Built Environment reaches milestone as 20% of key actors join the Race to Zero

In June 2023, the Built Environment sector, a key contributor to global energy-related carbon emissions and resource extraction, has achieved a critical milestone in its journey towards becoming net zero. By Climate Champions | July 6, 2023

20% of major actors* within the Built Environment sector have pledged commitment to the Race to Zero. The actors are publically setting credible targets to cutting emissions to net zero by 2050 and contributing to halving emissions by 2030 across scopes 1, 2, and crucially 3.

This advancement signals an emerging aligned vision in the sector working towards the trajectory of it’s “2030 Breakthrough Outcome”, whereby every project due for completion in 2030 and beyond will operate with net zero emissions and have at least 40% less embodied carbon than today’s standards. This outcome provides a shared vision for all actors in the system to align the pace and direction of their net-zero transition behind.

At COP26, the Climate Champions laid down a gauntlet, challenging more than 30 sectors that constitute the global economy to combine their skills, ingenuity, and resources to accomplish a set of transformations required to accelerate the transition to net zero. The so-called 2030 Breakthroughs tasked 20% of key actors within each sector to commit to aligning their ambition with these outcomes by 2023.

This 20% commitment is known as ‘Breakthrough Ambition’ – a point where an emerging alignment is gathered among a critical mass of key actors, enabling them to deviate from the business-as-usual trajectory and collectively deliver breakthrough outcomes swiftly. This 20% is seen as a key milestone towards an emerging aligned vision for the direction and pace of change in the sector. Systemic change is not linear, but exponential. Hence, when 20% of the market leaders align their vision and commitment, the rate of transition gains inertia. By 2030, the aim is to achieve Breakthrough Outcomes in all sectors of the global economy to deliver a net zero world on time.

Find out more about the systems transformation underway.

Tracking progress and turning ambition into action

As the Built Environment sector undergoes this transformation, progress tracking becomes increasingly important. This commitment must convert into tangible actions, and more actors need to join the movement to expedite progress along the Climate Action Pathways. The new Race to Zero Data Explorer provides visibility into how the 500 largest members are taking action, fostering accountability and transparency.

Discover the data explorer 

Despite the emerging alignment of non-Party actors, we must not lose sight of the fact that true progress lies in the actual reduction of emissions. The Built Environment sector is not on track to achieve decarbonization by 2050, as efforts to decarbonise have been overtaken by the growth of the sector globally. Responsible for almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions and 50% of all extracted materials, the Built Environment sector is increasingly recognized as a critical sector for climate action – most recently with the COP 28 Presidency decision to include ‘Built Environment’ within the conference programme.

*Major actors refer to businesses on the CDP Climate High Impact List with additional input from CCT sector leads. These businesses represent the most significant companies from a market capitalisation and GHG emissions perspective.