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WorldGBC spotlights change makers advancing net zero built environments in line with Paris Agreement goals

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) releases the 2022 Advancing Net Zero Status Report, packed with examples of radical industry collaboration, and accelerated action from across its global network to keep the 1.5°C scenario alive.

LONDON – 09:00 BST, 11 July 2022 – Today, WorldGBC launches its annual Advancing Net Zero Status Report, which highlights action being taken now to decarbonise the built environment from businesses, governments and the global Green Building Council (GBC) network.

Advancing Net Zero Network Impacts:

  • GBCs across the network are advancing net zero built environments through new research, guidance on best practice, benchmark and target setting, and knowledge sharing.
  • At least 15 national decarbonisation roadmaps are in development or published by GBCs through projects such as #BuildingLife.
  • EU Policy Whole Life Carbon Roadmap published by WorldGBC European Regional Network.
  • Signatories of WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment are catalysing industry transformation through accelerated action on decarbonisation, with business signatories having cumulatively committed nearly 20,000 assets, accounting for approximately 7.2 million tonnes (CO2e) of portfolio emissions annually.
  • Global programme partners are accelerating industry action and overcoming barriers to net zero through innovative business activities

Radical collaboration and overcoming barriers

The report highlights action from Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories, who are working to decarbonise their own building portfolios and go further, faster than other mainstream actors, and advocating for market transformation through their own projects. The actions that signatories are taking by 2030 are stimulating the innovative approaches, solutions and business models necessary for the entire sector to reach 2050 goals.

Featuring the refurbishment project, 1 Triton Square, a 1990s office building in London – the renovation was a collaborative effort between owners, British Land, alongside Arup and Lendlease. The project took a circular approach to decarbonisation, delivering a highly energy efficient building which maximised reductions in embodied carbon.

The report also draws on the industry experience of our Advancing Net Zero global programme partners, representing a variety of perspectives from sector stakeholders on how they are overcoming barriers to net zero, with a focus on renovation.

GBCs shaping the future of the built environment

The implementation of WorldGBC’s whole life carbon vision continues apace and GBCs have developed critical national level roadmaps to guide the decarbonisation of the buildings and construction sector in their respective countries. Many of these have been developed as part of the #BuildingLife project.

The report features a timeline of GBC action over the last 12 months, detailing outputs of the network including the release of reports, industry guidance, updating of certification/rating tools, webinars, educational/professional training and conferences. Moreover, we profile three GBCs detailing their advancing net zero journey: EmiratesGBC, IrishGBC and CCCS (Consejo Colombiano de Construcción Sostenible) in Colombia.

The report looks ahead to COP27, outlining the status of net zero in the Africa region and the work of GBC Nigeria, as well as the opportunity presented by the upcoming conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council:

“Despite the latest IPCC report’s warning that current national pledges are still not ambitious enough to stop global warming exceeding 1.5°C, I see signs of hope emerging from our sector.

2022 marks World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) 20 years anniversary. What started out as eight founding Green Building Councils (GBCs) has grown into a network of over 70 and their 36,000 members. And in the past 12 months, I have witnessed new heights of collaboration across our network.

Advancing Net Zero (ANZ) is our global programme and a critical driver for this work. Its mission is to raise the bar for industry climate action. Alongside the pioneering work of the programme’s 30 participating Green Building Councils, partners, and Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories, we are making global impact through local action. As we build on last year’s momentum and head into COP27 in Egypt this year, we will continue to strengthen our collaborative efforts with industry, sub-national and national governments to accelerate sustainable built environments for everyone, everywhere.”

Mina Hasman, Sustainable Practice Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP:

“The construction industry has made much progress in successfully delivering the decarbonisation message and establishing key roadmaps for action over the last 12 months – all presented at COP26.

I was honoured to be part of the COP26 Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day events to amplify the commitment to net zero, and to demonstrate how we can go further – a vision at the heart of our ‘Urban Sequoia’ research launched at COP26.

Climate science consistently proves that we need revolutionary thinking and actions for the evolution of our sector, and this can only happen if we collaborate within and beyond it. I hope that by the end of 2022, our industry can progressively embrace this mindset and work to radically transform the built environment beyond net zero toward net-negative solutions.”

Bianca Wong, Global Head of Sustainability, Kingspan Group:

“Climate action, at scale, is urgently needed. The construction sector must address its most material impacts at pace to stay within a chance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5⁰C. WorldGBC and the Advancing Net Zero project are a critical part of the cross-industry collaboration driving the decarbonisation of the built environment. As a signatory to the Commitment, and as part of our 10-year Planet Passionate programme, Kingspan is prioritising reducing the embodied carbon in our products. This will enable us to reduce our value chain carbon impact while also supporting our customer’s decarbonisation journeys.”

Cate Harris, Group Head of Sustainability, Lendlease:

“Our #MissionZero targets of Net Zero by 2025 and Absolute Zero by 2040 are some of the most ambitious for the real estate sector globally, but we believe that doing so is critical to limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.

The work to achieve our targets has already begun, but deeper industry collaboration will be required to radically decarbonise the built environment. There are enough ‘green shoots’ across our sector to suggest that transformation is underway, but we need change at scale and at pace across new and existing assets. That’s why we are supporting important industry initiatives like Advancing Net Zero by the World Green Building Council. We believe clear targets are a uniting force — when we are all pulling in the same direction, great things can happen.”

Sally Sudworth, Global Head of Sustainability & Climate Change, Mott MacDonald:

“The latest Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report stated that the window to take urgent action is still there but only just. It makes good business sense to act now to mitigate increasing climate related damages. At Mott MacDonald we are proud to be part of a community of engineers and professionals who are taking action, to participate in the Advancing Net Zero global programme and to be signatories to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. We understand that collaboration and working in partnership with our clients and partners is a must if we are to achieve the sustainable and climate resilient world that future generations deserve.”

Tim Dismond, Chief Responsibility Officer, CBRE:

“CBRE has committed to Net Zero by 2040 and we’re all in. We have a plan, alignment and engaged employees who have embraced our initiatives. Our key priorities include transitioning our operations to 100% renewable energy and our fleet to electric vehicles, helping our clients reduce their carbon footprint at the properties we manage for them, and investing in and deploying the latest technology. Technology will drive the scale and pace of what’s possible for decarbonisation, and it will also be a key enabler for evaluating our impact. Collaboration through the WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme and other GBCs around the world is critical to achieve our ambitious goals.”

Xavier Denoly, Senior Vice President Sustainable Development, Schneider Electric:

“We all now know that buildings and cities are central in combating climate change. However, it is less widely known that existing technology is a pathway for net zero buildings to not only achieve carbon neutrality, but also to provide significant co-benefits for people and the economy. In other words, investing in decarbonisation technologies combined with digital can maximise value creation for all stakeholders. It is crucial to engage people and communities in real decarbonisation pathways by showing that there is no needed arbitrage between human progress and climate change mitigation. In fact, there will be no climate change mitigation if it does not build on human progress.

Schneider Electric supports WorldGBC and the Advancing Net Zero programme’s vision, which is a powerful catalyst for embracing the transformation towards a net zero carbon building and construction industry. Its unique global network of over 70 Green Building Councils around the globe is a major asset to act practically on the ground.

Let’s take action now, together.”



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