Ask the Expert: Multiplex Construction Canada

Winner of the CAGBC Award for Green Building Pioneer, 2022

CAGBC Staff on September 28, 2022

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The CAGBC Green Building Pioneer Award honours innovative organizations that drive the introduction of cutting-edge technology, products, capacity building, policy, design, or operations into the green building sector. The 2022 award went to Multiplex Construction Canada Ltd., an organization that has instigated change and remained at the forefront of sustainable construction in Canada. This interview with Anya Barkan, Sustainability Manager provides a glimpse at Multiplex’s sustainability-driven corporate model.

Tell us about the various sustainability practices you have integrated across your divisions and the impact these practices have made.

Multiplex has integrated sustainability practices in all aspects of the business – from bid pursuits and estimating, to procurement and construction. We have set ambitious goals, including a Science-Based Target and the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Commitment, that guide our efforts in decarbonization. Through our ‘Model First’ approach, we are using Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology and the EC3 tool (created by Building Transparency) to forecast the embodied carbon footprint and reduction potential for our projects. We use this information to inspire conversations with our clients on carbon reduction opportunities and integrate carbon data into our building practices. On the operations side, we have developed dashboards on all our projects tracking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and our progress towards our goals. We host industry events, invite experts to host lunch and learn sessions at our offices and sites, host an annual sustainability week and deliver regular sustainability training to continuously learn from each other and spark collaboration. Furthermore, social sustainability is at the core of our ESG strategy and targets, which are focused on people, communities, and partnerships. The strategy is integrated in our employee programs, community engagement initiatives and in tackling industry issues, such as modern slavery. We integrate sustainability practices into everything we do, inspiring change and outside-the-box thinking to work together in finding solutions to climate change.

CAGBC Award for Green Building Pioneer goes to Multipex
The Green Building Pioneer Award, presented by Sarah Bertollo, Enwave Energy goes to Multiplex Construction Canada Ltd. and accepted by Anya Barkan.
Can you detail the process of setting a GHG reduction target in line with the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi)? What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

We are the first construction company in Canada to have its science-based GHG emissions reduction target approved by the globally recognized Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). We leveraged experience from our internal global network of colleagues and external experts in the industry to learn best practices and streamline the process. A key first step in the process was to build capacity and increase awareness with our staff y. All project teams had to be involved to source and compile the large amount of data that is required to set the baseline for our SBT. Through training sessions and meetings with project teams, we were able to increase the understanding of the importance and necessity of this work and put together the tools required to collect the data. Next was extending the scope to our entire supply chain – Scope 3. We continuously work with our suppliers and partners to build awareness and integrate tools to facilitate accurate and complete data collection. It continues to be a learning process as we progress on our SBT journey. We are committed to continuing to promote cultural and behavioural change within and beyond our business, and to working shoulder-to-shoulder with all our project and industry partners to achieve the ambitious sustainability targets we have set for ourselves.

What do you see are the key issues / opportunities facing the construction industry with regards to sustainability?

The primary opportunity and key to success is collaboration. No single organization can tackle the climate crisis alone. There is an incredible opportunity to join forces, share knowledge and work collectively to change the trajectory of our industry . This applies to all stakeholders of the project – trades, consultants, developers, and the community. Changing behaviour and mindset is a challenge, but early engagement of all stakeholders on a project and setting ambitious goals from the beginning phases can yield significant and impactful results. The amount of work that is required to get us to a net zero economy is immense and we need to work together to get there.

Multiplex was recently named Green Building Pioneer as part of the 2022 CAGBC Awards for Leadership. What does it mean to your organization to be recognized in this way?

We are humbled and honoured to be recognized as a Green Building Pioneer by CAGBC. It gives us confidence that we are moving in the right direction and making the right difference in the neighbourhoods in which we build. We strive to lead the way in our industry and inspire our peers to set ambitious goals and targets in efforts to decarbonize our industry. We hope with this recognition by CAGBC – Canada’s champion in green buildings – we can further inspire collective action towards a net zero economy.

Multiplex works with a variety of organizations in adjacent industries to get projects over the finish line. What opportunities exist for further collaboration with other industries to accelerate decarbonization targets?

Collaboration is a key opportunity for making impactful change in this industry. There is plenty of room for collaboration with adjacent industries. For example, take a look at a life cycle of a building, it touches on so many industries – Mining, Energy, Forestry, Manufacturing, Transportation, to name a few. The supply chain is a huge opportunity for not only the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry but all industries. When we start to have the conversations at all levels of the supply chain and life cycle of the work we do, we can make instrumental changes towards carbon neutrality and sustainable processes. With the focus on Scope 3 GHG and the weight of its impact, we must collaborate with all industries to achieve net zero on a global scale.

The Green Building Pioneer 2022 Award was sponsored by:

enwave logo