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Government called to address embodied carbon in building construction

Last week saw leading voices from the building sector unite to call on the governments and industry to make urgent commitments to tackle climate change and achieve a net-zero society.

This involves reducing the sector’s environmental impact and accelerating its contribution to fight against climate change through addressing embodied emissions.

The organisations represented in the COP 26 event: “How can construction contribute to solving the climate crisis?” consisted of Stora Enso, Google, Lendlease, WEB Limited Group, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Green Building Council.


They called on:

  • National and subnational governments around the world to adopt a life cycle approach to the reduction of emissions from buildings, and ensure that embodied emissions get addressed from the early stages of planning and building design

  • Businesses in the building sector to commit to radical collaboration across the value chain in order to develop, promote and adopt sustainable building practices that achieve the reduction of embodied carbon in buildings at scale and without delay

Lars Völkel, executive vice president of Stora Enso Wood Products, says: “A striking 10% of global carbon emissions are said to come from materials and construction processes, often referred to as embodied emissions.”

“Most of these embodied emissions are released before the building is used. Our industry has an inescapable duty to do better for the planet, for all of us, and we call upon the world’s governments to support us in doing so with regulations and building standards fit for the modern world.”

He adds: “As an industry we have low-carbon and circular solutions that contribute to net-zero buildings, cities and states today. Solutions that contribute to solving the climate crisis, rather than intensifying it. We are at a tipping point in history, and the decisions we make now will impact human lives and the environment for decades to come.”

Hosted by Stora Enso, a provider of mass timber solutions based on CLT and LVL, the panel included:

  • Cristina Gamboa, CEO World Green Building Council

  • Elizabeth W Chege, CEO WEB Limited Group & Chair of African Regional Network

  • Roland Hunziker, Director Sustainable Cities & Built Environment at WBCSD

  • Joe Van Belleghem, Senior Director Real Estate, Google

  • Neil Martin, CEO Lendlease Europe

  • Lars Voelkel, CEO Stora Enso Wood Products

The event was held on the Presidency’s Cities, Regions & Built Environment Day on November 11 2021 at the Climate Pledge Theatre as part of the Buildings Pavilion, blue zone Hall 5, and was live-streamed virtually.

A recording of the full session can be found here.


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