natureplus Symposium: Carbon storage and capture for free?

Date: Tuesday 12th October 2021 Timings: 14:00 - 17:00

Bio-based materials – carbon capture and storage for free; Tools and Policy

In November 2021, the world will be witnessing the 26th COP-gathering, in Glasgow this time. Will the world’s leaders be able to accelerate their efforts, we so urgently need in order to achieve the climate targets we agreed upon in Paris, back in 2015?

The role of the building industry in driving climate actions can hardly be overestimated. In the year 2019, the building and construction sector cause 38 percent (9.95 Gt CO2) of global CO2 emissions and is thus moving even further away from the two-Celsius degree target. [1] In order to leverage the sector’s huge climate saving potential, we must not only focus on cutting the energy use in buildings but must reduce now also the enormous environmental impacts of building materials and their manufacturing.

There are material solutions and alternatives and political measurements ready for application. Bio-based construction materials for instance capture carbon from the atmosphere when growing, through the process of photosynthesis. This carbon is stored over the product’s life and locked up for the lifetime of the building. Therefore, materials like timber, bamboo, hemp and other even offer the potential to reduce CO2 emissions of the construction sector.

The amount of carbon stored in building materials is easy to calculate. However, current LCA methodology e.g. under the EN 15904+A2 decrees that the sequestered carbon number should be stated separately to the embodied carbon. This approach just assumes that this stored carbon is then lost back to the atmosphere at end of life when the material is either burnt or landfilled and thus neglects other as likely end of life scenarios like reuse and recycle. Having the impressive climate protection contribution of carbon sequestration in mind, the (temporary) storage of carbon is a positive and free method for capturing carbon from the atmosphere and so this benefit should be rewarded.

How are our tools evolving to recognise this climate benefit? What policies are in place or being considered throughout Europe to enable this benefit to be recognised and the use of more bio-based materials encouraged. Together with experts and policy makers throughout Europe, natureplus and its partners invite to this discussion.

[1] Un climate programme report: “2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction – Towards a zero-emissions, efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector”

Programme –

Times are shown in Central European Summer Time (CEST)

14.00 CEST – Keynote 
  • Prof Dr Dr h.c. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, German Climatologist, founder & former director of the PIK, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, (invited): Climate Change, Construction and Timber
14.30 CEST – Tools 
  • Andrew Norton, Sequestration and carbon capture and storage in bio-based materials. How does it work and how do we calculate it? What databases are available?
  • Elodie Mace, Artelia, Dynamic LCA in France; introducing time into LCA.
  • Austrian Speaker, tbc, CO2 Bonus for timber construction
15.30 CEST – Policy  
  • Matti Kuittinen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of the Environment, Finland and Professor of resource-efficient construction, Aalto University, Policy in Finland/ carbon footprint and carbon handprint/possible policy levers
  • Dutch Administration, tbc: – supporting bio-based materials with policy
  • Walloon Regional Administration, tbc – promoting & subsiding bio-based materials
16.30 CEST – Materials
  • Short pitches (Pecha Kucha) of 5 Min by natureplus manufacturers & members
  • Gutex, Bau Fritz, Gramitherm, tbc: nature based material solutions.
16.45 CEST – Discussion & Networking                
17.00 CEST – Close


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