New global benchmark encourages green building

by Ofentse Sefolo
New global benchmark encourages green building

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), a global network of about 70 Green Building Councils, has recently announced GRESB, a new global sustainability benchmark for real estate portfolios. The GRESB organisation will recognise businesses committed to ensuring their buildings operate at net-zero carbon by 2030 through the WorldGBC’s Net-Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and the GRESB Real Estate Assessment, together known as The Commitment.

Next decade crucial to Paris Agreement
Cristina Gamboa, chief executive officer of the World Green Building Council, says The Commitment provides a framework for real estate organisations to take action towards net-zero carbon portfolios, and a new recognition with the GRESB Real Estate Assessment will champion these actions, providing investor confidence in target setting. She says the next decade is crucial to realise the ambition of the Paris Agreement, so now is the time to be seen to act.

The organisations aim to drive the uptake of net-zero standards across large portfolios in addition to other Green Building Council rating tools already recognised and advocate for all buildings to be net-zero carbon by 2050. The commitment is unique in positioning energy efficiency as a central component to achieving decarbonisation across building portfolios and generating, as well as procuring renewable energy to meet reduced energy demand.

Future-proofing for a net-zero economy
This represents the most cost-effective, best-practice approach to ensure buildings are fit for purpose and provide healthy and comfortable environments. Collaboration between the WorldGBC and GRESB organisations aims to create investor certainty through the commitment framework, annual benchmarking process, value of asset and portfolio decarbonisation strategies, and futureproofing for a net-zero economy.

The commitment is supported by the Green Building Councils’ asset level net-zero standards in 15 countries, which adhere to the WorldGBC’s global principles for net-zero carbon buildings and provide third-party assurance of performance. Under the new partnership, the WorldGBC and GRESB will:

• Explore how the requirements of the commitment can be addressed through the GRESB Real Estate Assessment.
• Collaborate on opportunities to share data and knowledge to champion the leadership and ambition being shown by common members.
• Jointly promote and advocate real estate companies to transition their assets and portfolio towards a decarbonised built environment.
• Develop a pathway for Green Building Councils’ net-zero rating tools and standards to be recognised in the GRESB Real Estate Assessment.

Collaboration advancing sustainable properties
The GRESB Real Estate Assessment recognises that organisations are committed to other environmental, social and governance reporting protocol. This includes Principles of Responsible Investment, Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure and the United Nations (UN) Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Roxana Isaiu, director of Real Estate at GRESB, says she is excited by the opportunity to work with the World Green Building Council to provide greater alignment between the GRESB Real Estate Assessment and the Net-Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. She says this will support the collective industry effort to transition to net-zero emissions and advance sustainable real estate.

The list of commitment signatories comprises 48 businesses and organisations with major private sector leaders, acknowledging the key role that they must play to tackle the climate crisis. The Net-Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has the power to radically reduce the building sector’s environmental impact by spearheading a global shift towards aggressive energy efficiency and creating a complete change from fossil-fuel-based energy to renewables.

Acknowledgement and thanks go to the World Green Building Council for the information contained in this article. For more information visit their website: https://www.worldgbc.org/thecommitment

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