22 Mar 2021


Over 41 leading companies have joined forces with 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) launched today with the aim to drive reductions in embodied (upfront) carbon across the building supply chain. 

This will mean working collaboratively to create demand for products like greener steel, concrete, cement and aluminium, alternative products like mass timber, and reused and reformed waste materials that can be used to decarbonise Australia’s construction industry, and exported to the world.

MECLA was founded by the NSW Department of Industry, Environment and Planning, WWF-Australia and Presync, along with industry partners including LendLease, Aurecon, Transurban, Multiplex, Boral, BlueScope, Built, Investa, Mirvac, Adbri, Holcim, Energy Estate, Investa, Built, Hyne Timber, Arup, Laing O’Rouke, NABERS, and a range of technical service providers, procurement specialists, university research schools, 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, CEO of 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 reaching our Net-Zero carbon goals. The enthusiasm right across the supply chain has been overwhelming and we believe this initiative can help Australia seize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a renewable export powerhouse.” 

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. 

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

  • Demonstrating the demand and activating the supply of construction materials which meet the needs of net-zero carbon goals.
  • Defining a best practice embodied carbon evaluation framework to increase transparency and accountability.
  • 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.
  • Developing common language for design specifications, procurement guidelines and tendering criteria as standard practice for government agencies and companies.
  • Helping to manage industry’s climate transition risks, risks associated with adopting innovative materials and the required skills development.
  • Supporting materials such as steel, cement and concrete, and aluminium to reduce their carbon intensity.

Dale Connor, Lendlease’s Chief Executive Officer, Building said: “At a time when construction’s leading our economic rebuild, we have a fantastic opportunity and urgent obligation to decarbonise our industry. As a 1.5 degree aligned company, we’re absolutely committed to this journey, but understand partnership and collaboration is the only way to make the industry more sustainable and climate-friendly. As a founding member of the newly-created MECLA, we look forward to working with our peers, clients, suppliers and government to accelerate the critical change required for a sustainable future.”

Henry Byrne, Transurban’s Group Executive, Victoria and Strategy said: “Transurban strongly supports the decarbonisation of construction materials and, as a Founding Member, we look forward to helping MECLA achieve its mission for urgent and significant change in this area.”

Aurecon’s Managing Director, Built Environment, Tim Spies, said: “Reducing embodied carbon across the building supply chain is vital to a decarbonisation strategy and Aurecon is committed to helping industry and our clients transition to a net zero emissions future through our advisory and technical services and our involvement with MECLA,” Mr Spies said. 

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. 

Full MECLA Members list:

  • Adbri
  • Arup
  • Aurecon
  • Australia Institute of Architects
  • Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
  • Australian Procurement and Construction Council
  • BlueScope Steel
  • Boral
  • Built
  • BvW Global
  • City of Sydney
  • ClimateKIC
  • Coreo
  • Curvecrete
  • Energy Estate
  • Good Environmental Choice Australia
  • Green Building Council of Australia
  • Holcim
  • Hyne Timber
  • Inertia Engineering
  • Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia
  • Investa
  • Laing O’Rouke
  • Lendlease
  • Mirvac
  • Multiplex
  • NSW Government
  • Pangolin Associates
  • Point Advisory
  • Presync
  • Smart@University of NSW Sustainable Materials Research & Technology
  • Sun Cable
  • Supply Chain Sustainability School
  • The Footprint Company
  • Thinkstep-anz
  • Transurban
  • University of Sydney Waste Transformation Research Hub
  • Wagners
  • WWF
  • Xlam