World Green Building Council Calls on Companies Across the World to Make their Buildings Net Zero Carbon

Toronto, Canada, 6 June 2018 – The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) today opened their new Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment as part of Building Lasting Change 2018 with WorldGBC Congress Canada in Toronto, and called on market leaders in this critical sector to join as signatories.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment challenges businesses and organisations across the world to take advanced climate action by setting ambitious targets to eliminate operational carbon emissions from their building portfolios by 2030 in order to meet the Paris Agreement ambition of below 2 degrees of global warming.

Commitment signatories will track, verify and report publicly on building performance metrics with a focus on energy use and associated emissions. They will also advocate across their supply chain for all suppliers and partners to follow their own commitment to reach net zero by 2030.

The Challenge is the latest unveiled in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit taking place in San Francisco in September where states and regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society are committing to Taking Ambition to the Next Level.

The aim is to generate the next wave of high momentum able to cut down global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and inspire national governments to step up national climate action plans over the next two years.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has the power to radically transform the building and construction industry by spearheading a global shift towards aggressive energy efficiency as well as a complete change from fossil fuel based power to renewables. In 2015, 82% of final energy consumption in buildings was supplied by fossil fuels – whereas to meet the Paris Agreement, this must become 0%.

Furthermore, the Commitment proves that the sector can and must play a key role in achieving large scale emissions reduction. Globally, almost 40% of energy related greenhouse emissions come from buildings, with 28% coming from the operations of buildings themselves. This equals the total emissions of China and the European Union combined.

The combination of requiring both energy demand reductions and renewable energy solutions across portfolios at a global scale, makes this Commitment unique and the first of its kind to be launched worldwide.  Energy efficiency will dramatically reduce the world’s energy needs, enabling a much faster transition to renewables which will shut down fossil fuel energy production sooner.

Globally, energy efficiency measures could contribute a 48% reduction of global emissions by 2030, with 43% of those coming from buildings. Meanwhile, powering buildings by renewable energy is equally essential to achieving a zero emissions built environment. And with renewables accounting for an estimated nearly 62% of net additions to global power generating capacity in 2016, the reality of a decarbonized world has never been more achievable.

As part of the announcement, WorldGBC celebrated the first three founding signatories of the commitment:

Majid Al Futtaim – a pioneer in shopping mall, retail and leisure destinations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – has committed to eliminating operational carbon emissions from all its assets across 15 countries by 2030, including more than 12 malls and shopping centres, 12 hotels and 3 mixed-use living communities.  Their net positive corporate strategy drives emission reductions through every aspect of the business, for example, by requiring green energy leases for mall retail units.

Integral Group – a global engineering firm specialising in delivery of net zero buildings – have committed to Zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2020 across its 15 global office locations, and actively promotes opportunities for net zero on every project they are engaged on, removing technical, financial and perceptual barriers to uptake.

Signify – formerly known as Philips Lighting – is the world leader in lighting and the lighting company for the Internet of Things. With a presence in over 70 countries, Signify has committed to net zero carbon for all its buildings, currently over 300.

To achieve the Paris Agreement, the global building sector must operate at net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In 2016, WorldGBC launched its global campaign Advancing Net Zero to inspire action from the Green Building Council network and its members towards this transition. The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment is the next major milestone in this campaign; creating a tangible call to action for the global building and construction sector.

Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council, said: “This new Commitment is a huge step forward on the path towards net zero. Our vision is ambitious, but we know that the building industry has the knowledge, the technologies and the capability to deliver. The Commitment will help to create unprecedented demand for green design and construction, stimulating the market to deliver net zero carbon buildings at scale.

“Having three of our corporate partners, Majid Al Futtaim, Integral Group and Signify, as the first founding signatories to the Commitment is both significant and symbolic. Through Majid Al Futtaim’s shopping malls, hotels and properties across MENA; Integral Group taking their own ambitions into their projects, offering clients the knowledge and insight into designing their buildings to net zero; and Signify using their products and own carbon neutrality ambitions to improve and enrich lives. This kind of leadership is the future.”

Ibrahim N Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim said: “Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates spaces where people across the Middle East, Africa and Asia work, rest, shop and play, yet it is also a region that faces huge challenges around water scarcity and energy consumption. We have a responsibility to our stakeholders and our communities to take decisive action in greening our shared spaces. That’s why we are proud to be one of the first signatories to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and we are confident that where we lead, others will follow.”

Kevin Hydes, CEO at Integral Group, said: “We believe that there are two key ingredients to designing net zero buildings: positive people and simple engineering. We have been able to design over 65 net zero projects – several of which have been independently certified as such, verifying that they produce more renewable energy than they consume – so we know it can be done. Signing up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment is a natural next step for us in our drive to build high performance buildings that respect and enrich the earth.”

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Signify, said: “At Signify, we believe in healthy people and a sustainable planet. Becoming a founding signatory for the Net Zero Carbon Commitment is a great way to demonstrate our ambition and conviction to achieve these goals.  Doubling of global building renovation rates – along with switching to clean energy – is a key driver to the transition of zero carbon buildings, and we look forward to working closely with the World Green Building Council, a long-standing partner of ours, to be a beacon of light for carbon leadership in the manufacturing industry.”

To enable all those who own, occupy and develop buildings to take action on the Commitment and drive towards net zero, WorldGBC’s network of over 70 Green Building Councils (GBCs) provide a range of transformational and capacity building support including advocacy, policy development, education and certification activities. Five GBC net zero carbon buildings certification schemes have been launched, with a further 6 due to be released by 2019, helping to deliver local solutions to a global issue. Working together and learning from each other, the network is creating pioneering solutions for buildings and their construction, and will soon develop solutions to address the remaining 11% (and growing) energy –related emissions from the building and construction process which also must reach zero by the middle of the century.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has been developed in partnership with a wide stakeholder group including The Climate Group and C40. It forms part of EP100, a global corporate leadership initiative for energy-smart companies, delivered by The Climate Group in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy. This means the Commitment will benefit from the knowledge of existing campaigns and will provide a tailored offering for the global real estate sector.

The Commitment will be publicly launched at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September.

Patricia Espinosa, GCAS Co-Chair, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: “The 2018 Summit will celebrate the wealth of action underway, challenge everyone to go higher and end with a call to action to all sectors of society to make the next two years a pivotal moment for stepped-up ambition. So we welcome the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment as a catalyst towards rapidly greening our homes and the places where we work and play”.


SOURCE: World Green Building Coucil