BLOG: Race To Zero – It’s high time for climate courage, ambition, and ACTION!
In the year of climate action and COP26, and on the first day of the crucial Biden climate summit, UKGBC is calling on its members to make stronger, more credible climate commitments, and take immediate action towards net zero carbon.
We won’t reach zero emissions in time if we don’t start moving today – as a central part of our recovery from Covid-19, which has brought us face to face with long-standing system risks. It’s far easier and cheaper to tackle systemic risks upfront, and mitigate their worst impacts, than to wish them away. Prevention is better than cure. Yet today, the biggest barrier we face in achieving net zero is delay, not denial.
The Paris Agreement sets the roadmap for reaching that final net zero destination, with pit stops every five years, starting in 2020. COP26 in 2021 is a critical milestone in that journey. For it to succeed, governments and states need to be convinced that businesses (large and small), investors, cities and universities are already showing leadership by setting out plans for a fast transition to net zero and collaborating across their supply chains to deliver this in practice.
Many of our members already have ambitious, credible targets to decarbonise their organisation in line with climate science in place. But in order to drive commitment right across the membership, UKGBC is issuing an urgent call to all its members to take action and align their organisations to 1.5C emissions reduction trajectories in line with science as soon as possible.
Race To Zero is the most credible net zero carbon alliance
UKGBC is calling for all its members to join the UNFCCC-backed Race To Zero campaign.
Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally climate leadership from businesses, cities, regions, universities and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. All organisations recognized by Race To Zero are committed to the same overarching goal: halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible and by 2050 latest.
UKGBC is contributing to the Race To Zero by driving our members to join the campaign. We are excited to help accelerate the Race.
The following initiatives provide a route for individual businesses/entities to join the growing movement towards Race To Zero:
- Investors: Net-Zero Asset Owners Alliance
- Businesses: Business Ambition for 1.5 C – Our Only Future, The Climate Pledge and Exponential Roadmap Initiative
- Small and Medium-sized enterprises: SME Climate Hub
- Certified B Corporations: B Corporation
- Chambers of Commerce: International Chamber of Commerce Chambers Climate Coalition
- Cities: Deadline 2020, Science Based Targets for Cities and ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability
- Regions/States: Under2Coalition
- Universities: Global Universities and Colleges for the Climate, Second Nature
See full list of ways to join the Race To Zero here.
Buildings are a major source of carbon emissions
UKGBC is calling for all its members to target action on their own buildings by signing up to the WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.
WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment promotes and inspires leadership action towards the breakthrough outcome of achieving net zero operational carbon buildings by 2030 for all buildings within direct control of the organisation, and advocating for all buildings to be net zero operational carbon by 2050 via core business activities. The critical priority in meeting this commitment is to dramatically reduce energy demand, transition away from fossil fuels, procure renewable energy and credible offsets as a last resort.
By signing up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, organisations commit to owning and occupying buildings that operate at net zero carbon emissions by 2030. To achieve this, one has to measure, disclose and assess annual building related energy usage and carbon emissions, and implement a decarbonisation plan across the portfolio. Organisations are expected to have their energy and carbon reductions third party verified, and to demonstrate leadership in the built environment industry’s transition to net zero carbon buildings.
The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment itself is a frontrunner initiative to the Race To Zero so signatories to the Commitment will be demonstrating their actions to go further, faster to accelerate the race to zero emissions by 2050.
UKGBC is introducing new requirements of its business members
UKGBC is making joining the Race To Zero a membership requirement of its Gold Leaf members, and having a corporate commitment to climate action a membership requirement of all business members. For businesses that do not yet meet these requirements, there will be a period of at least 12 months from their membership renewal date in FY2021/22 in which to do so. We hope to showcase all corporate member commitments to climate action on UKGBC’s Climate Commitment Platform in due course.