May 17, 2022
Circular economy accelerator launched to address role of built environment in climate change
The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its network of over 70 Green Building Councils have launched a Circularity Accelerator — a global programme that sets out to accelerate the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency principles in the building and construction sector. Last week, the United Nations (UN) reported we have a 50 percent chance of exceeding 1.5°C of global heating in the next five years. Between the UN Climate Summit of COP21 in Paris and COP26 in Glasgow, the global economy consumed 70 percent more raw materials than the Earth can safely replenish.
According to the WorldGBC, the built environment is responsible for 37 percent of global energy-related carbon emissions, and the construction sector accounts for around 40 percent of global resource demand every year. By 2050, two thirds of the global population will live in cities, consuming 75 percent of the world’s natural resources, producing 50 percent of global waste and over 60 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, over one-third of the materials used worldwide are for buildings, but less than 9 percent of global materials consumed are circular, i.e. kept in productive cycles of use
Cristina Gamboa, CEO, WorldGBC, said: “The UN has reported we have a 50 percent chance of exceeding 1.5°C of global heating in the next five years. Over one-third of the materials used globally are for buildings, but less than 9 percent of global materials consumed are kept in productive cycles of use.
“The impact of this resource use — associated GHG emissions and pollution and plunging biodiversity — accelerates climate change and the decline of life-sustaining ecosystem services such as the maintenance of clean water and productive soils. These impacts unequally affect the most vulnerable communities and economies around the world. But that can and must change.
“To scale the implementation of resource efficiency solutions as we approach COP27, our new Circularity Accelerator programme is already bringing together experts and leaders from across our Green Building Council network to drive the implementation of resource efficiency actions to scale sustainable built environments for everyone, everywhere.”
The Circularity Accelerator is a WorldGBC global programme to catalyse the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency in the building and construction sector.
To tackle the climate and resource impact of the built environment and to support the ambitions of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, WorldGBC’s Circularity Accelerator convenes the WorldGBC network of 70+ Green Building Councils and their 36,000 members to work towards WorldGBC’s circularity and resource efficiency goals:
- 2030 goal: The sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources within the built environment, achieving zero waste to landfill targets and working towards a built environment with net zero whole life resource depletion
- 2050 goal: A built environment with net zero whole life resource depletion, working towards the restoration of resources and natural systems within a thriving circular economy
Working with businesses leaders and policymakers including the three Circularity Accelerator’s Global Partners — Brightworks, Foster + Partners and Ramboll — this programme sets out to serve as a platform for raising and aligning ambition across the building and construction industry, and create heightened demand for resource efficiency solutions to be implemented before the end of the decade.
The Circularity Accelerator is developing the following projects for 2022 to create awareness and educate the industry on the opportunities in a more resource-efficient built environment:
- A ‘state of the market’ report identifying the key challenges and opportunities for circular built environments. The report is also supported by WSP as a Technical Partner
- A global awareness campaign to increase the adoption of circularity and resource efficiency principles including training events, publications and campaign tool kits for Green Building Councils and partners