Organisations across the built environment play a critical role in ensuring the just transition towards a net zero economy, including through sending a strong ambition signal to policy makers and wider supply chains. UKGBC became the first official Accelerator of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign in early 2021, with the role of amplifying its credibility and membership.

What is the Race to Zero?

Launched in June 2020, the Race to Zero is a global campaign rallying non-state actors to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world. All members of the campaign must meet robust science-aligned criteria, known as the ‘Five Ps’– Pledge, Plan, Proceed, Publish, Persuade. The campaign is holistic, also encapsulating action around the just transition, resilience, and nature. The Race to Zero also has a specific built environment workstream, with a 2030 Breakthrough ambition for “100% of projects completed in 2030 or after are net zero carbon in operation, with >40% reduction in embodied carbon”.

 

What does this mean for members?

UKGBC became the first official Race to Zero Accelerator in early 2021. In support of our role accelerating climate action across the built environment, UKGBC requires the following of its members:

All UKGBC members :

  1. Must actively support the UKGBC mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained, repurposed, and operated.
  2. Must take action to mitigate their organisation’s own contribution to climate change.

All UKGBC members are encouraged, but not required, to join the Race to Zero campaign.

UKGBC Gold Leaf members:

In addition to the above, all organisations seeking to join UKGBC as a Gold Leaf member must also be a member of the Race to Zero. Find out if your organisation is part of the campaign here.

 

How do we join the Race to Zero?

Depending on the type, size and interests of your organisation, the route to becoming a Race to Zero member differs. To join the Race, you must do so through one of its official Partner initiatives. Once you join one of these initiatives, you’re in the Race, and the real works begin. Each Partner initiative offers their own guidance and support to help you through the process of both making and acting on your commitments.

There are several Partner routes into the Race to Zero to consider. Common ones used by UKGBC members include:

We encourage all UKGBC members to explore the routes available to them and decide on the best fit – the list of all Race to Zero Partner initiatives is here.

Information on net zero organisations

In September 2023, we ran a webinar on what it means to be a net zero organisation, including presentations from UKGBC Head of Insights & Innovation, Lucy Rees, and UKGBC members Berkeley Group and Buro Happold.

You can access a recording of our Net Zero Organisations webinar on our Member Portal here.

You can also find our Bitesize Explainer Guide to net zero organisations here.

How is UKGBC supporting members?

As an Accelerator, we support UKGBC members on their journey to net zero by distilling guidance and educational resources, facilitating knowledge-sharing and collaboration around common challenges, and showcasing examples of ambitious action across the value chain. See some of our resources below.

In 2022 we launched a series of Collaboration Café events giving members across the industry the chance to knowledge-share with their peers and engage in candid discussions about their organisation’s progress towards net zero. We ran these events following the “World Café Method” – conversations in small rotating groups allowed for insights on goals, strategies, challenges, and solutions to be shared, and for a diverse range of insights to be harvested. You can explore some of these here.

As a sector-specific Accelerator, UKGBC also supports the Race to Zero’s Built Environment 2030 Breakthrough through the activities of our Advancing Net Zero programme. The guidance and research this programme produces can help members shape their net zero goals in relation to their built assets.

UKGBC is committed to net zero

Alongside advocating for our members to join, we have signed up ourselves.

UKGBC is a member of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign. We have pledged to:

  • Halve our absolute greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
  • Achieve net zero emissions before 2050
  • Develop a robust plan to achieve the necessary measurement and reductions to achieve these targets
  • Disclose our progress publicly on a yearly basis
  • Align our communications, policy and lobbying with our net zero commitment

We have established our baseline emissions footprint and are now developing, and taking immediate action to implement, an emissions reduction strategy. Our targets and progress towards them are being independently verified by Planet Mark, in line with the Science Based Targets initiative’s Corporate Net Zero Standard.

Resources

Additional Guidance from the Race to Zero.

Interpretation Guide

Guidance on how to interpret Race to Zero Criteria for those on their journey.

Race to Zero Lexicon

Clarifies key terms in the net zero space to make the Race to Zero more transparent.

UKGBC Resources

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