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WorldGBC and global leaders call for historic Built Environment Day at COP26

The World Green Building Council joins nine international organisations to sign a letter to COP26 President, Alok Sharma, requesting a Built Environment Day at the climate summit in November 2021.

The day at COP26 would be dedicated to the action pathways to accelerate the decarbonisation of the built environment, and it will demonstrate how business and governments are catalysing solutions to the climate crisis.

This comes a few days after WorldGBC took part in the UN’s Race To Zero Dialogues, discussing how policy, finance and industry leadership can accelerate decarbonisation and ensure the resilience of built environment assets.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council:

“It is essential to have a full day to recognise the building and construction industry at COP26. The sector accounts for nearly 40% of global energy and process-related emissions, up to 10% of global employment and around 50% of global wealth. Despite this, our sector often remains a blind spot in global climate negotiations.

WorldGBC has signed a letter to COP26 President, Alok Sharma, together with nine fellow international organisations which are working to decarbonise and make more sustainable the built environment across the world. We look forward to his reply and discussing how we can work together to make COP26 the success it needs to be.”

The letter argues that a Built Environment Day at COP26 would spotlight the sector’s unique capability to deliver powerful net-zero solutions and serve as a rallying point for the sector’s diverse stakeholders. The day would allow the sector to collaborate with governments and policymakers and catalyse action towards ambitious targets for 2030 and beyond.

List of signatories:

  • Martina Otto, Head of Secretariat, Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction
  • Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities
  • Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group
  • Andrew Higham, Chief Executive, MISSION 2020
  • Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council
  • Peter Bakker, CEO, World Business Council Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
  • Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business
  • Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
  • Julie Hirigoyen, CEO, UK Green Building Council
  • Marco Caffi, Executive Director, Green Building Council Italia​

The letter urges the COP26 organisers to recognise the central role our sector can play in overcoming the key societal challenges we face:

  • The sector can offer solutions to the climate and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 by driving a green recovery and support a climate-resilient future.
  • It can deliver short-term jobs and growth by improving and retrofitting existing built assets as well as ensuring new ones do not contribute high levels of greenhouse gasses.

The Built Environment Day at COP26 would provide an excellent backdrop to discuss the exciting potential of our sector.

Read the full letter.