The construction industry plays a crucial role in climate change. But the lawlessness in the sector risks breaking the legs of the entire climate transition work.
Both governments and government agencies need to take greater responsibility for closing the blind spot on climate change.
Not many people know this, but the construction industry today accounts for a large percentage of a country’s climate emissions. It becomes extra strange when you realize that society’s climate change is in itself a gigantic construction project.
It is about everything from renovation and climate adaptation of existing homes to necessary infrastructure investments. Battery factories will be built and new power lines will be laid.
There will be jobs galore. But the question is who will get them and whether these companies will take their own climate responsibility? Or if they will deceive both customers and taxpayers and then laugh all the way to the bank?
Because of a big obstacle, an increasingly deregulated and liberalized labour market has benefited those who want to take shortcuts. Few other industries are equally plagued by work-related crime and unhealthy competition.
In just one decade, crime has become both more widespread and more internationally organized. Political naivety and lack of internal control among large companies and customers have led to an unsustainable situation.
The lowest price and undercutting competition have had to take precedence over both the conditions for the workers and the climate work.
It is cheaper to drive with old machines and old routines in the short term. And we have even seen horrible examples of pure fraudsters who pretended to recycle leftover material, but instead drove everything straight to the dump.
Quick money for those who lack scruples. Terrible consequences for all of us and our children.
To put it bluntly: Order and order in the labour market are prerequisites for a green transition.
If the construction industry and society are to cope with climate change, the industry must be cleaned up. Cheating and purely criminal companies will never take their climate responsibility and a deregulated industry where the lowest price is always allowed to rule will never be able to become “green”.
This is the blind spot in climate policy and something that a government has to make legislative changes, such as:
- Forces customers to set more demanding climate and sustainability requirements in procurements. More powerful environmental regulations benefit serious companies and disadvantage the unscrupulous companies that only want to make quick money.
- Restricts the number of subcontractors, starting with contracts with the state and municipalities. Control and conditions disappear quickly in long chains of subcontractors, it must be regulated to ensure that laws and regulations are followed.
- Introduces requirements for contracting authorities and municipalities to control their subcontractors themselves. Our tax money should not end up in the pockets of criminals!
Climate change requires more than subsidies for electric cars and solar cells. Entire industries must change and this must be done in an environmentally, socially and economically responsible way. Only then can we get the whole society on the journey.
Then carrots are needed to encourage, but also clear regulations to curb abuse and cheating.