Built Environment takes a major leap in Race to Zero with new joiners and sector progress

By Climate Champions | May 4, 2023

The Built Environment sector is responsible for almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions and 50% of all extracted materials, making it critical for climate action. The long lifespan of built assets highlights the need to act now to avoid ‘locking-in’ emissions and climate risk long into the future.

The role of the Built Environment extends beyond emissions reduction. As the ‘stage’ on which our lives are played out, the Built Environment is the platform through which a resilient, equitable, and nature-positive future is delivered.

In recognition of this, the Climate Champions have been supporting the sector to reach net zero emissions by 2050. As part of this work, the Built Environment team has been tracking the progress of ‘major’ businesses in the Race to Zero campaign across four sectoral stakeholder groups, which include architects and engineers, construction companies, real estate investment companies, and real estate asset managers.

The team found that 49% of major architects and engineers by revenue have joined the campaign, while only 16% of major construction companies by revenue have joined. Furthermore, 19% of major real estate investment companies by revenue and 29% of major real estate asset managers by revenue have joined the campaign, indicating that the sector is making progress towards decarbonization.

In April alone, six new companies joined the Race to Zero, including Kerry Properties Limited, a Hong Kong-based real estate company, and Daito Trust Construction Co., Ltd., a Japanese real estate company. Both companies are significant joiners and will contribute to the sector’s efforts to achieve net-zero emissions.

The Built Environment sector has also seen progress in terms of policy, with Dubai announcing its Climate Action Plan to reach net zero and reduce emissions. The WorldGBC has launched its Global Policy Principles, which are driving action in the sector towards achieving net-zero emissions.

In finance, UNEPFI’s Finance Sector Briefing has shown that over 50 major banks and investors have a developed understanding of the physical and transitional risks of real estate. This report paves the way for the finance sector to price the cost of non-resilient and inefficient buildings into their funding decisions.

The sector has several strategically important events coming up, including the World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki, Finland, and the EmiratesGBC Annual Congress, which will discuss the road to COP28.

Notwithstanding the positive signals of change, currently, the Built Environment sector is not on track to achieve decarbonization by 2050. UNEP’s 2022 Buildings Global Status Report shows that while decarbonization efforts have increased since 2015, these efforts are swapped by the growth of the sector globally.

Addressing this call-to-action will require accelerating ‘radical collaboration’ across the value chain to drive market transformation. The upcoming ‘Buildings Breakthrough,’ due for launch ahead of COP28, will provide a forum for driving international collaboration to unlock climate action on buildings.

The Built Environment 2030 Breakthrough Outcome

The Built Environment 2030 Breakthrough Outcome page provides information and resources for anyone interested in tracking the sector’s efforts to achieve net zero. The page highlights the importance of the sector’s transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy and provides updates on the progress being made by key stakeholders, such as major architects/engineers, construction companies, real estate investment companies, and asset managers. The page also features a list of new members who have joined the Race to Zero, along with relevant events, policy developments, case studies, and initiatives, such as Building to COP.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT 2030 BREAKTHROUGH OUTCOME

 

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