UKGBC has stressed the importance of keeping up with the “pace of change” as the WorldGBC updates its Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment to include accounting for embodied carbon.

Climate change 1

Property Week and UKGBC launched the Climate Crisis Challenge at the start of last year

Signing up to the WorldGBC commitment is the first of the six actions Property Week and UKGBC have been calling on the industry to take as part of the Climate Crisis Challenge.

The commitment already requires companies to account for all operational carbon emissions on all building assets within their direct control. The WorldGBC said the updated commitment, which comes into effect from the beginning of 2023, would also require all businesses to account for the “whole lifecycle impact of all new buildings and major renovations by mandating they are built to be highly efficient, powered by renewables, with maximum reductions in embodied carbon and compensation of all residual upfront emissions”.

The update also requires businesses to track and report business activities that influence the indirect reduction of whole-life carbon emissions.

Karl Desai, senior adviser for advancing net zero at UKGBC, told Property Week that the push to include embodied carbon in the commitment is something that the WorldGBC has been working towards since the original commitment was introduced in 2018.

He added: “To keep up with the pace of change: that’s the reason why the embodied carbon commitments are now being folded into the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.”

Desai said the WorldGBC was making this move in response to appetite from the market to do more in the run-up to COP26. Asked if he was worried about some businesses walking away from the commitment in response to the embodied carbon requirement, he said that was a risk World GBC was willing to take.

“There is that risk that the requirements are too stretching. The WorldGBC is being quite bold in setting out these new requirements.

“The commitment is hitting the sweet spot. If the commitment was a bit too easy and everyone was OK with it, then perhaps it’s not pushing the market forward.”