Skip to main content

News and stories

WBCSD's new reports launched!

Discover WBCSD's new reports 'Decarbonizing Construction - Guidance for Investors and Developers to Reduce Embodied Carbon' & 'Net Zero Buildings – Are we on track?'! These reports address how we can drive the decarbonization of the built environment by focusing on, and accounting for, all emissions across the full life cycle of buildings, by adopting targets that are in line with the Paris Agreement, and by involving the organizations in the value chain that have the highest influence over the decision-making process, notably demand-side actors such as investors, developers, end users as well as local governments. 

Net-zero buildings: Where do we stand?

This report, developed in collaboration with Arup, discusses six whole life carbon buildings case studies based on the WBCSD Building System Carbon Framework and presents an analysis of the results. It calls on the built environment industry to adopt a whole life-cycle approach to assessing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings. Today, less than 1% of building projects calculate and report their full carbon footprint. With the building industry being responsible for 38%, or around 14 gigatons, of all energy-related GHG emissions each year, global decarbonization trajectories indicate that the industry needs to reduce these emissions by 50% by 2030 if it is to reach “net zero” by mid-century and achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. The report argues that this could be made possible by setting explicit targets from the start of a building project, through collaboration along the value chain and by sharing data openly and widely. 

Key findings:

  • Carry out whole life carbon assessments on all projects, using a consistent methodology and sharing the data obtained openly. 
  • Commit to clear, simple global targets across the buildings industry, including a valid approach to residual emissions based on a clear definition of a net-zero building that takes into account whole life-cycle carbon.
  • Develop consistent and transparent carbon intensity certification for components, systems and materials used by the industry.
  • Achieve wider system collaboration. Individual organizations taking action is not enough

Download the report here

Decarbonizing Construction - Guidance for Investors and Developers to Reduce Embodied Carbon

This report explains how developers and investors can set requirements for reducing upfront carbon emissions at different stages of project development, with 50 proposed measures to choose from, of which 12 core requirements. The influence over reducing carbon emissions from buildings projects is highest at the earliest stage of decision making, and this report provides practical recommendations for doing that.

  1. The measures are grouped into one of the following five categories:
  2. Create a carbon policy that sets out consistent requirements for all projects to follow.
  3. Set targets and transparency requirements for projects to meet across all their phases.
  4. Prioritize circularity – that is, less new building and more reuse and refurbishment.
  5. Design optimization to use less material and to choose materials with a low carbon footprint.
  6. Low-carbon procurement to ensure acquisition of materials with a low carbon footprint.


Download the report here

In addition, WBCSD has published an article, 'Decarbonizing the 40% - How the finance sector can drive the transformation to a net-zero built environment', where Roland Hunziker and Yi Sun argue that the finance sector can significantly influence the building industry to drive down emissions through their market decisions and transactions, thereby tackling financial institutions’ own “financed” emissions. Property developers, banks, and investors can set requirements for low-carbon solutions across the full life cycle of built environment projects. It is therefore paramount for the financial sector to support the industry-specific alignment with climate and sustainability targets. 

Happy reading!