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The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has issued a new vision of how buildings and infrastructure around the world can reach 40% less embodied carbon emissions by 2030.

And effectively achieve 100% net zero emissions by 2050.

Building and construction are reportedly responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world, with operational emissions accounting for 28%.

The remaining 11% comes from embodied carbon emissions, or ‘upfront’ carbon that is associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole building lifecycle.

The Bringing embodied carbon upfront report proposes solutions to accelerate immediate action by the entire building and construction value chain.

The report sets out to break down complex terminology and creating a common language to set a consensus-built definition for net zero embodied carbon.

Addressing upfront carbon is crucial to fighting the climate crisis, as new construction is expected to double the world’s building stock by 2060 causing an increase in carbon emissions.

The organisation is also calling for coordinated action from across the building and construction sector to dramatically change the way buildings are designed, built, used and deconstructed.

The report warns that change will not happen unless there is a radical shift in how industry works together.

Approaches such as maximising the use of existing assets, promoting renovation instead of demolition and seeking new circular business models that reduce reliance on carbon-intensive raw materials are also needed.

To kickstart cross-sector collaboration, WorldGBC is calling for new national and sectoral roadmaps to be developed, such as those already produced in Finland, Norway and Sweden, with strong support from industry and policymakers.

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