Building and construction sector show collective force at COP28

The Open Letter highlights that beyond the opportunity to reduce 37 per cent of total carbon emissions, the building and construction sector can also create $1.5 trillion in sustainable investment opportunities in emerging markets, as well as lift 2.8 billion people out of energy poverty.

The building and construction sector has shown collective force at the UN Climate Summit COP28 with more than 350 industry leaders signing an Open Letter to negotiators and heads of states to demand the regulatory change needed to tackle the climate crisis.

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), the global network of more than 75 national Green Building Councils (GBCs), and leading businesses in the buildings and construction sector are all presenting a unified call to action to political leaders to stress the critical role of the built environment to deliver climate solutions.

The Open Letter is accompanied by a policy briefing that highlights the regulatory outcomes needed to scale up action and deliver on the sector’s potential. Additionally, it supports the Buildings Breakthrough that calls for ‘near-zero emission and resilient buildings as the new normal by 2030.

The Open Letter highlights that beyond the opportunity to reduce 37 per cent of total carbon emissions, the building and construction sector can also create $1.5 trillion in sustainable investment opportunities in emerging markets, as well as lift 2.8 billion people out of energy poverty.

The letter was fronted by signatories of WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, WorldGBC corporate partners (including ARUP, Buro Happold, CEMEX, Saint Gobain, Signify, Siemens, Skanska, Stora Enso, Schneider Electric, Knauf Insulation, WSP) and Green Building Councils.

The building and construction sector accounts for almost 40 per cent of global energy-related carbon emissions and is a huge industry nexus and demand sector, with cities consuming 70 per cent of all global resources. Its operating emissions, however, are rising, and have grown by an average of 1% year on year from 2015 to 2021.

As a result, the WorldGBC network and its partners are calling for strong political leadership to scale the sustainable transformation of the built environment, climate mitigation where parties commit to the integration of building codes, sub-national policy and commitment within their Nationally Determined Contributions and climate adaptation where parties agree on a global goal for adaptation and recognise the role of buildings in anticipating, adapting, and responding to climate impacts and commit to making greater efforts to integrate resilience and adaptation into existing policies and programmes.

Additionally, the open letter calls for climate finance where parties agree to increased funding for energy efficiency improvements and Loss and Damage and the global stocktake where parties to commit to the Buildings Breakthrough as a platform for collaboration between national governments and stakeholders.

“Climate Action is often misunderstood as human efforts to save the planet. In fact it is humanity’s effort to save itself and the environment we have created to facilitate prosperity, equity and growth,” said Cristina Gamboa, CEO, WorldGBC. “It’s about every government that wants to maintain stability and cohesion, every business that wants to remain successful and financially viable, and every person who enjoys the comforts of modern life. ”

“In the built environment, we are falling short of the goals that will preserve us. And we don’t need to. Solutions already exist to secure a better future. We can still get back on track. To do that, we need an enabling policy environment, industry ambition, and finance to leverage the huge potential of the built environment.”

You might also like