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WBCSD’s Roadmap to Nature Positive: Foundations for the built environment system is a step-by-step guidance with supporting material developed through extensive engagement with 8 companies, and Arcadis as lead consultant. 

This guidance identifies five subsystems to describe the different characteristics of the built environment system: buildings, urban infrastructure, transport infrastructure, marine and coastal infrastructure, and a crosscutting subsystem covering upstream mining and extraction activities. 

Download the roadmap

2023-07-31 | Meta Thurid Lotz; Andrea Herbst
Institute for Energy Efficicency and Climate Policy (IEECP)

This policy brief covers the following key messages:

  • A circular economy can contribute significantly to reduce carbon emissions and achieve the climate targets in the hard-to-abate sectors
  • Buildings are a key value chain related to a high demand for energy-intensive materials and characterised by high circularity potentials
  • Within the EU-funded project newTRENDs, a modelling approach and data basis were developed and applied, that quantify the contribution of circular buildings to the industry decarbonisation
  • Besides the cycling of materials, actions addressing building design and use can reduce steel and cement demand for buildings by up to 38% respectively 26% in 2050
  • The current EU policy mix is not sufficient to exploit these material demand emissions reduction potentials
  • newTRENDs recommends to focus on 5 key points to improve the policy mix, highlighting the central role of green public procurement in the early stage of a circular economy:
    • A life cycle perspective: The policy mix should address all stages of a building’s lifecycle well-balanced and without contradictions.
    • Broaden the scope: An understanding of the circular economy beyond the cycling of materials is necessary to fully exploit its potentials.
    • Push and pull: The instruments should support both – a market push and a market pull, to equip the EU market for a circular economy.
    • From voluntary to obligatory: Instruments such as green public procurement can be used to roll out obligatory requirements to all consumers.
    • Stay focused: Product-specific requirements are necessary to meet the special requirements for buildings (affordability, liveability and sustainability).
2021-03-17 | Mass Timber Institute
Mass Timber Institute

Although numerous jurisdictions have established design guides for tall mass timber buildings, architects and engineers often do not have access to the specialized building science knowledge required to deliver well-performing mass timber buildings. Mass Timber Institute(MTI) worked collaboratively with industry, design professionals, academia, researchers and code experts to develop the scope and content of this mass timber building science primer.

This report introduced mass timber building systems, which are made of wood products that are engineered to be strong, durable and fire-resistant. The report explains how mass timber buildings can be designed, constructed and evaluated in Canada, and what are the benefits and challenges of using this building system. It also compares mass timber buildings with other building systems in terms of environmental impacts and life cycle assessment. 

Read the full report here.

2023-09-14 | International Energy Agency (IEA); International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions
International Energy Agency (IEA); International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions

The Breakthrough Agenda Report 2023 is an annual collaboration between the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions, focused on supporting stronger international collaboration to drive faster reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. This year’s report shows that current efforts on clean energy and sustainable solutions, while improving, are not yet delivering the levels of investment and deployment required to meet international climate goals. In response, it calls on governments to strengthen collaboration in key areas – such as standards and regulation, financial and technical assistance and market creation – to turbocharge the transition.

The 2023 edition, following the development of the Buildings Breakthrough, includes a Buildings chapter, developed in collaboration with GlobalABC and where five areas are identified as priorities for international collaboration to deliver near-zero emissions and resilient buildings: Standards and certification; Demand creation; Finance and investment; Research and deployment; and Knowledge and capacity-building

Read the report now

2023-09-21 | The Global Cement and Concrete Association
The Global Cement and Concrete Association

Member companies of the Global Cement and Concrete Association have come together as leaders in the sector to commit to producing net zero concrete by 2050, in line with global climate targets – accelerating the CO2 reductions that we have already achieved. The GCCA 2050 Net Zero Roadmap sets out in detail how collectively, in collaboration with built environment stakeholders and policymakers, we will fully decarbonise the cement and concrete industry and provide net zero concrete for the world.


2023-09-12 | Anna Dyson, Naomi Keena, Mae-ling Lokko, Barbara Reck, Christina Ciardullo

The buildings and construction sector is by far the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for a staggering 37% of global emissions. The production and use of materials such as cement, steel, and aluminum have a significant carbon footprint.

Historically, much of the sector's progress has centered around reducing the "operational” carbon emissions of buildings – those emissions stemming from heating, cooling, and lighting. Projections suggest that these operational emissions will decrease from 75% to 50% of the sector's total emissions in the coming decades.

However, solutions to mitigate the buildings "embodied" carbon emissions – originating from the design, production, and deployment of materials such as cement, steel, and aluminum – have lagged. To effectively address this challenge, international action and collaboration must bring together all stakeholders from across the entire lifecycle of the buildings sector, both within informal and formal settings.

Building Materials and the Climate: Constructing a New Future, a report developed by UNEP, Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture in the framework of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), highlights the pressing need to establish innovative cooperation models to decarbonize building materials. These models are critical if we are to achieve the world's ambitious target of net zero emissions from the built environment sector by mid-century.
The report also pinpoints three overarching strategies which need to be implemented together to decarbonize building materials:

  1. Avoid unnecessary extraction and production.
  2. Shift to regenerative materials.
  3. Improve decarbonization of conventional materials.

By implementing these strategies jointly, we can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable built environment, aligning with our global climate objectives.

Download the report here


2023-08-31 | Prof. Usha Iyer-Raniga, Dr. Olivia Ho, Dr. Aviruch Bhatia, Ms. Kamani Sylva, Ms. Kullanan Sukwanchai, Assoc Prof. Sadykova Chinara.
RMIT University

This Guidebook is a summary of circular economy concepts, built environment circular economy local-based case studies, and how circular economy concepts can be inte- grated into teaching and learning. This Guidebook is based on collaborations undertak- en for a research project by five universities: RMIT University, University of Peradeniya (UoP), Arabaev Kyrgyz State University (AKSU), TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI- SAS), and Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

The project was funded by United Nation University’s Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research (ProSPER.Net) 2022-23.


It is estimated that around 80% of cities worldwide do not have affordable housing options for the majority of their population (1). The world needs to provide two billion homes over the next 75 years — meaning 96,000 new affordable homes need to be built every day (2).

The global housing crisis, interlinked with the dual crises of unprecedented climate change and biodiversity loss, is one of the greatest social challenges we are facing today. Housing infrastructure can continue to exacerbate problems or can be part of the solution. The global building and construction industry needs a monumental shift.

The ‘Sustainable and Affordable Housing’ report challenges the widespread perception that affordable and sustainable housing is not a mass market solution. Many of the solutions to the global housing crisis already exist. The case study content from five regions highlights cutting-edge built environment projects, making sustainable and affordable housing a reality for all — from 3D printed homes in Kenya, community engagement and collaborative financing models in Nepal, to disaster-resilience retrofits in the Philippines. 

Through this publication, WorldGBC champions a unified vision for sustainable, affordable housing and spotlights best practice worldwide to demonstrate opportunities for success that could be scaled for greater impact. An analysis of case study data derives key calls to action for policy makers, the finance community, community approaches, and the design and construction industry.

2023-07-26 | WorldGBC

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) published the fifth edition of its annual Advancing Net Zero (ANZ) Status Report.

The report showcases breakthrough action from across the GBC network, including the 35 GBCs participating in WorldGBC’s global Advancing Net Zero programme, 175 signatories to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (the Commitment), the wider GBCs network, partners and more. In addition, the report also highlights collaborative efforts from the market that support WorldGBC’s mission to achieve 100% net zero carbon buildings by 2050.

Read the full report here


2022-07-01 | Cities Alliance
Cities Alliance

Rapid urbanisation and climate change are two of the major challenges of our time. People living in cities' poorest areas are agents of change both in terms of climate mitigation and adaptation. This new publication explores the intertwining nature of circular economy, urbanisation and poverty. It looks at how existing approaches of circularity and the informal economy can be taken up and reinforced to find solutions to these challenges.

Cities Alliance has been supporting cities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to address informality while supporting inclusive and sustainable urban growth.

This publication examines how circular economy and climate mitigation actions can improve socioeconomic conditions in developing cities, and the role of an integrated, inclusive city planning approach.

Read the publication here