Your lawyers since 1722

It’s time for construction to go full circle – WorldGBC launches groundbreaking Circular Built Environment Playbook to advance regenerative built environments

10 May 2023

World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its network of over 75 Green Building Councils have launched the Circular Built Environment Playbook — a critical guide for the building and construction sector around the world to accelerate the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency principles.

The principles of the circular economy can help us to achieve global climate targets: from minimising the extraction of materials and using more efficient designs, to optimising nature-based solutions and closing material loops at the end of a building’s lifecycle. This report presents strategies for the built environment to reduce its resource consumption and features market leadership and solutions from across WorldGBC’s global network.

The report is being launched at a webinar on 10 May 2023, 10:30AM and 4:00PM CET, delivered by our #CircularityAccelerator programme. Find out more and register here.

The use and waste of materials and products is trending in a dangerously unsustainable direction, with latest estimates showing that the world is only 7.2% circular, meaning over 90% of everything we make is discarded after use. Furthermore, in 2022, a year’s worth of biological resources were used in just seven months — that means currently we consume 75% more than the earth is able to replenish each year [1]. With our cities producing an estimated 70% of all global greenhouse gas emissions [2], and consuming almost half the resources extracted globally, our sector holds a significant portion of the responsibility.

In ‘The Circular Built Environment Playbook’ WorldGBC acknowledges the essential role of the circular economy in tackling the global environmental crisis; whilst providing an unparalleled opportunity to regenerate resources and accelerate socio-economic development. 

Circularity is fundamental for humanity to thrive alongside the natural environment, and within planetary boundaries. Through this playbook we hope to make the complex principles of the circular economy easy to understand for every actor in the built environment. We have mapped out more than 20 strategies to use when implementing circular design approaches across all building stages, and the report presents best practice case studies from across the global built environment.

All stakeholders must be ‘circular ready’ and lead the sector towards circularity becoming the new business-as-usual. Every actor in the building and construction supply chain must take action and help the transition — cross-sector collaboration will be key to overcome barriers towards a circular future. WorldGBC’s network aspires to see leadership from all governments and businesses. A circular economy is an essential part of the sustainability solution providing a foundation for future policy change and business innovation.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, WorldGBC, said: 

“It is clear that if we want to secure a future for our planet and people, then we cannot keep going on this path of consumption and waste. That’s why our network is taking action to increase awareness and accessibility of circular economy solutions, by guiding all stakeholders towards sustainable, circular decision-making. The need for a circular built environment has never been more important and our Circularity Accelerator programme is shining a light on the solutions available.”

Jonna Byskata, Head of EU Public Affairs, Kingspan, said:

“Circularity in the buildings sector is a very broad topic, and requires collaboration across all stakeholders. The Accelerator partnership allows such discussions to develop to help set future priorities where the environmental impacts matter most.”

Dorota Bacal, Sustainability and Innovation Lead, VinZero, said:

“You can only improve what you measure” has become the mantra of our industry. Data-driven decision making completely revolutionises the sustainability outcomes for the companies we work with. Data insights can significantly boost operational efficiencies, improve processes and reduce waste, whilst delivering cost, raw material consumption and carbon savings.” 

Chris Trott, Partner Head of Sustainability, Foster + Partners, said:

“Adopting circularity in the built environment is essential to achieve a regenerative balance, by facilitating the decarbonisation of the industry, limiting finite raw materials extraction and waste production all while staying within planetary boundaries.”

Thank you to our global programme partners: Brightworks Sustainability, Foster + Partners, Vinzero and Kingspan and our technical partners, WSP, CBRE. We also thank our steering committee, expert panel, designers and dedicated team at WorldGBC for their support in developing the Circular Built Environment Playbook.


[1] Circle Economy, 2022 Circularity Gap Report, January 2022

[2] United Nations (2018) 




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 infrastructure

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 WorldGBC’s Circularity Accelerator programme

Circularity Accelerator is WorldGBC’s global programme to catalyse the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency in the building and construction sector.

To tackle the climate and resource impact of the built environment and to support the ambitions of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, Circularity Accelerator convenes the WorldGBC network to work towards 2030 and 2050 goals:

  • 2030 goal: The sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources within the built environment, achieving zero waste to landfill targets and working towards a built environment with net zero whole life resource depletion
  • 2050 goal: A built environment with net zero whole life resource depletion, working towards the restoration of resources and natural systems within a thriving circular economy

Working with leading businesses and policymakers including the four  Circularity Accelerator Global Partners — Brightworks, Foster + Partners, Vinzero and Kingspan
— this programme will serve as a platform for raising and aligning ambition across the building and construction industry, and create heightened demand for resource efficiency solutions to be implemented before the end of the decade.  

Circular Built Environment Accelerator programme partners:

Global programme partners: Brightworks Sustainability, Foster + Partners ,Vinzero and Kingspan.

Technical Partners: WSP, CBRE

Media contact: 

Tessa Eydmann-Peel, Marketing and Communications Manager, World Green Building Council 

+44 (0) 7932491571