WorldGBC launches Circularity Accelerator to tackle climate and resource impact of built environment

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its network of over 70 Green Building Councils has launched a Circularity Accelerator as part of its build up to COP 27. The initiative is billed as a global programme to accelerate the adoption of a circular economy and resource efficiency principles in the building and construction sector.

The Circularity Accelerator aims to catalyse the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency in the building and construction sector, said a note from the organisation.

According to a statement, to tackle the climate and resource impact of the built environment and to support the ambitions of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, WorldGBC’s Circularity Accelerator convenes the organisation’s network of councils and their 36,000 members to work towards circularity and resource efficiency goals:

• 2030 goal: The sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources within the built environment, achieving zero waste to landfill targets and working towards a built environment with net zero whole life resource depletion

• 2050 goal: A built environment with net zero whole life resource depletion, working towards the restoration of resources and natural systems within a thriving circular economy

As per the WorldGBC, last week the United Nations (UN) reported there is a 50% chance of exceeding 1.5-degrees Celsius of global heating in the next five years. Between the UN Climate Summit of COP21 in Paris and COP26 in Glasgow, the global economy consumed 70% more raw materials than the Earth can safely replenish.

The WorldGBC noted that the planet thrives through circular, natural and regenerative systems, which are being damaged by the impacts of the built environment:

• The built environment is responsible for 37% of global energy-related carbon emissions, and the construction sector accounts for around 40% of global resource demand every year. By 2050, two thirds of the global population will live in cities, consuming 75% of the world’s natural resources, producing 50% of global waste and over 60% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

• Over one-third of the materials used worldwide are for buildings but less than 9% of global materials consumed are circular, i.e. kept in productive cycles of use

• The impact of this resource use-associated GHG emissions and pollution and plunging biodiversity accelerates climate change and the decline of life-sustaining ecosystem services such as the maintenance of clean water and productive soils

“The UN has reported we have a 50% chance of exceeding 1.5-degrees Celsius of global heating in the next five years. Over one-third of the materials used globally are for buildings but less than 9% of global materials consumed are kept in productive cycles of use. The impact of this resource use — associated GHG emissions and pollution and plunging biodiversity — accelerates climate change and the decline of life-sustaining ecosystem services such as the maintenance of clean water and productive soils. These impacts unequally affect the most vulnerable communities and economies around the world. But that can and must change,” said Cristina Gamboa, Chief Executive Officer of WorldGBC.

She added, “To scale the implementation of resource efficiency solutions as we approach COP27, our new Circularity Accelerator programme is already bringing together experts and leaders from across our Green Building Council network to drive the implementation of resource efficiency actions to scale sustainable built environments for everyone, everywhere.”

Working with leading businesses and policymakers including the three Circularity Accelerator’s Global Partners — Brightworks, Foster + Partners and Ramboll — this programme will serve as a platform for raising and aligning ambition across the building and construction industry, and create heightened demand for resource efficiency solutions to be implemented before the end of the decade, the WorldGBC noted.

Middle East Consultant recently interviewed four regional experts on the GCC countries’ respective journeys towards Net Zero. Read about what experts from AECOM, AESG, Climatize Engineering Consultants and Gensler had to say.

Read more about the Circularity Accelerator on WorldGBC’s website.

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