The 2030 Breakthrough

All projects completed from 2030, are net zero carbon in operation, with >40% reduction in embodied carbon.

Why must we address both operational and embodied carbon? Achieving the 2030 Breakthrough

Acknowledging the organizations working towards this future


Across seven levers of change


How different actors across the built environment can shift the sector

  1. Energy efficiency measures reduce operational energy intensity of new buildings by at least 30%, by 2025
Demand (Public)

Cities, sub-national and national governments are not only policy makers, but also own huge portfolios of public building stock, which they can use to demonstrate leadership and send a public sector demand signal to the market.

  1. 100% of public procurement policy in place by 2025, prioritises retrofit or mandates new developments are net-zero carbon across whole life cycle.
Demand (Private)

In order to prevent and mitigate embodied emissions, increase resource efficiency and stimulate the development and market supply of low carbon products, the private sector can generate a strong and urgent demand signal to activate the market to decarbonise our built environment.

  1. Signatories to WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment exceeds >10% of large businesses, by 2025

Visible, tangible action at local level, to create real change

  1. Mandatory measurement and reporting of whole-life carbon is required by subnational and city planning policy, by 2025

The opportunity to drive sustainable investment

  1. Whole-life carbon cost is internalised in all private investment decisions for buildings and infrastructure, by 2025
Civil Society

Individuals and organisations can mobilise change by championing and demanding a transition away from use of fossil-fuels within their homes

  1. Access to renewable electricity covers 40% of global housing, by 2025

In a sector where standards for new development are stipulated by technical code compliance, mandatory regulation by national governments is a critical lever in transforming the built environment.

  1. Building codes and regulation that mandate new buildings are net-zero in operation are in place by 2025, and building codes that mandate net-zero whole life carbon buildings are in place by 2028

    All actors in the built environment must collect, analyse and report data on whole-life carbon performance of any new build or retrofit project.



Plugging the data gap

  • Measurement and reporting of whole-life (operational and embodied) carbon data for new projects in the built environment only exists in the minority.
  • Measurement and reporting of operational carbon only, is just very slightly more common. For operational carbon, collection and tracking of in-use data to verify projections is also critical to refine energy efficiency approaches. This will become more critical over time.
  • Without measurement of this carbon data, steps for reduction are unlikely to follow. Rapid, radical, industry-wide collaboration and focus is required.

How will this data have impact at scale?


  • The challenge to transform the built environment sector is one of scale. Whilst building developers and designers are beginning to address whole-life carbon building by building; the opportunity to scale impact comes if this approach can be fed into a city or country strategy.
  • By 2025, all countries should have national roadmaps for decarbonizing the built environment, based on consistent methodology to measure and report whole-life carbon.
  • A national roadmap is a valuable first-step tool to set a sector net zero emissions budget and trajectory to 2050 for a country. This can then inform decision making, enabling policy to phase in and continually tighten project whole-life carbon targets at scale.

Supporting signals of change



What progress is the sector making in the Race to Zero?

As of June 2023, we have crossed the tipping point with 20% of major actors from across the building environment value chain having joined the Race to Zero. This tipping point identifies a clear aligned direction in the sector towards the 2030 Breakthrough Outcome.


By revenue, globally, this includes: 17% of major construction companies, 31% of major real estate investors and real estate asset managers and 50% of major engineering consultants and architects. Discover how the 500 largest members are taking action:


Discover more about our actions and initiatives, and other ways the Built Environment is racing to net zero

Built Environment’s Race to Zero gains momentum in May

May witnessed positive momentum in the Built Environment sector. Advancements in embodied carbon methodologies, policy developments, and notable events drove progress in its Race to Zero.

Built Environment takes a major leap in Race to Zero with new joiners and sector progress

The built environment sector is responsible for almost 40 per cent of global energy-related carbon emissions and 50 per cent of all extracted materials. Because of this, the sector is critical for climate action.


GlobalABC 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction


Clean Construction Declaration: Planned Actions to Deliver Commitments