The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has launched its ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment’ as part of the Global Climate Action Summit.
It is starting with 38 signatories, made up of 12 businesses, 22 cities and four states and regions, showing an unprecedented statement of coordinated action from business and cities, states and regions.
Businesses across the world representing US$ 22.95 billion in revenue throughout the building and construction supply chain, have set ambitious targets to eliminate operational carbon emissions from their building portfolios of over 10.7 million square meters by 2030. This will create a wider market transformation to enable net zero carbon buildings by 2050.
Leaders from some of the world’s biggest cities plus two major regions, have committed to enact regulations and/or planning policy, that will require all new buildings within their jurisdiction to operate at net zero carbon from 2030; and all buildings, including existing, to operate at net zero carbon by 2050. Some cities, state and regional governments, have additionally committed to ensure the municipal assets they own, operate and develop are net zero carbon by 2030.
Their collective commitment provides strong evidence that industry, mayors and governors are willing to take drastic action to prevent catastrophic climate change and create more comfortable, healthy and future-proofed environments for their employees and residents to occupy.
Collectively, these organisations are committed to eliminating a cumulative total of 209 million tonnes of carbon emissions equivalent (CO2e) from their buildings by 2050. That is the equivalent of 44.7 million cars off the road for one year.
The Commitment drives the scale and pace of action necessary to reduce carbon emissions and requires a transformation in the way we design, build and operate buildings.
The aim is to inspire industry and governments to develop aggressive strategies to start the actions necessary for change, and to fulfil their obligations within the Commitment. Signatories are required to evaluate their current energy use and associated emissions across their portfolios; identify opportunities to reduce energy wastage and improve energy efficiency; power their buildings from renewable energy sources; and report on progress against decarbonisation targets. All signatories will be expected to meet high verification standards, in the lead up to and in the year of achievement of net zero carbon emission buildings, and report annually on progress.
Business signatories also commit to further advocate through their operations to eliminate carbon emissions, becoming enablers to radically transform the wider supply chain.
All city signatories have committed to enacting pioneering regulations and/or planning policy.
The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has been developed in partnership with a wide stakeholder group including Green Buildings Councils, The Climate Group and C40. Last month, C40 announced 19 cities from their network would be joining the Commitment across 9 countries. The Commitment forms part of EP100, a global corporate leadership initiative for energy-smart companies, delivered by The Climate Group in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy. Businesses signing the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment become EP100 members.
This Commitment is part of the WorldGBC global campaign Advancing Net Zero, launched in 2016.
WorldGBC’s next priority is to address embodied carbon, which is the carbon dioxide emitted during the manufacture, transport and construction of building materials, together with end of life emissions. Embodied carbon emissions must reach net zero by 2050 in order to achieve a below 2 degree scenario, and ideally below 1.5 degrees.
Commented Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council: “We are delighted at the ambition being demonstrated by this group of climate leaders. Our new partnerships with C40 and The Climate Group have enabled us to convene the world’s most pioneering organisations in net zero carbon buildings, and bring company CEOs, city mayors and state governors onto the same stage, committing action towards a common cause. Our vision of a net zero emissions future is within reach, if we all work together to overcome the challenges.
“Taking this leap has taken a phenomenal effort from the founding signatories, and we applaud them for their leadership and compel others to join us on this exciting journey. Our Green Building Councils are ready to support each and every signatory as we work together to towards decarbonising the built environment.”