Today, over 20 countries from the World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) Europe Regional Network (WorldGBC Europe) have published a manifesto, A Sustainable Built Environment at the Heart of Europe’s Future urging European decision makers to recognise the vital role that the built environment sector plays in delivering a climate neutral Europe.
WorldGBC Europe represents Green Building Councils in over 20 countries and works with nine Regional Partners and over 4,500 diverse members across the construction and real estate sector. The network’s vision is for a sustainable built environment at the heart of Europe’s future.
The outgoing European Commission has demonstrated a commitment to tackling key environmental, economic and societal issues by signing up to the Paris Agreement, committing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the articulation of a vision for a climate neutral Europe by 2050.
As the baton is passed over, it is crucial that the incoming European Commission goes further and delivers on these ambitious commitments by clearly recognising the role that the built environment sector can play in delivering a climate neutral Europe. As buildings account for 36% of all emissions, 40% of energy and 50% of raw material extraction in the EU, delivering this vision requires the establishment of strong policies that support transformative action within our sector.
The manifesto focuses on eight shared priority areas including CO2 emissions, circular economy, water, health, resilience, biodiversity, cost and the just transition. The manifesto clearly outlines the key policy and regulatory changes that European leaders must endorse and champion against each of these areas to realise the potential of the sector.
Crucially, the manifesto calls for policies that support the transformation of the building stock to net zero carbon by 2050 in line with the goals of WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero project. It also provides an overview of the policies that are needed to support the transition to a circular economy and calls for the creation of circular value chains so that resource use is optimised and there is zero waste to landfill.
Throughout the manifesto, WorldGBC Europe reminds the Commission of its conviction that the Level(s) framework is the key tool that can deliver the changes needed and drive demand for a built environment that benefits the economy, society and the environment.
Level(s) focuses attention on six of the eight priority areas and its implementation will set comparable requirements for sustainable building, facilitate the collection of data to enable benchmarking and eventually enable performance standards in legislation. However, Level(s) is currently a voluntary framework and it requires far greater resources and political support for successful pan-European implementation.
To read the manifesto, A Sustainable Built Environment at the Heart of Europe’s Future, click here.