New strategy tackles the post-COVID climate emergency

COVIDSupported by its Green Building Councils and their members, the WorldGBC (World Green Building Council) network has launched Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere — a new strategy to accelerate and mainstream the transformation of built environments around the world. Based on climate science and the Global Goals of Sustainable Development (SDGs), the strategy tackles global warming, health and wellbeing and resource impacts to deliver quality infrastructure — a critical need for our planet, communities and economies in the context of the COVID pandemic.

Buildings are responsible for almost 40 percent of global carbon emissions and 50 percent of global material use. 91 percent of people and their families live where air pollution levels exceed World Health Organisation limits. People spend 90 percent of their time indoors, so the quality of the indoor environment is critical in fighting infectious disease transmission. By 2050, the global population will increase to 9.8 billion and the world’s building stock will double, accelerating devastating environmental, social and economic impacts of the built environment.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”A sustainable future is the only future, and history will judge us tomorrow on what we do today.”[/perfectpullquote]

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council

“To tackle the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, WorldGBC’s new strategy establishes three ‘North Star Goals’ for our sector: Climate Action, Health & Wellbeing, and Resources and Circularity. To reach these goals, our network has outlined key milestones for 2030 and 2050 and seven impact pathways to achieve them.

A sustainable future is the only future, and history will judge us tomorrow on what we do today. Together with our network’s leadership and solutions, we will continue to scale up collective action for net zero carbon, healthy and sustainable built environments. In the face of COVID-19, these efforts will enable the much-needed green and equitable economic recovery all around the world.”

Emmanuel Normant, VP Sustainable Development, Saint-Gobain

“I welcome the launch of the renewed WorldGBC strategy, Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere, developed around three essential areas – climate change, health and wellbeing, resources and circularity.

This document, that is very aligned to Saint-Gobain’s approach, will be a key milestone to shape the buildings of tomorrow. Its North Star Goals will become a reality with significant training and information, voluntary commitments along the value chain and proactive advocacy towards policymakers.”

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs and a Vice President at Signify

“The launch of the World Green Building’s Council new two-year strategy “Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere” is a critical leadership program to guide the way towards the decarbonization of the global built environment. It is no coincidence that building renovation has been identified as a top priority of post-COVID 19 recovery programs around the world to boost jobs and economic growth and accelerate circular business models. By coming together to urge the right course of action, we can stave off the worst effects of climate change, paving the way for a brighter, more prosperous, and better future for our planet.”

Wong Heang Fine, Group CEO, Surbana Jurong Group

“The World Green Building Council’s new strategy is bold and sets the tone for sustainability in the coming decades.
The step to decarbonising value chains reflects the next frontier for climate action, and it will initiate innovative and creative designs and applications for the built environment.
As a leader in designing and delivering sustainable buildings and infrastructure, Surbana Jurong supports the new strategy and is committed to redefining cities and transforming them into sustainable and liveable spaces, where both present and future communities and businesses can thrive.”

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“sustainability is the new normal”[/perfectpullquote]

Christine Lemaitre, CEO, DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council)

“Since its establishment in 2007, the DGNB German Sustainable Building Council has been advocating for a transformation of the construction and real estate industry based on a holistic understanding of quality.

For us and our members following COVID, “sustainability is the new normal” has been the goal for many years. With the newly-formulated strategy, the WorldGBC is taking up exactly this approach, which is why we absolutely support the activities.”

Henrietta Budai, Secretary General (CEO), HuGBC (Hungary Green Building Council)

“HuGBC became an Established member of the World Green Building Council last year. However, we fully supported all strategies that have been developed in recent years.

The new strategy formulates those missions and goals we also work for in Hungary. I think that resilience and speed is a key value when executing the strategy. We as national green building councils have to anticipate and also adopt quickly to the ever-changing challenges. We must work hard to support our stakeholders in accelerating the changes in mindsets and behaviours required for a better future.”

Thomas Mueller, President and CEO, Canada Green Building Council

“The WorldGBC’s Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere strategy echoes the pressing need to engage in meaningful climate action now, while also building healthier, resilient communities for the wellbeing of all Canadians.
It reflects our own commitments in Canada, where we rallied the industry to champion a green recovery that prioritizes green buildings. Investment in high performing, healthy buildings and retrofits can reignite recovering economies by providing skilled jobs, creating efficiencies through lower carbon emissions, and driving the innovation needed to pivot economies toward a low carbon future. To achieve this, we need collective action of the industry now, here in Canada and around the world.”

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”We are facing a period of great cultural transformations”[/perfectpullquote]

Giuliano Dall’Ò, President, Italia Green Building Council

“Due to COVID we are facing a period of great cultural transformations, which will irreversibly and positively change our way of conceiving the places where we live.

The World Green Building Council’s new strategy is crucial for our society, environment and economy. If we want to totally decarbonise our built environment by 2050, it is necessary to involve the entire building chain immediately in a coordinated manner and establish Life Cycle Assessment analysis as the reference point for the design of new buildings and renovation of existing ones. We must aim for a circular design with the objective of ensuring that the resources used are conserved as long as possible.”

Dr Cary Chan, Executive Director, Hong Kong Green Building Council

“Sustainable buildings nourish everyone, everywhere. As a key driver of the green building agenda for Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) embraces the World Green Building Council’s new global strategy, which leads the global community to create a more liveable Earth for our future generations after COVID.

To catalyse the development of this bold and ambitious strategy, the HKGBC is committed to reinforce the bonding of government, industry and community to initiate action-oriented changes, bringing positive impacts to the
economy, society and the environment.”

John Alker, Director of Policy & Places, UK Green Building Council

“The buildings and places where we live and work are a key determinant of health and wellbeing – for both people and planet. WorldGBC’s incontrovertible North Star goals represent a call to action for the built environment sector, to do everything in our power to tackle head on the climate and biodiversity crisis, and help address complex socio-economic issues. The Green Building Council network, from local to global, provides a community through which we face these challenges together. This strategy sets the tone for what will be a defining decade.”

Guillermo Simon Padros, CEO, Argentina Green Building Council

“Buildings are responsible for nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that impacts on the environment and on human health. The WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment launched in 2018 represents a step change in the ambition of policymakers, advocates and the private sector pledging to take urgent action to ensure their buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030. As part of a global network leading the transformation of the built environment, Argentina Green Building Council supports the Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere strategy, which represents a huge opportunity to shape the planet and the people into a healthier and sustainable world.”

Dr Ali Al Jassem, CEO, Emirates Green Building Council

“EmiratesGBC’s support to World Green Building Council’s campaign for ‘Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere,’ underlines not only our commitment to promote sustainable built environments but also the larger goals of the UAE to usher in a greener future. The North Star Goals of climate action, health & well-being, and resources & circularity complement the ongoing efforts by the nation to achieve net zero carbon buildings by 2050. Through our partnership, we are also lending momentum to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The campaign comes at the most opportune time as there is an increasing focus on human wellness following the COVID-19 pandemic.”

WorldGBC’s Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere can be read here.

Image by Colin Behrens