WBCSD and global leaders call for historic Built Environment Day at COP26

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26 November, 2020


Insights from the CEO


Geneva, 26 November – The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) together with C40 Cities, Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, Green Building Council Italia, Mission 2020, The Climate Group, We Mean Business, World Green Building Council, World Resources Institute and UK Green Building Council yesterday signed a letter to COP26 President, Alok Sharma, calling for a Built Environment Day at the climate summit in November 2021.

The day at COP26 would be dedicated to the action pathways to accelerate the decarbonization of the built environment, and it would demonstrate how business and governments are catalyzing solutions to the climate crisis.

“We need to think of the built environment as a system in which many different actors need to work together to reduce emissions to net zero by, or before, 2050. Businesses from along the full value chain, but also city leaders and national governments, have to join forces to drive this massive transformation. A Built Environment Day at COP26 would highlight the unprecedented collaboration we are seeing to emerge and provide the momentum for change in this crucial decade” said Roland Hunziker – Director, Sustainable Buildings & Cities, WBCSD.

“It is essential to have a full day to recognize the building and construction industry at COP26. The sector accounts for nearly 40% of global energy and process-related emissions, up to 10% of global employment and around 50% of global wealth. Despite this, our sector often remains a blind spot in global climate negotiations” said Cristina Gamboa – CEO, World Green Building Council.

The letter argues that a Built Environment Day at COP26 would put a spotlight on the sector’s unique capability to deliver powerful zero-carbon solutions and serve as a rallying point for the sector’s diverse stakeholders. The day would allow the sector to collaborate with governments and policymakers and catalyze action toward ambitious targets for 2030 and beyond.

List of signatories:

  • Peter Bakker, CEO, World Business Council Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
  • Marco Caffi, Executive Director, Green Building Council Italia
  • Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group
  • Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council
  • Andrew Higham, Chief Executive, MISSION 2020
  • Julie Hirigoyen, CEO, UK Green Building Council
  • Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business
  • Martina Otto, Head of Secretariat, Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction
  • Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
  • Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities

The letter urges the COP26 organizers to recognize the central role the buildings and construction sector can play in overcoming the key societal challenges we face:

  • The sector can offer solutions to the climate and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 by driving a green recovery and support a climate-resilient future. 
  • It can deliver short-term jobs and growth by improving and retrofitting existing built assets, as well as ensuring new ones do not contribute high levels of greenhouse gasses.

Read the full letter.

For more information, please contact Julia Mitic.