WorldGBC report highlights action and addresses challenges in advancing net-zero buildings.

Toronto Skyline at dusk, Ontario, Canada

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) recently launched its fifth annual Advancing Net Zero (ANZ) Status Report which showcases the ongoing efforts by businesses, governments, and the global Green Building Council network to decarbonize the built environment.

Key highlights of the Advancing Net Zero program’s progress in 2022-23 include the initiation of a global movement led by 35 Green Building Councils, promoting awareness and achievability of net-zero buildings and a collaboration among all five regional networks of WorldGBC to provide resources and accelerate the adoption of net-zero practices in the industry.

They also include the publication or development of 22 national Whole Life Carbon (WLC) decarbonization roadmaps by Green Building Councils, with more in progress externally and the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which now has 175 signatories, including businesses, organizations, cities, states, and regions. Among the signatories are 140 businesses responsible for approximately $400 billion in annual turnover, with nearly 20,000 assets across 75 countries committed to decarbonization efforts.

At the upcoming UN Climate Summit COP28 in Dubai, UAE, the built environment will be recognized as a critical climate sector. The WorldGBC report will focus on “Multi-level Action, Urbanization, and Built Environment/Transport” on Dec. 6, 2023.

The Advancing Net Zero global program, along with Green Building Councils, partners, and Commitment signatories, is working at the local, regional, and global levels to achieve the breakthrough moment in decarbonizing the built environment.

The UN High-Level Climate Champions previously announced a critical tipping point with 20% of key actors from the building and construction sector joining the Race to Zero.

Green Building Councils continue to lead change in their local markets, and the ANZ program is now engaging more GBCs than ever before. All five regional networks of WorldGBC have localized projects to provide solutions and guidance for widespread adoption, including the development of Net Zero Readiness Frameworks in MENA and the Americas.

The report also highlights examples of industry leadership among Commitment signatories, showcasing decarbonization efforts across their portfolios.

Additionally, it features case studies and resources aimed at overcoming challenges in scaling up solutions and minimizing the environmental impact of buildings.

“WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero programme is making critical steps towards total sector decarbonisation. This report once again highlights the game changing achievements from the leading work of our GBCs, programme partners and Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories, who are driving solutions and demonstrating that industry is ready for bolder ambition,” said Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council.

“In the run up to the UN Climate Summit COP28 in Dubai, UAE, the world’s first Global Stocktake year should serve as a reminder for governments to reflect on how their actions and policies will help them achieve the goals they signed up to under the Paris Agreement. We know that the solutions exist for a decarbonised future; and our network is ready to support industry and government to ensure that pledges, commitments and promises are turned into action that is delivering the change at scale that our world demands.”

As a result, the call to action includes the imperative that the world’s first Global Stocktake year should serve as a reminder that collective action is needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In the lead up to the UN Climate Summit COP28, WorldGBC is calling on businesses, organisations, cities, states and regions to step up ambitions and take action. The community may join the Race to Zero and be a frontrunner in the race by signing WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

The building and construction sector can also work together to solve this crisis by committing collectively to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and collaborating to achieve optimum performance outcomes, building by building. The community may join their local Green Building Council (GBC), and engage with regional activities to find out how they can play their part.

Additionally, governments can drive mainstream systemic change through enhanced whole life carbon policies and enabling the transition to renewable energy sources.