WorldGBC releases 2021 Advancing Net Zero Status Report

The annual report includes global updates on tackling embodied carbon with benchmarks and targets, the scaling up of retrofit and renovations efforts, notable national legislation developments, and innovations in materials and technology.

The WorldGBC has released its annual Advancing Net Zero Status Report, which showcases examples of Green Building Councils, businesses and governments scaling action towards achieving WorldGBC’s vision for a decarbonized built environment.
The report also includes a net zero “myth-busting” resource to improve the understanding of net zero within the building and construction industry.

Following previous calls for industry action as part of Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront, World Green Building Week 2020 and the COP26 Race to Zero, this new report celebrates the work driving the whole life carbon agenda to address emissions from how buildings are used, and from the materials and construction processes – known as embodied carbon.

The report covers key industry net zero trends and innovations, including: updates on tackling embodied carbon with benchmarks and targets, scaling up of retrofit and renovations efforts, notable national legislation developments, and innovations in materials and technology. The report additionally highlights actions from the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories, including Multiplex, The GPT Group, Hudson Pacific Properties and Grimshaw, and how they are fulfilling their commitments to decarbonise their building portfolios.

A full list of current Commitment signatories stands at a total of 141, with 107 businesses and organisations; 28 cities; and 6 states and regions. The businesses and organisations signed up to the Commitment now account for over 5.2 million tCO2e of portfolio emissions.

“In this crucial decade for climate action, it is inspiring to see the steps being taken now from stakeholders across the built environment towards achieving net zero. The Advancing Net Zero programme and participating Green Building Councils are at the forefront of driving the sectoral transformation needed to achieve the Paris Agreement goals,” says Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council.  

“Moreover, signatories to the WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment are showing how industry stakeholders are going further and faster to implement the crucial actions and policies needed to progress the decarbonisation of their portfolios. In the lead up to COP26, the WorldGBC network and its member Green Building Councils, and partners are ready to demonstrate how the built environment can critically contribute to a healthier, equitable and resilient future.”

This year’s COP26 will feature a dedicated ‘Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day’ — a crucial opportunity to catalyse the transformation of the building and construction sector to achieve decarbonisation goals, in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C scenario.

This report outlines the milestones leading to the event alongside WorldGBC’s #BuildingToCOP26 campaign and how the COP26 host nation, Scotland, is delivering their Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitments. Along with the dedicated day for the sector, COP26 is spotlighting the built environment as a critical solution to the climate crisis through the UN’s Race to Zero, a campaign that is accelerating climate action across multiple sectors.

“We have entered a critical decade for the building sector to action net zero carbon and make it a reality at scale. Mott MacDonald is a proud signatory to the Commitment, it is in alignment with our carbon neutral certified company achievement and goal to become a Net Zero company. Advancing Net Zero is providing the critical guidance that we need to scale Net Zero Carbon Buildings and the whole life carbon vision is an important evolution for us to reach the carbon reduction that is essential for our future,” said Amanda Sturgeon, Regenerative Design Lead – Asia Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Mott MacDonald.