Call for building sector to commit to net zero carbon

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has launched its new Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and called on market leaders in the building and construction sector to join as signatories.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment challenges businesses and organisations across the world to take advanced climate action by setting ambitious targets to eliminate operational carbon emissions from their building portfolios by 2030 in order to meet the Paris Agreement ambition of below 2 degrees of global warming.

Commitment signatories will track, verify and report publicly on building performance metrics with a focus on energy use and associated emissions. They will also advocate across their supply chain for all suppliers and partners to follow their own commitment to reach net zero by 2030.

The Challenge was unveiled in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit taking place in San Francisco in September where states and regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society are committing to Taking Ambition to the Next Level.

The aim is to generate the next wave of high momentum able to cut down global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and inspire national governments to step up national climate action plans over the next two years.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has the power to radically transform the building and construction industry by spearheading a global shift towards aggressive energy efficiency as well as a complete change from fossil fuel based power to renewables. In 2015, 82% of final energy consumption in buildings was supplied by fossil fuels – whereas to meet the Paris Agreement, this must become 0%.

Furthermore, the Commitment proves that the sector can and must play a key role in achieving large scale emissions reduction. Globally, almost 40% of energy related greenhouse emissions come from buildings, with 28% coming from the operations of buildings themselves. This equals the total emissions of China and the European Union combined.

The combination of requiring both energy demand reductions and renewable energy solutions across portfolios at a global scale, makes this Commitment unique and the first of its kind to be launched worldwide. Energy efficiency will dramatically reduce the world’s energy needs, enabling a much faster transition to renewables which will shut down fossil fuel energy production sooner.

Globally, energy efficiency measures could contribute a 48% reduction of global emissions by 2030, with 43% of those coming from buildings. Meanwhile, powering buildings by renewable energy is equally essential to achieving a zero emissions built environment.

The first three founding signatories of the commitment are:

  • Majid Al Futtaim – a pioneer in shopping mall, retail and leisure destinations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – has committed to eliminating operational carbon emissions from all its assets across 15 countries by 2030, including more than 12 malls and shopping centres, 12 hotels and 3 mixed-use living communities. Their net positive corporate strategy drives emission reductions through every aspect of the business, for example, by requiring green energy leases for mall retail units.

  • Integral Group – a global engineering firm specialising in delivery of net zero buildings – have committed to Zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2020 across its 15 global office locations, and actively promotes opportunities for net zero on every project they are engaged on, removing technical, financial and perceptual barriers to uptake.

  • Signify - formerly known as Philips Lighting – is the world leader in lighting and the lighting company for the Internet of Things. With a presence in over 70 countries, Signify has committed to net zero carbon for all its buildings, currently over 300.

More information is available here

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