Built Environment Virtual Pavilion for COP26

UKGBC is working in partnership with Industry to launch a Built Environment Virtual Pavilion for COP26.


May 25, 2021


Policy & Advocacy, Research & Innovation




The Built Environment Virtual Pavilion, is being curated by a coalition of 40+ delivery partner organisations across the built environment sector, to give the sector a strong voice at COP26.  The Virtual Pavilion will enable widespread access and engagement with built environment issues at COP26 that will complement whatever activities are able to happen in person, and provide an online legacy that will last far beyond November.

The Virtual Pavilion comprises the following two main elements:

  1. Exhibition; to include a showcase of global best practice explored through a range of key sustainability themes within a bespoke Virtual Reality (VR) space, with an inspirational and artistic centrepiece. If allowed, this will also be accessible via ocular rift headsets in the Green Zone.
  2. Events series; a programme of tours and talks, keynotes, panels and other downloadable content

Opportunities to get involved:

  • Become a Commercial Partner (see below) – for businesses.
  • Become a Delivery Partner (see below) – for non-profits, trade bodies and professional institutes.

Commercial Partners

The following organisations have come on board to help make this a (virtual) reality. Their support will contribute to ensuring that the built environment’s voice is heard loud and clear at the conference. If this is of interest to your organisation, it’s not too late to sign up as a Commercial Partner – please see the contact details listed at the bottom of the page.

Please note that the deadline for having your organisation logo included in the Virtual Pavilion itself is the 6th of September – we will need a signed contract and high-res organisation logo. We will still be accepting Commercial Partners after this date, and they will be included in communications and on this webpage but not within the Virtual Pavilion space.


Delivery Partners

The Delivery Partners consist of non-profits, trade bodies and professional institutes from across the built environment sector who have begun working closely together to deliver the various elements of the Virtual Pavilion. This involves content curation as well as engaging members and key stakeholders to help promote the built environment’s role in addressing the climate and biological emergencies. For relevant organisations wishing to come on board as a Delivery Partner – please see the contact details listed below.

Please note that the deadline has now passed for new Delivery Partners. To find out more about how you can support the Virtual Pavilion and the associated Build Better Now campaign, please visit buildbetternow.co

Alongside all the above Delivery Partners, Ing Media are onboard as Communications Partners and AECOM are onboard as technical delivery partners.


Further information

If you have any questions about the Virtual Pavilion, would like to find out more about becoming a Delivery or Commercial Partner, or have other questions about getting involved, please contact COP26@ukgbc.org.

For further details about UKGBC’s wider COP26 advocacy, please visit our dedicated COP26 webpage.

Supporting Quotes

Commercial Partners

Jonathan Murphy, CEO, Assura, said: 

“As the NHS embarks on its net zero journey, we hope the Virtual Pavillion will help to highlight the role of the health service’s estate in the UK’s wider net zero ambitions. With our target to create the first net zero carbon medical centre for both construction and operation by 2026, there is huge opportunity to improve health and wellbeing and minimise impact on the environment through the places where we access healthcare in our communities.”   

Simon Wyatt, Sustainability Partner, Cundall, said: 

“For Cundall, partnering with UKGBC on The UK Built Environment Virtual Pavilion and lending our weight to bring about change was a no brainer. We’ve already seen one degree of climate change above preindustrial times, and we need to adapt and show resilience if we are to uphold our climate commitments and slow down the rate of warming. COP26 was always going to be a significant milestone in the global fight against climate change, but the pandemic delayed event has meant that the urgency is even greater. It also means that the momentum is starting to swing and we need our industry to converse and take collective responsibility for our carbon emissions.” 

Don McLean, CEO & Founder, IES, said: 

“As long-standing UKGBC members, IES are delighted to be joining forces with likeminded industry peers at the UK Built Environment Virtual Pavilion. 

COP26 will be a defining event for climate action. As a Glasgow-based company, we will use this opportunity to emphasise the importance of tackling built environment-related emissions, known to account for almost 40% of CO2 emissions globally. 

Digital Twin technologies will play a key role in decarbonisation. The projects that have used our ICL digital twin technology are testament to this. We look forward to sharing our expertise to help drive towards a zero-carbon future.” 

Peter Duff, Chairperson at Shoosmiths, said:  

“Shoosmiths has been leading the way in the UK legal sector advising clients on how best to achieve their sustainability goals, and making sustainable deals happen across many industries and sectors for years.  As such, we’re very pleased to collaborate with UKGBC on the Built Environment Virtual Pavilion, in what promises to be a truly unique experience as part of COP26. 

“Thinking about our built environment, how it is structured, and what we can do to make it sustainable for future generations is of paramount importance. It is incumbent on businesses to lead the way in minimising and eradicating actions that can contribute to climate change.” 

Troup Bywaters + Anders, said: 

“As a commercial partner of the Built Environment Virtual Pavilion at COP26, Troup Bywaters + Anders join a coalition of organisations supporting the UK and World Green Building Council in a global effort to drive climate change mitigation and resilience in the race to zero emissions. 

As a socially responsible and ethical partnership we are committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2030 through ambition, action and advocacy. The Virtual Pavilion will raise the profile of the challenges and solutions within the Cities and Built Environment arena and we look forward to playing our part.” 

Delivery Partners

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive at the British Property Federation, said: 

“While much of the attention at COP26 will be on the leadership expected from governments, the private sector will have an equally important role to play in addressing the climate emergency. Real estate is fundamental to our shared goals and is stepping up to respond to the challenges facing it, its customers and communities. 

“It’s fantastic to be involved in such a collaborative initiative – this virtual pavilion represents an opportunity to emphasise the UK property industry’s commitment to tackle climate change, while sharing knowledge and debating some of the crucial aspects of our pathway to net zero.” 

Clare Shine, Director and CEO, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), said: 

“CISL is pleased to collaborate with the UKGBC and other partners who share our commitment to a built environment fit for the future, which puts the wellbeing of people, nature and the climate at its heart. 

Our future HQ – Entopia – shows how retrofit buildings of all sizes can generate multiple benefits for their occupants, their communities and the living world, whilst remaining commercially compelling. 

By engaging in the Built Environment COP26 Pavilion, CISL aims to spark bolder debate and action for sector-wide progress, explore solutions to common obstacles, and highlight examples that can inspire and excite us all.” 

Professor Sadie Morgan, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Design Group, said: 

“It’s vital that all major infrastructure projects protect and enhance the UK’s natural and built environments in addition to delivering economic and social benefits. That’s why climate is one of the National Infrastructure Commission’s four design principles. We’re excited to work alongside our built environment partners in UKGBC’s virtual pavilion at COP26, and show the benefits great infrastructure design can bring in tackling climate change, protecting against its impacts, and leaving a positive legacy for future generations.”