SMaRT founding member of new MELCA alliance

The UNSW SMaRT Centre has joined over 30 leading organisations and companies and the NSW Government and WWF-Australia in a new coalition to decarbonise Australia’s building and construction industry.

The Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance (MECLA) was launched today with the aim to drive reductions in embodied (upfront) carbon across the building supply chain. 

This means working collaboratively to create demand for products like greener steel, concrete, cement and aluminium, and alternative products including mass timber, and reused and reformed waste materials that we can use to decarbonise Australia’s construction industry, with the potential to export our innovations to the world.

WWF logo

MECLA was founded by WWF-Australia and the NSW Department of Industry, Environment and Planning, Presync, along with many industry partners including LendLease, Transurban, Boral, BlueScope, AdBri, Energy Estate, Investa, Built, Hyne Timber, and a range of engineers, architects, and building firms. 

“Economies of the world are transitioning towards a low-carbon future and Australia cannot afford to be left behind,” said Dermot O’Gorman, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Australia. 

“We need to decarbonise high-emitting industries and drive industry innovation in our products, services, buildings and infrastructure to take advantage of the economic and social benefits of this transition. MECLA brings together key industry partners and governments to achieve outcomes that will help pave the way to achieving our Net Zero carbon goals. The enthusiasm for this initiative right across the supply chain has been overwhelming and we’re excited about the Alliance’s potential.”

Reflecting the complexity of the construction ecosystem, MECLA includes Working Groups that cover both demand-side and supply-side of the industry, all working to align industry with the Paris Agreement targets and within the principles of Circular Economy. SMaRT Director Professor Veena Sahajwalla is a member of a number of these working groups.

MELCA founders image

The Working Groups will develop tangible and actionable measures for the industry to act on. These include:

a. Demonstrating the demand and activating the supply of construction materials which meet the needs of net zero carbon goals.

b. Defining a best practice embodied carbon evaluation framework to increase transparency and accountability in decision making.

c. Knowledge sharing through best practice education, case studies, myth-busting, demonstrations, and supporting innovation in materials and processes as part of a pre-competitive approach.

d. Developing common language for design specifications, procurement guidelines and tendering criteria as standard practice for government agencies and companies. 

e. Helping to manage industry’s climate transition risks, risks associated with adopting innovative materials and the required skills development.

f.  Supporting materials such as steel, cement and concrete, and aluminium to reduce their carbon intensity.

The Alliance has clear governance and anti-competition protocols that encourage all partners to work collaboratively and develop outputs that achieve collective goals of the broader industry. 

MECLA is part of WWF-Australia’s Renewables Nation campaign, which advocates for Australia to seize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a renewables export powerhouse.

By doing so, Australia can boost its economy, create tens of thousands of new clean energy jobs, and safeguard its position as a desirable, responsible trading partner in the global market.