Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment Strengthened to Go Further Faster

Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment front cover image

AHEAD OF COP26 the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is updating the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment to include bold new requirements addressing embodied carbon emissions, as well as publication of a new best practice model for carbon offsetting.

In a bid to raise ambition for the global building and construction sector to go further and faster to decarbonise, it is hoped that the Commitment will create a powerful catalyst towards achieving the Paris Agreement goals.

The built environment is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions, with 10% from embodied carbon from materials and construction processes.

Limiting Climate Warming

To limit warming to no more than 1.5°C – as was agreed 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.

Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

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

New requirements for the Commitment 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.

You can download the WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment Introduction: Businesses & Organisation here

Best Practice Carbon Offsetting 

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

In the immediate term, offsets are a necessary part of the transition towards total decarbonisation, or zero carbon, for the building and construction sector. The document outlines WorldGBC’s recommendations for why, when, and how offsetting may be used to advance net zero carbon emissions in the built environment.