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Built environment stakeholders recommend integration of whole life carbon criteria into European policy

Today, a coalition of over 30 organisations working in the buildings and construction sector have signed an open letter to the European Commission outlining their view on the transformative potential that the Level(s) framework can play in mainstreaming sustainable buildings and deliver on key European environmental, economic and social goals.

The signatories to this vision include Green Building Councils and trade organisations representing over 4,500 diverse members across the construction and real estate sector as well as leading industry players including organisations such as the Architects’ Council of Europe, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and companies including Skanska, Saint Gobain and Stora Enso.

This letter comes at a crucial time: in September the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) published a report ‘Bringing embodied carbon upfront – Coordinated action for the building and construction sector to tackle embodied carbon’ outlining the actions that government, industry and civil society must take to address the whole life carbon – both the operational and embodied carbon – from buildings.

The President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen has outlined an ambitious climate agenda for Europe. Delivering on this agenda requires bold leadership and the establishment of strong policies that enable the building and construction sector to tackle its whole life carbon impact.

Encouragingly, the European Commission already has the basis for a strong policy to tackle whole life carbon – Level(s).  Level(s) is a framework of common European indicators offering a transparent and harmonised reporting framework to measure and account for the sustainable performance of buildings across their whole lifecycle.

Echoing calls in WorldGBC Europe’s recently published advocacy manifesto, the letter calls on the European Commission to support the integration of Level(s) into a set of EU policies or a regulatory framework, a potential ‘Sustainable Performance of Buildings Directive’.  An appropriate first step could be the integration of the whole life carbon, circularity and health indicators into the existing regulatory framework by 2024.

The letter concludes that the stakeholder community is ready to work with the incoming Commission to fully leverage the potential of Level(s) in mainstreaming sustainability and provides a series of recommendations on initial areas of activity where the European Commission can support this work.

Click here to read ‘Level(s) – A Collective Vision‘.