous climate action efforts and drive immediate and long-term efforts in the industry, AIA contracted Milepost to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) with input from AIA’s leaders, committees, members and other identified stakeholders.
The primary goal of the CAP was to clearly articulate AIA’s goals as they aim toward a future built environment that is resilient, adaptive and sustainable, as well as the specific strategies and activities that will be expected of AIA and its members to meet those goals with demonstrable outcomes.
AIA wanted to convey their view that climate action requires a two-pronged approach of mitigation and adaptation; meaning, there is both an imperative to reduce further damage as well as address the consequences that are already occurring. They also wanted to communicate their deep commitment to climate action – not as a trend, but as a core organizational value.
To inform the CAP, Milepost first collected high-level climate action priorities and outcomes from AIA’s Sustainability Leadership Group committees and those identified from a review of existing AIA documents and statements. We then led AIA’s Climate Action Plan Task Group through a series of workshops designed to capture a diversity of opinions, insights and expertise, in order to develop the goals, strategies and tactics around the most relevant and pressing opportunities to catalyze AIA members, chapters, clients and communities to mitigate and prepare for the effects of climate change.
Milepost combined the outputs from all activities into a Climate Action Plan that encapsulates the importance of taking action, opportunities to advance solutions, the new climate action goals, the top near-term priorities and the most powerful climate action opportunities architects can incorporate into their practice to create impact and contribute through design. Specific strategies and tactics were prioritized and are now being used as a roadmap to guide AIA’s internal efforts.
The final CAP has now been vetted widely by AIA leadership and stakeholders and has been made publicly available. Take a look.
- Stakeholder engagement
- Strategic planning
- Behavior change
- Messaging & storytelling