A new report by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) brings into focus the role of embodied carbon in the increasing global emissions problem.

The report, to which the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) is a signatory, calls for a bold new vision in tackling the issue of carbon emissions in the building and construction industry. Specifically, it calls for buildings and infrastructure to cut embodied carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and achieve 100 percent net zero emissions from buildings by 2050. 

According to ASBEC executive director Suzanne Toumbourou, the report emphasises that the building sector needs to take coordinated action to understand product lifecycles and processes.

“Here in Australia, ASBEC creates collaboration across the building sector to achieve a common vision and establish clear policy pathways to lowering emissions. We showcase the fact that many of our market-leading members are already demonstrating best practice when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.

“Global companies like Skanska have said they are willing to work on this, and Australian company Lendlease is used as an example of best practice in Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront, for their work with engineered timber. By adopting the tools in the report, we’ll know how much carbon has been emitted in the production of building materials, so we can compare like with like,” Toumbourou added.

ASBEC has also partnered with ClimateWorks Australia to create Built to Perform, an industry-led roadmap to a zero carbon-ready zero building code. Additionally, the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council has created the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings – both of which focus on operational emissions. 

ASBEC’s advocacy has helped inform Australia’s national and state governments in their move towards net zero building operations. The next step is to work together on progressive embodied carbon reduction targets.

Read the report Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront.