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WorldGBC details built environment progress to achieving net zero in latest report

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) releases the 2021 Advancing Net Zero Status Report, packed with net zero myth busting and stories of industry action towards decarbonising the built environment.

LONDON – 12:00 BST, 10 June 2021 – Today, WorldGBC launches the latest annual Advancing Net Zero Status Report, which highlights leadership action from the Green Building Council (GBC) global network towards achieving total sector decarbonisation.

The report showcases examples of Green Building Councils, businesses and governments scaling action towards achieving WorldGBC’s vision for a decarbonised built environment, as well as a net zero ‘myth busting’ resource to improve the understanding of net zero within the building and construction industry.

Following previous calls for industry action as part of Bringing Embodied Carbon UpfrontWorld Green Building Week 2020 and the COP26 Race to Zero, this new report celebrates the work driving the whole life carbon agenda to address emissions from how buildings are used, and from the materials and construction processes – known as embodied carbon.

Net zero myth busting

The report covers key industry net zero trends and innovations, including: updates on tackling embodied carbon with benchmarks and targets, scaling up of retrofit and renovations efforts, notable national legislation developments, and innovations in materials and technology. These snapshots dispel the myths about net zero buildings and depict real world examples that have overcome perceived barriers.

Highlighting industry leadership

The report also highlights actions from the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories, including Multiplex, The GPT Group, Hudson Pacific Properties and Grimshaw, and how they are fulfilling their commitments to decarbonise their building portfolios. A full list of current Commitment signatories stands at a total of 141, with 107 businesses and organisations; 28 cities; and 6 states and regions. The businesses and organisations signed up to the Commitment now account for over 5.2 million (tCO2e) of portfolio emissions.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council:

“In this crucial decade for climate action, it is inspiring to see the steps being taken now from stakeholders across the built environment towards achieving net zero. The Advancing Net Zero programme and participating Green Building Councils are at the forefront of driving the sectoral transformation needed to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. 

Moreover, signatories to the WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment are showing how industry stakeholders are going further and faster to implement the crucial actions and policies needed to progress the decarbonisation of their portfolios. In the lead up to COP26, the WorldGBC network and its member Green Building Councils, and partners are ready to demonstrate how the built environment can critically contribute to a healthier, equitable and resilient future.”

Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26

This year’s COP26 will feature a dedicated ‘Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day’ — a crucial opportunity to catalyse the transformation of the building and construction sector to achieve decarbonisation goals, in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C scenario.

This report outlines the milestones leading to the event alongside WorldGBC’s #BuildingToCOP26 campaign and how the COP26 host nation, Scotland, is delivering their Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitments. Along with the dedicated day for the sector, COP26 is spotlighting the built environment as a critical solution to the climate crisis through the UN’s Race to Zero, a campaign that is accelerating climate action across multiple sectors.

Jennifer Leitsch, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, CBRE

“As the world’s largest manager of commercial property, CBRE has the opportunity – and the motivation – to help stem the rise in global temperatures and preserve our planet for future generations. We support WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme and the crucial work it does in engaging the sector to advance the uptake of net zero through efforts such as the Advancing Net Zero Status Report. At CBRE, we continue to do our part to significantly reduce emissions from our own operations and the properties we manage for clients.”

Cate Harris, Group Head of Sustainability & Lendlease Foundation, Lendlease

“Given what’s at stake, it’s no longer enough to make ambitious commitments without translating them into real and tangible outcomes. This is why Lendlease has committed to #MissionZero and supporting important industry initiatives like the Advancing Net Zero Status Report by the World Green Building Council. Industry collaboration is critical in order for our sector to meaningfully reduce its carbon footprint and tackle the climate crisis head on — it’s our biggest challenge, with our smallest target.”

Bianca Wong, Global Head of Sustainability, Kingspan

“The latest Advancing Net Zero Status Report showcases the critical role of the built environment in tackling carbon emissions and slowing the advance of global warming. There is a clear business case to realising net zero buildings, and business must play a driving role in the revolution that we need. As a signatory to the Commitment, Kingspan is proud to support this vital initiative, and share the success we have had to date in our own journey towards decarbonisation.”

Amanda Sturgeon, Regenerative Design Lead – Asia Pacific, New Zealand, Australia,  Mott MacDonald

“We have entered a critical decade for the building sector to action net zero carbon and make it a reality at scale. Mott MacDonald is a proud signatory to the Commitment, it is in alignment with our carbon neutral certified company achievement and goal to become a Net Zero company. Advancing Net Zero is providing the critical guidance that we need to scale Net Zero Carbon Buildings and the whole life carbon vision is an important evolution for us to reach the carbon reduction that is essential for our future.”

Mina Hasman, Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

“To limit the consequences of climate change, net zero must become the rule, not the exception, across the built environment sector. WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme calls upon our industry to rise to the challenge. This initiative enables us to translate long-range ambitions into transformative actions we can take day by day. At SOM, we are increasingly empowered by the positive change we’re able to achieve by working with partners along the value chain.”





Rebecca Moir, Digital Marketing Coordinator, World Green Building Council