WorldGBC launches Circularity Accelerator

16 May 2022

Ramboll sustainability experts inform and help deliver the World Green Building Council’s Circularity Accelerator project - a groundbreaking global programme to advance circular and regenerative built environments.

Circularity Accelerator graphic

Circularity Accelerator graphic

World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its network of over 70 Green Building Councils are #BuildingtoCOP27 by launching Circularity Accelerator — a global programme to accelerate the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency principles in the building and construction sector. 

The built environment is accelerating the climate and biodiversity crisis. Last week, the United Nations (UN) reported we have a 50% chance of exceeding 1.5°C 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. [1] 

Our 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. [2]
  • 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. [1]
  • 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.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, WorldGBC, said: “The UN has reported we have a 50% chance of exceeding 1.5°C 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.

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.”

WorldGBC’s Circularity Accelerator

Circularity Accelerator is a WorldGBC global programme to catalyse the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency in the building and construction sector. 

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 WorldGBC network of 70+ Green Building Councils and their 36,000 members to work towards WorldGBC’s 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

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.  

Phil Kelly, Director, Head of Sustainability for Buildings UK Ramboll said: “To deliver the impact circularity can have, collaboration across the supply chain is absolutely essential. This is why Ramboll is proud to be a Global Partner for the WorldGBC’s Circularity Accelerator project. We look forward to working together through this platform to deliver the much needed tools and thought leadership to regional industry networks across the globe.” 

The Circularity Accelerator is developing the following projects for 2022 to create awareness and educate the industry on the opportunities in a more resource-efficient built environment:

  • A ‘state of the market’ report identifying the key challenges and opportunities for circular built environments. The report is also supported by WSP as a Technical Partner
  • A global awareness campaign to increase the adoption of circularity and resource efficiency principles including training events, publications and campaign tool kits for Green Building Councils and partners

This new programme builds on existing circularity work carried out by Green Building Councils and expands the scope of the topic to a global audience:

Businesses, policymakers and civil society leaders interested in collaborating with the programme can contact Catriona Brady, Director of Strategy and Development at WorldGBC: cbrady@worldgbc.org and Adrian Jackson, Circularity Accelerator Programme Officer at WorldGBC at ajackson@worldgbc.org

Find out more here.

References:
[1] Circle Economy, 2022 Circularity Gap Report, January 2022
[2] Global Alliance of Buildings and Construction (GABC), and International Energy Agency (IEA), Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction Sector, October 2021

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