New global circular economy drive launched for the building and construction sector

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has announced its intention to baseline how much waste is generated by the building and construction sector, as part of a new global campaign to help businesses across the globe adopt circular economy principles.


New global circular economy drive launched for the building and construction sector

Construction, demolition and renovation accounts for around one-third of global solid waste production each year

Announced today (16 May), the Circularity Accelerator has been launched in recognition of the fact that global levels of material extraction continue to rise as reuse and recycling rates stagnate below 9%. Globally, the construction, demolition and renovation of buildings is estimated to account for a third of all solid waste.

The Accelerator will engage all national and regional Green Building Councils in WorldGBC’s network, of which there are more than 70. Collectively, these Councils have more than 36,000 member organisations.

All members will be encouraged to accelerate their work towards WorldGBC’s 2030 goal of zero waste to landfill and the delivery of net-zero resource depletion across the whole lifecycle of buildings. Members will also be prompted to take a fresh look at how they can incorporate more sustainable materials and use materials more efficiently.

WorldGBC is working with computer-aided design and modelling specialists Brightworks, engineering and consulting giant Ramboll and architecture and design studio Foster + Partners to deliver the accelerator. It will also work with WSP as a technical partner for research.

The Accelerator’s first major workstream will be around the creation of a ‘state of the market’ report, baselining progress to date on adopting circular economy principles and detailing current and future challenges and opportunities. This report should be published by the end of 2022.

Also this year, the Accelerator will launch a set of toolkits and other resources to help businesses become more resource-efficient.

WorldGBC’s chief executive Cristina Gamboa said: “More than 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 greenhouse gas 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.”

The launch of WorldGBC’s Circularity Accelerator comes just days after the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) announced the formation  of a new cross-industry group of experts to create a UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard. The Standard will be achievable for new and existing buildings and will cover operational and embodied carbon.

Join the conversation: edie’s Circular Economy Week starts on 23 May

Taking place from 23 to 27 May, Circular Economy Week 2022 is edie’s themed week of editorial content and events dedicated to supporting sustainability, energy and resource efficiency professionals in accelerating the transition to an economy free from waste and single-use plastics.

Click here for a full list of what to expect and information on how you can get involved. The main attraction will be our afternoon of online Circular Economy Inspiration Sessions on the afternoon of 26 May, featuring experts from L’Oreal, Toast Ale, EY, Reconomy, Canon and more. Click here for full information and to register for free. 

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