Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment Launched at the Global Climate Action Summit

San Francisco, California, 13 September 2018 – The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) first officially launched its Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. First of all, they are calling it “the Commitment”.

Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment Launched at the Global Climate Action Summit
San Francisco, California, 13 September 2018 – The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) first officially launched its Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. First of all, they are calling it “the Commitment”.

All as part of the momentous Global Climate Action Summit.

Therefore there are celebrating 38 founding signatories.

In an unprecedented statement of coordinated action from business and cities, states and regions. So the 38 signatories, made up of 12 businesses, 22 cities and four states and regions. All gathered at a dedicated session to therefore signal the start of a leadership movement. Similarly, it’s a movement towards a decarbonized built environment.

Businesses across the world representing US$ 22.95 billion in revenue throughout the building and construction supply chain.

They have also set ambitious targets to cut working carbon emissions from their building portfolios of over 10.7 million square meters by 2030.

This will also create a wider market transformation to enable net zero carbon buildings by 2050.

Leaders from Across The Globe

Leaders from some of the world’s biggest cities plus two major regions. For they have also committed to enact regulations and/or planning policy. Policy that will most importantly require all new buildings within their jurisdiction to run at net zero carbon from 2030.

In addition and all buildings, including existing, to run at net zero carbon by 2050. Some cities, state and regional governments, have additionally committed. All to ensure the municipal assets they own, run and develop are net zero carbon by 2030.

Their collective commitment provides strong evidence that things can happen.

That’s from industry to mayors and governors willing to take drastic action. All in need to prevent catastrophic climate change and create more comfortable, healthy and future-proofed environments. Especially for their employees and residents to occupy.  WorldGBC welcomed the following founding signatories of the Commitment:

• Business, recruited from the Green Building Council network – Majid Al Futtaim, property developer in the Middle East; Integral Group, global engineering firm; Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), lighting manufacturer; Cundall, global engineering firm; Kilroy Realty, real estate investment trust; Frasers Property Australia, major developer; AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund, property investment fund; Berkeley Group, residential property developer; Shaw Contract – Commercial division, flooring manufacturer; GPT Wholesale Office Fund, property investment fund; Stockland, property developer and Salesforce, a cloud computing company.

• Cities, recruited in partnership with C40 – Copenhagen, Denmark; Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg & Tshwane, South Africa; London, UK; Los Angeles, New York City, Newburyport, Portland, San Francisco, San José, Santa Monica & Washington DC, USA; Medellin, Colombia; Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver, Canada; Paris, France; Stockholm, Sweden; Sydney, Australia; and Tokyo, Japan.

• States and regions, recruited in partnership with The Climate Group as secretariat for the Under2 coalition – Baden-Württemberg, Germany; Yucatán, Mexico; Navarra and Catalonia, Spain.

Collectively, these organizations committed to eliminating a cumulative total of 209 million tonnes of carbon emissions equivalent (CO2e) from their buildings by 2050.  That is equal to 44.7 million cars off the road for one year.

The Commitment drives the scale and pace of action necessary to cut carbon emissions and requires a transformation in the way we design, build and run buildings.

In conclusion, the aim is to inspire industry and governments to develop aggressive strategies to start the actions necessary for change. Also and to fulfill their obligations within the Commitment. Signatories required to check their current energy use and associated emissions across their portfolios; find opportunities to cut energy wastage and improve energy efficiency; power their buildings from renewable energy sources; and report on progress against decolonization targets.

All signatories expected to meet high verification standards, in the lead up to and in the year of achievement of net zero carbon emission buildings, and report annually on progress.

Business signatories also commit to further advocate through their operations to cut carbon emissions, becoming enablers to radically transform the wider supply chain. For example, the Berkeley Group, who build 10% of London’s homes, have already achieved their target of becoming carbon positive (beyond net zero) for their own operations in 2018 but have committed further to ensure that all their developments make net zero by 2030 through transition planning. AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund, an AUD$5.7 billion fund that invests in Premium and A Grade core office assets in Australia, committed to be carbon neutral across its portfolio of 13 buildings by 2030, which will reduce 70,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

All city signatories have committed to enacting pioneering regulations and/or planning policy. Following the example of cities such as Vancouver’s Zero Emission Plan launched in 2016 which required all new buildings to have no operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The plan developed specifically to ensure comfortable and healthy indoor environments, maximize local economic development, ensure long-term building resilience and to protect housing affordability.

The plan will ease Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy, which aims to ensure all buildings use only renewable energy by the year 2050.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment developed in partnership with a wide stakeholder group including Green Buildings Councils, The Climate Group and C40.

In addition, the C40 announced 19 cities from their network would be joining the Commitment across 9 countries. The Commitment also forms part of EP100. For that is a global corporate leadership initiative for energy-smart companies. They are delivered by the Climate Group in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy. Therefore, businesses signing the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment become EP100 members.

Net Zero Commitment

This Commitment is part of the WorldGBC global campaign Advancing Net Zero, launched in 2016.  To enable all those who own, occupy and develop buildings to act on the Commitment. So WorldGBC’s network of almost 70 Green Building Councils (GBCs) will continue to give a range of transformational and capacity building support. As a result, that’s also including advocacy and policy development. Finally education and certification. Seven GBC net zero carbon buildings certification schemes launched.

All helping moreover to deliver local solutions to a global issue. Consequently under a common WorldGBC definition.

WorldGBC’s next priority is to discuss embodied carbon. That’s where is the carbon dioxide emitted during the manufacture, transport and construction of building materials combines together with end of life emissions.

Embodied carbon emissions must reach net zero by 2050. Then we can be reaching a below 2 degree scenario, and ideally below 1.5 degrees.

Temperature rise below 1.5℃, the construction sector must transformed. By mid-century all buildings must operating at zero carbon emissions, a radical shift from the situation today where 39% of global emissions generated by construction and buildings.

Next Steps

In cities, this figure is often much higher. Committing these 22 mayors to ensure all buildings in their cities are net zero carbon by 2050 is a vital first step and we hope many more cities will follow their lead. Now we need investors, developers and businesses to step up their ambition to carry out the standards being put in place by city halls around the world.

That is why the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has such potential to transform

*The WorldGBC definition of a net zero carbon building is a building that is highly energy-efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources.

In addition, globally, buildings and construction together account for 36% of final energy use. Also they account for 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Let’s also not forget upstream power generation gets included. Operating emissions are 28%. Moreover with construction emissions such as manufacture of materials at 11%[1].

For more information on the Global Climate Action Summit, visit:

To find out more about WorldGBC, visit

About the Global Climate Action Summit

The 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, hosted in San Francisco September 12 to 14, will bring together state and local governments, business, and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place, thereby demonstrating how the tide has turned in the race against climate change and inspiring deeper national commitments in support of the Paris Agreement.

To keep warming well below 2 degrees C, and ideally pursue 1.5 degrees C—temperatures that could lead to catastrophic consequences—worldwide emissions must start trending downwards.

The Summit will showcase climate action around the world, along with bold new commitments, to give world leaders the confidence they can go even further by 2020.

The Summit’s five headline challenge areas are Healthy Energy Systems; Inclusive Economic Growth; Sustainable Communities; Land and Ocean Stewardship and Transformative Climate Investments.

A series of reports set to be launched over the coming months and at the Summit underlining contributing states and regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society, also known as “non-party stakeholders,” to national and international efforts to discuss climate change.

Many partners are supporting the Summit including the Climate Group; the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; Business for Social Responsibility (BSR); CAN International; Ceres; WWF; and Mission 2020.

For more information on the Summit visit

About the World Green Building Council, C40 websiteThe Climate Group’s global EP100 initiative, Alliance to Save Energy and the We Mean Business coalition, the Under2 Coalition

Victoria Burrows, Head of Advancing Net Zero at WorldGBC

Lisa Bate, Chair of World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) Board of Directors

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