COP26: Industry calls for action from government and business to address embodied emissions in building construction

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12 November, 2021




Representatives of Stora Enso, Google, Lendlease, WEB Limited Group, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Green Building Council call on governments and industry to make urgent commitments to tackle climate change and achieve a net-zero society.

Geneva, 12 November – Yesterday, leading voices from the building sector came together to call on world governments and the industry to reduce the sector’s environmental impact and accelerate its contribution to the fight against climate change by addressing embodied emissions.

The organizations represented in the COP26 event: “How can construction contribute to solving the climate crisis?”, called on:

  1. national and subnational governments around the world to adopt a life cycle approach to the reduction of emissions from buildings, and ensure that embodied emissions get addressed from the early stages of planning and building design, and
  2. businesses in the building sector to commit to radical collaboration across the value chain to develop, promote, and adopt sustainable building practices that reduce embodied carbon in buildings at scale and without delay.

“A striking 10% of global carbon emissions are said to come from materials and construction processes, often referred to as embodied emissions*. Most of these embodied emissions are released before the building is used. Our industry has an inescapable duty to do better for the planet, for all of us, and we call upon the world’s governments to support us in doing so with regulations and building standards fit for the modern world”,  said Lars Völkel, Executive Vice President Stora Enso Wood Products.

Low-carbon and circular solutions for net-zero buildings, cities and states already exist in the construction industry – solutions that contribute to solving the climate crisis rather than intensifying it. We are at a tipping point in history, and the decisions we make now will impact human lives and the environment for decades to come.

Hosted by Stora Enso, a provider of mass timber solutions based on CLT and LVL, the panel included:

  • Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council
  • Elizabeth W Chege, CEO WEB Limited Group & Chair of African Regional Network
  • Roland Hunziker, Director Sustainable Cities & Built Environment, WBCSD
  • Joe Van Belleghem, Senior Director Real Estate, Google
  • Neil Martin, CEO Lendlease Europe
  • Lars Voelkel, CEO Stora Enso Wood Products

The event was held on the COP26 Cities, Regions & Built Environment Day on 11 November 2021 from 14.30h – 15.30h GMT at the Climate Pledge Theatre as part of the Buildings Pavilion, blue zone Hall 5, and was live-streamed virtually. A recording of the full session can be found here.

* Source: The World Green Building Council

Related releases and commitment referred to by the panelists:

WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment expands to include embodied carbon

WBCSD: The Business Manifesto for Climate Recovery

Lendlease and Stora Enso launch global sustainable timber partnership