Cristina Gamboa, World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council kicked off September with its latest strategy to tackle the climate emergency and transition to a more efficient built environment in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The two year strategy entitled Sustainable Buildings for Everyone, Everywhere identified three critical areas –  climate change, health and wellness and resource efficiency –  to build 2030 and 2050 targets in line with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

To address these issues, the World GBC outlined three North Star Goals to decarbonise the built environment, design buildings for healthy communities and create a circular economy.

To achieve these goals, the council laid out seven impact pathways to collaborate with global partners, advocate for sustainable policies, encourage rating tools, communicate, educate, innovate new technologies and invest and finance rapid deployment projects.

“A sustainable future is the only future, and history will judge us tomorrow on what we do

Today,” World GBC chief executive officer Cristina Gamboa said. 

“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.”

The council is looking to fix both new and existing buildings with the aim to eliminate operational emissions and reduce embodied carbon by 40 per cent by 2030 with the ultimate goal reach total net zero by 2050.

Construction also accounts for a massive amount of waste, so the council is planning to go zero waste to landfill by 2030 and establish a fully functional circular economy by 2050, where no resources will go to waste as the built environment grows and evolves.

Perhaps the most relevant priority, the council set out targets to address the built environment’s role in socioeconomic disparities and physical factors to create better building standards, improve urban planning and mitigate environmental pollution.

Heath and community wellness has become especially critical with COVID-19 revealing all the flaws in built environments as communities struggle to social distance and avoid spreading a highly infectious disease.

Within the two year span, the council hopes to address air quality with a “plant a sensor” monitoring campaign and improve social sustainability measures to protect construction workers, increase social equity and create more resilient buildings in the face of extreme weather events.

Investing in these changes also poses a great opportunity to boost the economy in challenging times, adding new jobs and investing in the construction sector for a green recovery.

Signify’s head of global public and government Affairs Harry Verharr sees it as the ideal time for the global community to come together and fight both crises at once.

“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.”

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