The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Sustainability in the 21st Century

17 June 2021

As part of our online celebrations to mark our new name as The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction (BSSC), we delivered a roundtable discussion covering both industry and academia, to discuss what sustainability means for the industry and some of its greatest challenges.


On Wednesday 16 June BSSC delivered ‘Sustainability in the 21st Century’ to mark the School’s new name change. The event was chaired by School Director, Professor D’Maris Coffman and included speakers Sue Kershaw, Noble Francis and BSSC Alumnus Maya Naasani. Our speakers discussed how we need to work together to utilise a diverse body of knowledge in order to adapt to the changing world, from climate change to ever evolving supply and demand.

The construction industry has seen massive changes, including a revolution in digital construction technologies, an increasing awareness of the urgent need for sustainable construction practices and materials, and a renewed focus on built assets over the whole-life cycle.

The cross sector panel discussion was a time to reflect and debate on what sustainability in the 21st century means to the industry, and whether we should in fact think of the environment as an asset. The changes in legislation and a demand for net gain on biodiversity and habitats allows industry to think of the environment as more tangible, allowing for a more nature positive future for the UK.

Thank you to everyone who took part. If you were not able to attend, a recording of the event is available to watch here.

About our speakers

Professor D'Maris Coffman

Professor Coffman is the Director of the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction and Professor in Economics and Finance of the Built Environment at the Bartlett. She is Editor-in-Chief and Coordinating Editor of Elsevier's Structural Change and Economic Dynamics and on the honorary editorial boards of The Journal of Cleaner Production, Economia Politica, and the Chinese Journal of Population, Resources and Environment. She is a Fellow of Goodenough College, where several of the school's doctoral students are residential members. In 2020-21, she is a Visiting Professor at the University of Milan (Statale). She is also a Guest Professor at Beijing Institute of Technology and a Visiting Professor of Renmin University of China. At BSSC, Professor Coffman teaches infrastructure economics and finance, environmental economics, macroeconomics, some behavioural economics and finance, and economic and financial history to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and she supervises MPhils and PhDs in these and related areas.

Sue Kershaw

Managing Director, Transportation at Costain

Sue has a strong track record for driving complex, high profile transport and construction programmes to delivery. She is currently president of the Association for Project Management, a member of the Mayor of London’s Infrastructure Advisory Panel and a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, UCL.

Before joining Costain, Sue was managing director, Infrastructure Advisory Group at KPMG. Prior to that she was UK infrastructure head of programme management for KPMG Major Projects Advisory. Previous positions include director of rail, Europe at CH2M and deputy director of transport for the Olympic Delivery Authority. Sue is a civil engineer and started her career with Taylor Woodrow.

Noble Francis

Economics Director, Construction Products Association

Noble oversees one of the most respected teams of economists in the construction industry, producing the quarterly Construction Forecasts, Construction Trade Surveys and bespoke research. With a Masters Degree and PhD in applied economics, Noble has over 15 years of experience producing economic forecasts. He and his team’s work are regularly featured in the Financial Times and other national newspapers, construction trade press, television and radio.

In 2018 Noble was also appointed as an Honorary Professor of Construction Economics at The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, UCL.

Maya Naasani

BSSC Alumnus and Cost Assurance South East Regional Co-Lead, Turner and Townsend

Maya has over 12 years of experience and passion for the infrastructure industry and has been providing contract and commercial risk services to a broad range of mega infrastructure projects in the UK and the Middle East.

She co-leads Turner & Townsend's Cost Assurance offering in the South East Region, where she utilises multidisciplinary skills to help her clients mitigate their risks and improve the contract compliance of their supply chain. She combines a data-driven approach, evidence, and industry trends to reveal commercial insights.

What motivates her in Cost Assurance is the opportunity to help shape a better construction industry in everything we do, and the difference that we make, not only to her clients but also to the taxpayer. 

Watch online

A recording of the lecture is available to watch online.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwMi7a7_1aE