#BuildingToCOP26 Coalition highlights 26 climate action initiatives on Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day

top picture


11 November, 2021




Geneva, 11 November – Today, on Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26, business leaders and national, regional and city-level policymakers will gather to discuss the collaborative solutions that can accelerate climate action over the next decade. As part of the #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is one of the organizers of the Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day in collaboration with UN High-Level Climate Champions, the COP26 Presidency and the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). To mark this dedicated day, the #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition has highlighted 26 game-changing built environment climate initiatives, including:

Buildings are responsible for almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions and 50% of all extracted materials. By 2050, 1.6 billion urban dwellers will be regularly exposed to extremely high temperatures and over 800 million people living in more than 570 cities will be vulnerable to sea-level rise and coastal flooding.

The initiatives showcased today send a clear signal to policymakers and the private sector that the built environment is vital to halving emissions by 2030 and limiting global heating to 1.5℃.

How cross-sectoral collaboration is starting to accelerate

The #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition  has united around shared climate goals for the built environment system, developed through the UNFCCC Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action Human Settlements and Resilience Pathway, highlighting the built environment as a critical solution provider to the climate crisis:

  • By 2030, the built environment should halve its emissions, whereby 100% of new buildings must be net zero carbon in operation, with widespread energy efficiency retrofit of existing assets well underway, and embodied carbon must be reduced by at least 40%, with leading projects achieving at least 50% reductions in embodied carbon.
  • By 2050, at the latest, all new and existing assets must be net zero across the whole life cycle, including operational and embodied emissions. (UNFCCC Human Settlements Pathway).
  • In parallel to decarbonization targets, building resilience into the transformation of the built environment is critical to support urban populations and vulnerable communities in the face of future climate impacts. (UNFCCC Resilience Pathway).

The Coalition represents tens of thousands of businesses, governments and civil society organizations across the world and their alliance signals accelerated, deep collaboration across the entire built environment value chain.

Initiatives highlighted at Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day

In total, 26 initiatives have been announced that are collectively driving deep collaboration and triggering a positive systemic transformation in the built environment:

Business leaders taking part in the climate conference commented on the important role of the built environment for climate action:

Diane Hoskins, Co-CEO, Gensler 
“We believe that the pathway to decarbonization can be significantly accelerated through the built environment. Because buildings substantially contribute to the world’s dependence on GHG, and buildings have decades-long impacts, addressing the built environment has the potential to be a game-changer for global decarbonization.  I am confident that when all parts of the real estate and building ecosystem—designers, suppliers, constructors, owners, and operators each do their part, we will have a massive carbon reduction in this important sector.”

Sherman Kwek, CDL Group CEO
“CDL recognizes that decarbonization is necessary and critical, particularly for the built environment sector which accounts for a significant amount of carbon emissions. As we take affirmative steps to accelerate climate action, we have also expanded our green commitment by including embodied carbon in our net zero goals. We are honored to have been the sole Singapore recipient of the Terra Carta Seal from HRH The Prince of Wales, as announced at COP26, and this reinforces our climate mitigation and adaptation efforts to build a more sustainable future in Singapore and abroad.”

Neil Martin, CEO, Lendlease Europe:
“As an industry, we’re already designing and building places where millions of people will live and work in 2050 and beyond.  It is critical that these places are truly fit for the future; resilient, adaptable and able to play their full part in radically reducing carbon emissions to build the Net Zero Carbon world we so urgently require. As Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day has highlighted, this will require an unprecedented level of determination and collaboration right across the value chain – from investors and developers to builders and materials producers – but it can be done, and there is no time to waste.”

To read the full press release from the #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition, please click here.