Today the World Green Building Council and a coalition of over 60 organisations across the buildings and construction sector signed an open letter calling on the European Commission to deliver bold new circular economy policy.
The letter comes as the European Commission prepares to deliver its ‘Circular Economy Action Plan’, and following proposals, put forward on Wednesday, to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in the new European Climate Law. The letter highlights that this ambition can only be achieved if the full impacts of the construction and buildings sector are addressed by EU policy. It emphasises the need to set targets on ‘whole life’ carbon going beyond energy use, to ensure the ‘Level(s)’ framework for sustainable buildings plays a central role, and to align the EU’s sustainable finance work with this direction of travel.
Signatories to the letter include Green Building Councils representing over 4,500 diverse members across the construction and real estate sector as well as leading industry players and organisations such as RICS, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and companies including ASSA ABLOY, Ramboll, Signify and Skanska.
Echoing calls in WorldGBC’s groundbreaking report, ‘Bringing embodied carbon upfront – Coordinated action for the building and construction sector to tackle embodied carbon’, signatories call for the Circular Economy Action Plan to require ambitious reduction targets for whole life carbon of buildings – covering both operational and embodied carbon.
The letter urges the Commission to ensure that the EU’s Level(s) sustainable buildings framework plays a central role in policy, given this voluntary framework looks at the performance of buildings throughout their entire life cycle. Last year WorldGBC and other coalition partners published a collective vision for Level(s) that advocated for Level(s) to become the basis for a future ‘Sustainable Performance of Buildings Directive’ once this framework for life cycle thinking is fully developed. It further recognises that the move towards whole life carbon reductions and a life cycle approach needs to be linked up to the EU’s sustainable finance agenda, if built assets are to be truly ‘Paris-proof’.
“President Von Der Leyen has called the transition to climate neutrality Europe’s “man on the moon” moment. Fulfilling this mission requires radical collaboration across the building sector value chain. The breadth of organisations and companies endorsing this letter demonstrates the willingness of our sector to work with the Commission to implement policies that can help deliver a climate neutral Europe” said Audrey Nugent, Head of Advocacy at WorldGBC Europe.
Read the open letter and see the supporting organisations here.
Read WorldGBC’s Advocacy Manifesto here.
Read the Level(s) Collective Vision here.
Read WorldGBC’s position on the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy here.