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As part of WorldGBC’s work to tackle the climate crisis and advance sustainable development, Circularity Accelerator is a WorldGBC global programme to accelerate the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency in the building and construction sector.

To support the ambitions of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, the programme convenes a network of over 70 Green Building Councils and their 36,000 members to work towards WorldGBC’s circularity and resource efficiency 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.

In order to facilitate cross-sector collaboration, WorldGBC and partners will lead on the creation and distribution of technical knowledge on the circular economy, including developing training for GBC members and the wider industry, and supporting the use of rating tools alongside advocating for regulatory strengthening. This work will be initiated through a flagship ‘State of the Market’ report in Q4 2022.

The World Economic Forum’s definition of a circular economy:

An industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models.

World Economic Forum, From linear to circular – Accelerating a proven concept, January 2014

In alignment with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a circular building definition can be:

A circular building optimises the use of resources while minimising waste throughout its whole life cycle. The building’s design, operation and deconstruction maximise value over time using:

• Durable products and services made of secondary, non-toxic, sustainably sourced, or renewable, reusable or recyclable material

• Space efficiency over time through shared occupancy, flexibility and adaptability

• Longevity, resilience, durability, easy maintenance and reparability

• Disassembly, reuse or recycling of embedded material, components and systems

• Life-cycle assessment (LCA), life-cycle costing (LCC) and readily available digital information (such as building material passports).

The WorldGBC network is united in advocating for an aligned pathway to urgently reduce global resource consumption. This cannot be achieved without intensive and innovative collaboration to bring about meaningful change within our global built environment industry.

Together we can re-imagine cities as vibrant systems that operate public services more efficiently, improve how buildings are used, and re-imagine city transport and more — all as part of a sustainable, efficient, regenerative circular economy.

To explore partnership and collaboration opportunities for Circularity Accelerator’s ‘State of the Market’ report development, contact Adrian Jackson, Circularity Accelerator Programme Officer at WorldGBC

The programme builds on existing circularity work carried out by national Green Building Councils and expands the scope of the topic to a global audience. Some examples are listed below, however please contact your national GBC for the most relevant national guidance.

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

“Our work has shown there is a direct correlation between GHG emissions and material use, therefore if we are to succeed in reducing our emissions in line with the global commitment to fulfil the Paris Agreement, and to avoid the adverse impacts of resource extraction on health, wellbeing, biodiversity and natural ecology, we must reduce the resource consumption associated with the built environment. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with WGBC on this important initiative, which will help generate a better understanding of the issues and how to engage with them in a consistent and impactful way.”

Dr. Anna Braune, Director Research and Development, German Sustainable Building Council, said:

“Circularity in the built environment is THE strategy to secure resources and materials for future generations. Our current economies can only transform into circular economies with new local, regional and global forms of collaboration and trust.”

Phil Kelly, Director, Head of Sustainability for Buildings UK Ramboll said:

“To deliver the impact circularity can have, collaboration across the supply chain is absolutely essential. This is why Ramboll is proud to be a Global Partner for the WGBC’s Circularity Accelerator project. We look forward to working together through this platform to deliver the much needed tools and thought leadership to regional industry networks across the globe.”

Jorge Chapa, Head of Market Transformation at Green Building Council Australia said:

“The age of the circular economy is here, and the built environment has an enormous opportunity to contribute to its development. I’m looking forward to working with my peers across the WorldGBC to establish a global pathway for our industry.

David Symons, UK Director of Sustainability at WSP, said:

“Flexible, adaptable, long-life buildings suit occupiers, give increased yields for owners and are better for the environment. WSP is delighted to support this WorldGBC programme and look forward to showing how circular principles in buildings is a practical design approach, not some abstract green philosophy.”

Jack Dinning, Materials Specialist Project Manager, Brightworks Sustainability said:

“Moving the built environment from a supply chain to a supply circle will take systemic change and an unprecedented amount of collaboration. It is time to take immediate action in executing circular strategies and scale localised models for circularity into regional and global circular economies, one project and relationship at a time. Brightworks Sustainability is proud to join the WGBC’s Circularity Accelerator to showcase the work of our visionary clients and collaborators as part of this effort.”

Participating Green Building Councils

Global Programme Partners

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Technical Report Partners