Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building


Foster + Partners withdraws from architects’ climate action group

3 December 2020
Lord Foster (image: Dreamstime/markwaters)

Foster + Partners has withdrawn from Architects Declare, an architects’ climate action group.

The move came after Architects Declare called on members not committed to ending “business as usual” to leave the group.

The group said in a statement: “There remain signatory practices who appear determined to continue with business as usual. This is seriously undermining the effectiveness and credibility of Architects Declare, so we call on those practices to either join the wave of positive change or have the integrity to withdraw.”

While the statement was not aimed at any particular signatories to Architects Declare, Foster + Partners, which has worked on airport projects in Saudi Arabia and Beijing, took the decision to leave the group.

In a statement, Lord Foster said zero-carbon flight technology was already a reality and could be rolled out for passengers in two decades.

He said: “We believe that the hallmark of our age, and the future of our globally connected world, is mobility. Mobility of people, goods and information across boundaries. Only by internationally coordinated action can we confront the issues of global warming and, indeed, future pandemics. Aviation has a vital role to play in this process and will continue to do so. You cannot wind the clock backwards.”

In a statement following Foster + Partners’ departure, Architects Declare said: “We are disappointed that Foster + Partners has chosen to withdraw from the declarations and we would welcome a conversation with them on the points raised.

“We recognise that addressing the climate and biodiversity emergencies challenges current practice and business models for us all, not least around the expansion of aviation. We believe that what is needed is system change and that can only come about through collective action.

“Architects Declare is not a ‘protest’ movement but a collaborative support network to innovate positive transformation. Our movement is global. As of today there are 1037 UK practices committed to the declaration and over 6000 companies signed up in 26 countries under the broader banner of Construction Declares.

“The debate, and indeed the very definition of sustainability, has evolved considerably as the depth of the crisis we face has become ever clearer. Our declaration represents a positive vision of how our profession can respond to the planetary emergencies. This involves embracing new approaches and being realistic about what can be solved with technology in the next crucial decade.

“We’re looking forward to working with our signatories to raise the level of ambition in preparation for the critical COP26 climate negotiations next year.”



“We at F.P. wish to continue the lucrative work of international airport projects”

anthony gilbert, 3 December 2020

Well said, well done, Foster & Partners. Enough ill-informed virtue signalling.

Ray Crotty, 3 December 2020