11th Annual World Green Building Week (21–25 Sept.) Sparks Over 135 Events Across 35 Countries to Combat Climate Change

The World Green Building Council issues call for government and business leaders to prioritise net zero buildings and secures 110 Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories.

LONDON, 21 September 2020 – The 11th Annual World Green Building Week (WGBW), a global awareness and activation event of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) network, has galvanised over 135 events in more than 35 countries, from 21–25 September 2020.

The Week has also prompted more than 100 organisations to endorse a Call to Action statement, urging all levels of government to implement policy to ensure the following:

  • By 2030, all new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have at least 40% less embodied carbon with significant upfront carbon reduction, and all new buildings must be net zero operational carbon.
  • By 2050, new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have net zero embodied carbon, and all buildings, including existing buildings, must be net zero operational carbon.

Additionally, ahead of COP26 in November 2021, 10 new companies have pledged to take action on net zero buildings by signing the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, bringing the total number of signatories to 110. This commitment recognises business, organisations and regions taking action to reach net zero carbon in operation for all assets under their direct control by 2030, and all buildings to be net zero carbon in operation by 2050.

The new signatories are:

The Commitment has successfully catalysed significant progress with two signatories, Signify and Hudson Pacific Properties, recently achieving their goals of carbon neutrality ahead of schedule

Acting as an example for their membership, the UK Green Building Council and Green Building Council Finland joined the Commitment to show leadership in setting net zero goals. As Green Building Councils are affiliated with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), they will not be counted towards the overall total of commitment signatories.

WGBW represents a powerful global effort for awareness, as events will be streaming continuously for 24 hours a day during all five days of the Week, an astounding 330 hours of live content. The events will explore topics ranging from financial incentives to the implications of cooling needs, and will include relevant case studies. Pre-recorded content will also be available, featuring industry experts on the WorldGBC website.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council

“As the devastation of global climate change continues to take its toll on our communities, livelihoods and health, it has never been more important to invest in our long-term sustainability. Making a broad scale shift to net zero buildings can dramatically and cost-effectively reduce our emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Our industry is ready to deliver the solutions, but without ambitious regulation to enable the necessary shift to net zero buildings, the world will miss the climate goals of 2030.”

Richard Batten, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, JLL

“As real estate is responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, JLL is dedicated to reducing our own emissions and also to partner with our clients to help them do the same. Having committed to a science-based target, JLL is proud to be a signatory of the WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment covering all of our global operational buildings portfolio. We would encourage all in the real estate sector to join this Commitment to create a decarbonised built environment; there is an urgency for us all to work together to achieve this important goal.”

Mina Hasman, Sustainability Lead, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

“As a global, interdisciplinary practice, we are fully committed to fighting climate change, and driving market transformation to decarbonise the built environment fast, and at scale. By becoming a signatory to WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, we aim to augment our leadership and advocate for the broader industry to join the action.”

Read quotes from all the new Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment signatories.

The surge in companies taking action towards total sector decarbonisation is charting an ambitious yet achievable trajectory for the built environment sector to slash its carbon emissions, and signal to government the sector’s ability to deliver on bold policy frameworks, to provide net zero carbon buildings that support healthy and resilient communities, protect the health of the planet and its citizens, and ensure strong economies with long-term job and innovation benefits.

This week, advocates can join the WorldGBC’s Acting On Climate Thought Leadership Spotlight Series, which features leading voices discussing the role of net zero buildings in addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges. Names include: Nigel Topping, High Level Champion for Climate Action, COP26; Andreas Gyr, Sustainability Partner, Real Estate and Workplaces Services at Google; and Valentin Foltescu, Science Officer, Climate & Clean Air Coalition.

Nigel Topping, High Level Champion for Climate Action, COP26, and Ambassador for WGBW 2020

“With 39% of energy-related emissions attributed to the built environment, we cannot ignore the enormous impact the sector has on our climate. It's time to prioritise net zero buildings as a solution.”

As part of the Spotlight Series, the ‘Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront’ session on Thursday 24 September will present a new report on embodied carbon in Asia Pacific, outlining actions that business, government and civil society can take today to reduce embodied carbon of projects, materials and products.”

Join the conversation on social media with #ActOnClimate and #WGBW2020, and visit www.worldgbc.org/worldgreenbuildingweek for more information.


Media contact:
Harvey Jones, Marketing and Communications Manager, World Green Building Council
hjones@worldgbc.org, +44 (0) 7472 815 818

About the World Green Building Council
The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) catalyses the uptake of sustainable buildings for everyone, everywhere.

Transforming the building and construction sector across three strategic areas – climate action, health & wellbeing, and resources & circularity – we are a global action network comprised of around 70 Green Building Councils around the globe.

As members of the UN Global Compact, we work with businesses, organisations and governments to drive the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Through a systems change approach, our network is leading the industry towards a net zero carbon, healthy, equitable and resilient built environment. www.worldgbc.org

About Advancing Net Zero
Advancing Net Zero is a global project from the World Green Building Council, aimed at accelerating uptake of net zero carbon buildings to 100% by 2050. The project works with the global Green Building Council network to develop tools and resources, including net zero carbon building certification schemes and training programmes, to support their advocacy work with their members and local governments, and build industry capacity.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (the Commitment), an initiative under the Advancing Net Zero project, was launched in September 2018 at the Global Climate Action Summit. It promotes and inspires leadership action on an advanced trajectory from business, governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to scale up responses to net zero carbon buildings through corporate and policy action.

It currently has 110 signatories: 76 businesses and organisations, 28 cities and 6 states and regions. More details of the specific actions being taken by the signatories can be found in their action plans.

For eligible businesses, the Commitment is one of three pathways to become a member of EP100, an initiative by The Climate Group in partnership with Alliance to Save Energy. It brings together energy-smart companies committed to using energy more productively, to lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and accelerate a clean economy. The Commitment’s inclusion of energy efficiency as an essential component to a net zero carbon strategy supports the improvement of energy productivity.