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WorldGBC report showcases breakthrough action to overcome challenges in advancing net zero buildings

26 July 2023

World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) releases the fifth edition of the Advancing Net Zero Status Report, packed with examples of industry collaboration and accelerated action to address emissions from the built environment.

LONDON – 09:00 BST, 26 July 2023 – Today, WorldGBC launches the fifth edition of its annual Advancing Net Zero (ANZ) Status Report that highlights action being taken now to decarbonise the built environment from businesses, governments and the global Green Building Council (GBC) network. 

Advancing Net Zero programme’s progress in 2022-23:

  • A global movement being driven by 35 GBCs, with initiatives designed to deliver greater awareness around the urgency and achievability of net zero buildings 
  • All five regional networks of WorldGBC are collaborating on Advancing Net Zero related projects to equip industry with resources to accelerate uptake
  • 22 national Whole Life Carbon (WLC) decarbonisation roadmaps published or in development by GBCs, with more being produced externally
  • The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (the “Commitment”) now has 175 signatories (including businesses, organisations, cities, states and regions), with 140 business signatories that are responsible for around $400 billion annual turnover, holding nearly 20,000 assets collectively across 75 countries, taking action at scale to decarbonise their portfolios and beyond
  • Built environment will be established as a critical climate sector at the UN Climate Summit COP28 in Dubai, UAE, with this WorldGBC report reflecting the thematic agenda “Multi-level Action, Urbanisation and Built Environment/Transport” on 6 December 2023 
  • Nine global programme partners are accelerating industry action and overcoming barriers to net zero through innovative business activities

Accelerating a breakthrough in decarbonising the built environment

The WorldGBC Advancing Net Zero global programme (the programme), in collaboration with our GBCs, partners and Commitment signatories, is accelerating action at a local, regional and global level towards achieving the breakthrough moment to decarbonise the built environment. In July, the UN High Level Climate Champions announced that a critical tipping point had been reached as 20% of key actors from the building and construction sector had joined the Race to Zero

At the UN Climate Summit COP27 held last year, WorldGBC (represented by 9 women), our network and the BuildingToCOP Coalition showcased actions and solutions from the sector, with 19 built environment initiatives launched. Looking ahead, COP28 in Dubai (30 November – 12 December 2023) will once again feature the built environment as a key thematic topic, further solidifying our efforts to establish buildings and the built environment as a critical climate solution.

GBCs continue to spearhead change in their local markets. The ANZ programme is now engaging more GBCs than ever with 35 GBCs participating, and the entire network involved in regional ANZ activities. All five WorldGBC regional networks now have Advancing Net Zero projects aimed at localising solutions and guidance for uptake at scale, including Net Zero Readiness Frameworks being developed in MENA and Americas.

Each GBC is also engaging their members and beyond to accelerate the transformation of the sector. Examples from across the network are featured in the Status Report, from the GBC Action Timeline to deep dives into the leadership action of Kenya Green Building Society, Chile Green Building Council and India Green Building Council. 

Commitment signatories continue to showcase industry leadership, and in the report we detail examples of signatories delivering decarbonisation action across their portfolios. The front cover of the report features AMP Capital’s Quay Quarter Tower, a repurposed building of a 1970s skyscraper in Sydney, Australia. Two-thirds of the old structure and 95% of the building’s core were salvaged, saving around 12,000 tonnes of carbon and an estimated US $102 million. Commitment signatories Arup and Multiplex were also involved in this ambitious project, with Dexus and Deloitte as anchor tenants. 

Advancing Net Zero’s global programme partners represent key industry players, actively working to decarbonise the sector. We profile in this report Cemex, Kingspan and Mott MacDonald on how they are engaging with their value chains both upstream and downstream to facilitate change and build resilience towards sustainable, resilient, equitable built environments for everyone, everywhere.

However, the industry still faces challenges in scaling up solutions, and ensuring all buildings are fit for purpose, while minimising their impact on our planet. We draw attention to the work, resources, and case studies that are helping to overcome challenges such as access to finance, electrification, offsets, existing buildings, embodied carbon, benchmarks and more.


Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council:

WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme is making critical steps towards total sector decarbonisation. This report once again highlights the game changing achievements from the leading work of our GBCs, programme partners and Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories, who are driving solutions and demonstrating that industry is ready for bolder ambition.

In the run up to the UN Climate Summit COP28 in Dubai, UAE, the world’s first Global Stocktake year should serve as a reminder for governments to reflect on how their actions and policies will help them achieve the goals they signed up to under the Paris Agreement.

We know that the solutions exist for a decarbonised future; and our network is ready to support industry and government to ensure that pledges, commitments and promises are turned into action that is delivering the change at scale that our world demands.


Call to Action

  • The world’s first Global Stocktake year should serve as a reminder that collective action is needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. In the lead up to the UN Climate Summit COP28, WorldGBC is calling on businesses, organisations, cities, states and regions to step up ambitions and take action. Join the Race to Zero and be a frontrunner in the race by signing WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.
  • The building and construction sector can work together to solve this crisis by committing collectively to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and collaborating to achieve optimum performance outcomes, building by building. Join your local Green Building Council (GBC), and engage with regional activities to find out how you can play your part. 
  • Governments can drive mainstream systemic change through enhanced whole life carbon policies and enabling the transition to renewable energy sources, inspired by industry demonstrating what is possible, today. Explore WorldGBC’s Global Policy Principles to find out more.
  • The question we should be asking is why are we choosing not to build more sustainably when the solutions already exist and are being implemented across the globe. 
  • Continuous engagement, challenging the status quo, and being aware of the impacts of decision making in building design, construction and performance, is key to moving forwards. 

Read the full report here or download a PDF version


ANZ Global Programme Partners: 

Rob Bernard, Chief Sustainability Officer, CBRE:

CBRE is scaling our decarbonisation services for clients by using technology and data to realise our 2040 goal of net zero emissions.Collaboration through regional GBCs and WorldGBC’s ANZ programme plays an important role in accelerating the decarbonisation of the sector.


Vicente Saiso, Vice-President Global Sustainability, Cemex

Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time, and the building materials industry must be at the forefront of decarbonising the built environment. Partnering with WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme we are further solidifying our commitment to being leaders on the path to net zero. 


Alaa Abusiam, CEO of Middle East and South Asia, Egis Group

We must prioritise the relationship between nature and humans in our decision-making process. Collaborating with WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme is an exciting opportunity to help fight climate change, adapt to the energy transition, and create resilient infrastructure for our projects. 


Hossain Towid, Director, Built Environment, Envision Digital

The urgent need to halve global carbon emissions by 2030 is clear, and it’s a reality that the built environment plays a critical role in meeting this goal. Programmes like Advancing Net Zero are key to achieving a sustainable future, encouraging collaboration to drive significant change. 


Bianca Wong, Global Head of Sustainability, Kingspan Group PLC

Decarbonising the built environment is critical if we are to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Global initiatives like WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme are vital to support and facilitate this change. The full built environment value chain must engage positively and decisively to accelerate impact. 


Madeleine Rawlins, Global Practice Leader – Climate Change, Mott MacDonald

Taking action this decade to decarbonise our built environment is critical if we are to realise the potential of both new builds and retrofits to support the delivery of our net zero targets. As a signatory to WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, we are actively driving down carbon emissions. 


Vanessa Miler-Fels, VP Global Environment, Schneider Electric

Buildings are critical to our transition to a lower-carbon future. They are where we live, rest, and work – and they are responsible for about 40% of global energy consumption. Solutions to decarbonise exist and can already be deployed at scale, to deliver the outcomes championed by WorldGBC’s ANZ programme. 


Mina Hasman, Sustainable Practice Director, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

Supporting WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme has amplified our impact by giving us a global platform to reach a broad audience, and to strengthen our collaborations with other industry leaders at the vanguard of climate action. 


Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition

We are proud to work with WorldGBC and forward-looking businesses that are cutting emissions throughout the whole lifecycle of the buildings they own and operate. This demonstrable progress is then, in turn, making it easier for policymakers to create the right regulatory frameworks to drive the net zero transition. 




Editor’s Notes

About the World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is the largest and most influential local-regional-global action network, leading the transformation to sustainable and decarbonised built environments for everyone, everywhere.

Together, with 75+ Green Building Councils and industry partners from all around the world, we are driving systemic changes to:

  • Address whole life carbon emissions of existing and new buildings
  • Enable resilient, healthy, equitable and inclusive places
  • Secure regenerative, resource efficient and waste-free built environments

We work with businesses, organisations and governments to deliver on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).

Find out more

About Advancing Net Zero

Advancing Net Zero is WorldGBC’s global climate action programme working towards total sector decarbonisation by 2050. Working with Green Building Councils across the network to develop tools, programmes and resources to promote the urgency and achievability of net zero carbon buildings and build industry capacity to deliver them. 

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment promotes and inspires leadership action on whole life carbon from business, governments and NGOs by 2030, stimulating the innovative approaches, solutions and business models necessary for the entire sector to reach 2050 goals.

Signatories to the Commitment are recognised as frontrunners in the Race to Zero.



Kirsty Barnes
Marketing and Communications Officer for Advancing Net Zero, World Green Building Council