WorldGBC launches campaign to strengthen transition to sustainable built environments

WorldGBC has launched World Green Building Week, which will illustrate how we can transition towards sustainable built environments.

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From now until Sept. 15, 2023, the global community dedicated to green building practices will come together for World Green Building Week, the world’s largest campaign aimed at accelerating the creation of sustainable built environments accessible to all, everywhere.

This campaign, known as #BuildingTheTransition, is led by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its extensive network, which includes over 75 Green Building Councils (GBCs) and their 46,000 members worldwide. #BuildingTheTransition is a rallying call to the global building and construction industry, urging it to expedite its shift towards securing an energy-efficient, regenerative, and equitable future for all.

Now in its fifteenth year, this week-long event will illustrate how, through adopting a mindset focused on systemic change and harnessing local solutions, we can transition towards sustainable built environments. This topic is of paramount importance on the political agenda, especially considering the critical juncture we find ourselves in with respect to climate change, humanitarian crises, and economic uncertainties. It is imperative that we expedite the transformation to sustainable built environments if we are to ensure a sustainable future for all.

This urgency is underscored by the context of the world’s first Global Stocktake, a significant international assessment that is shifting global attention towards the solutions required to attain the 1.5°C goal set by the Paris Agreement. There is no doubt that this transition, aimed at rejuvenating and healing our planet, necessitates systemic changes across all sectors. As the largest contributor to global energy-related carbon emissions (accounting for 37% globally), the built environment plays a pivotal role in driving the transition towards a decarbonized, sustainable, and resilient society.

During the UN Climate Summit COP28, taking place in Dubai, UAE, from November 30th to December 12th, 2023, the world’s first Global Stocktake will review the collective objectives agreed upon under the Paris Agreement. This review will highlight areas of progress and identify critical gaps before countries submit updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2024. This momentous occasion prompts both political and private sector leaders worldwide to assess how far we have come and, more importantly, how far we still need to go in order to mitigate the severe consequences of global warming.

Throughout World Green Building Week (#WGBW23), the WorldGBC’s network will host events worldwide and share real-world examples of #BuildingTheTransition across three core themes: the energy transition, regenerative transition, and just transition. This year’s campaign will also align with the UN’s 2023 SDG Summit, scheduled for September 18th to 19th, highlighting 11 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals crucial for catalyzing the creation of a sustainable built environment.

#BuildingTheTransition’s three central themes underscore how the built environment can contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:

The first is the energy transition which extends beyond merely adopting renewable energy sources. It involves a comprehensive systemic transformation that includes accelerating the adoption of built environments that reduce energy consumption, store and distribute clean energy, and generate surplus energy. It also entails investments in clean technologies and promoting economies of scale, as well as the extensive retrofitting of existing buildings to enhance energy efficiency significantly.

The second theme is the regenerative transition which aims to advance regenerative principles within the built environment, shifting them from a niche concept to the norm, is essential. Our planet’s resources are finite, and it is imperative that humans coexist with the natural systems that sustain life. This involves not only safeguarding biodiversity but also prioritizing its restoration, embracing nature-based solutions, and establishing a thriving circular economy throughout the building value chain.

The third theme is just transition, which involves Achieving climate justice is intrinsically linked to social justice. Those who have contributed the least to environmental degradation are often the ones bearing the brunt of its consequences. Achieving a just transition within the built environment requires a steadfast commitment to safeguarding human rights across financial flows, supply chains, and geopolitics, ensuring that equality prevails over mere equity.

“The time for change is now. We have had a final reminder from this year’s Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that we must take urgent action if we are to prevent our being evicted by an uninhabitable planet. Yet while we may be running out of time, by no means are we running out of solutions. Those solutions are being pioneered around the world right now by our global network, as we advocate together for #BuildingTheTransition,” said Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council.

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