First built environment commitment to advance net zero whole life carbon

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has officially launched bold, new requirements for the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment to address embodied carbon emissions in the built environment, as well as a document outlining best practice for carbon offsetting. 

The built environment is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions, with 10% from embodied carbon from materials and construction processes. To limit warming to no more than 1.5°C as set out in the Paris Agreement, the #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition has called for emissions from buildings globally to be halved by 2030, and to reach net zero life-cycle emissions for all buildings by no later than 2050.

With less than two months until COP26, these announcements spotlight how the built environment can accelerate climate action and address climate change.

The businesses, organisations, cities, states and regions who are signatories to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment are taking actions towards 2030 by stimulating the innovative approaches, solutions and business models necessary for the entire sector to reach 2050 goals.

Update to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (the Commitment) challenges signatories to account for all operational carbon emissions, and for new developments or major renovations, they must achieve maximum reduction of embodied carbon and compensate for any residual upfront emissions, by 2030.

New requirements for the Commitment will state that signatories must also account for:

  • the whole lifecycle impacts of new buildings and major renovations,
  • maximise embodied carbon reductions and compensate for residual upfront emissions
  • disclose the impact of activities that influence the wider reduction of whole life carbon emissions.

Best practice guidance on carbon offsetting in the built environment

In addition, WorldGBC has also released a guidance document on the use of carbon offsetting — “Advancing Net Zero Whole Life Carbon: Offsetting Residual Emissions from the Building and Construction Sector”.

These two updates are a first for the global industry and will elevate the ambition for the building and construction sector to go further and faster to decarbonise, as well as creating a powerful catalyst towards achieving the Paris Agreement goals.


WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment Introduction – with updated Commitment requirements

Advancing Net Zero Whole Life Carbon: Offsetting Residual Emissions from the Building and Construction Sector

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