Third-party commitments help companies demonstrate their climate commitments in a credible, transparent way

There are currently seven third-party commitments recognised on the Climate Commitment Platform as being relevant to the built environment. Each commitment has a varying degree of focus on buildings and businesses should therefore evaluate each to ensure best fit.

WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (the NZCB Commitment) is considered one of the most relevant commitments to the buildings sector given its central focus on net zero carbon buildings. A description of all seven commitments and comparison with the NZCB Commitment is available below.

Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
Organisation

World Green Building Council
(no fee to sign up)

Core requirement(s)

Commit to achieving net zero operational carbon for building areas within direct control by 2030 and advocate for a net zero carbon built environment by 2050.

Scope of emissions covered

All scope 1 (e.g. on-site gas use) and scope 2 (e.g. purchased electricity) emissions related to building energy use within an organisation’s direct control; reducing scope 3 emissions is encouraged under Advocacy.

Please note, WorldGBC is developing sub-sector guidance to help signatories reduce scope 3 emissions, due to be published in November 2020.

Reporting and verification

Annual disclosure of energy performance and carbon emissions at portfolio level beginning two years after signing up to the Commitment; third-party verification of portfolio level data or asset level certification; energy action plan demonstrating continued improvement towards net zero by 2030.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

N/A

Better Buildings Partnership Commitment
Organisation

Better Buildings Partnership (UK)
(no fee to sign up)

Core requirement(s)

Commit to publishing a pathway for real estate assets under management  to be net zero by 2050, including direct and indirect investment, operational and embodied carbon and owner and occupier emissions.

Scope of emissions covered

Scope 1 and 2 emissions; the vast majority of scope 3 emissions related to real estate investment and management, including tenant energy use and  embodied carbon for development, refurbishment and fitout works.

Reporting and verification

Annual disclosure of energy performance of portfolio, as a minimum at portfolio level by geography (ideally at property level); publish a net zero carbon pathway by end 2020 and disclose performance against that pathway annually; publish a portfolio climate resilience strategy by 2022.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • Both the BBP Commitment and NZCB Commitment are aligned in prioritising energy demand reductions and energy efficiency improvements. The NZCB Commitment can be used as demonstrable action towards net zero in line with the BBP pathway.
  • The BBP Commitment is specifically designed for building owners and investors, and includes direct and indirect investment. It incorporates operational and embodied carbon of development, refurbishment & fit-out and the impacts of tenants (it provides the option, but doesn’t require inclusion of own offices in scope, for example), whereas the NZCB Commitment is designed for any company and specifically deals with building areas under direct control.
  • The NZCB Commitment requires third-party verification of data, whereas the BBP Commitment requires public disclosure. Reporting to the NZCB Commitment can help support the robustness of public disclosure under the BBP Commitment.
Science Based Targets
Organisation

Collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund and UN Global Compact
(fee to sign up)

Core requirement(s)

Commit to either:

  1. Emission/intensity reduction targets according to sector or portfolio’s contribution to GHG emissions to limit warning to 1.5C; or
  2. Absolute emission reductions as required by a given carbon budget to limit warming to 1.5C.
Scope of emissions covered

Scope 1 and 2 emissions; scope 3 emissions must be measured and, where these emissions are greater than 40% of the company’s overall footprint, must be included within the organisation’s target. Emissions on a fund, portfolio or company level are covered.

Reporting and verification

Annual disclosure of emissions data; targets first approved by SBTi, followed by reporting corporate-wide GHG emission reduction targets and progress on targets.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • SBTi encourages absolute emissions reductions across an organisation, whereas the NZCB Commitment focuses specifically on energy efficiency and renewables to tackle scope 1 and 2 building impacts.
  • The NZCB Commitment sets an advanced trajectory to achieve net zero operational carbon from buildings by 2030, whereas SBTi sets a target for overall company GHG emissions to achieve net zero by mid-century.
  • SBTi addresses scope 3 emissions (i.e. engaging with company value chain) and can be used in parallel with the Advocacy aims of the NZCB Commitment.
Carbon Neutral Certified
Organisation

British Standards Institution
(fee to purchase standard)

Core requirement(s)

PAS 2060 is a specification standard detailing how companies can demonstrate carbon neutrality on an annual basis.

Scope of emissions covered

All scope 1 and 2 emissions; relevant scope 3 emissions selected by organisation.

Reporting and verification

The verification of claims can be pursued through three routes: self-validation; validation by other parties; third-party validation by accredited bodies.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • The NZCB Commitment addresses scope 1 and 2 emissions related to a company’s building energy use which will contribute to overall emissions reductions and achieving carbon neutral certification.
  • The NZCB Commitment prioritises energy demand reduction which is the most cost-effective route to reducing emissions and becoming carbon neutral (i.e. avoiding cost of offsets). However, where offsets are required, both the NZCB Commitment and carbon neutral certification recognise similar offset schemes (e.g. Gold Standard).
  • Both the NZCB Commitment and carbon natural certification are aligned in the third-party validation/verification of data for reporting purposes.
EP100
Organisation

Led by The Climate Group, in partnership with Alliance to Save Energy and World Green Building Council
(no fee to sign up)

Core requirement(s)

Commit to one or more of the following pathways:

  1. Doubling energy productivity: double economic output from every unit of energy consumed (using a relevant energy productivity metric) within 25 years (2005 baseline).
  2. Cutting out energy waste: implement an energy management system (EnMS) in all company facilities within 10 years and commit to an energy productivity target.
  3. Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (see above).
Scope of emissions covered

All three pathways cover scope 1 and 2 emissions and companies are encouraged to go beyond this and include scope 3 commitments where relevant.

Reporting and verification

Annual disclosure of energy consumption and economic output data, as well as challenges and motivators for the targets; reporting requirements for the three pathways are aligned.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • The NZCB Commitment pathway addresses both reductions in energy use and increase in renewable energy supply, whereas the other two pathways focus on reductions in energy use only.
  • The NZCB Commitment pathway requires developing an energy action plan for building energy use which can be supported or achieved by signing up to the other two pathways (require developing specific energy intensity targets, either 50% improvement or a bespoke target). The NZCB Commitment does not set a target for energy efficiency, however encourages using locally relevant standards or best practice requirements from certification schemes.
  • The NZCB Commitment pathway enables companies to demonstrate leadership and set Advocacy aims specific to the built environment.
RE100
Organisation

Led by The Climate Group, in partnership with CDP
(no fee to sign up)

Core requirement(s)

Commit to using 100% renewable electricity (biomass/biogas, geothermal, solar, water and wind). Minimum requirements are: 100% renewable electricity by 2050; 60% by 2030; 90% by 2040.

Scope of emissions covered

Primarily focused on scope 2 electricity emissions relating to company activities, but also covers any scope 1 emissions from the direct generation of electricity by the company. Applies to all companies operating within the brand/company group.

Reporting and verification

Report on electricity consumption and progress annually using an RE100 spreadsheet or CDP questionnaire; third-party verification of consumption and in some cases generation is required.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • RE100 increases a company’s renewable electricity supply, however, does not require any reduction in energy demand. The NZCB Commitment encourages both energy efficiency and 100% renewable electricity supply.
  • RE100 is useful for minimising a company’s scope 2 emissions (purchased electricity) and can be used in combination with the NZCB Commitment to achieve net zero building emissions by 2030.
  • RE100 covers electricity use only, whereas the NZCB Commitment covers all energy uses for buildings, including electricity and heat.
EV100
Organisation

The Climate Group
(no fee to sign up)

Core requirement(s)

Commit to one or more of the following by 2030:

  1. Integrating electric vehicles into directly owned or leased corporate fleets;
  2. Placing requirements in service contracts for electric vehicle usage;
  3. Supporting staff to use electric vehicles by installing charging infrastructure at all premises; or
  4. Supporting electric vehicle uptake by customers by installing charging infrastructure at all premises.
Scope of emissions covered

Battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids/extended range (minimum 30 miles/50km electric) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Reporting and verification

Public disclosure of progress annually to The Climate Group.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • EV100 contributes to the wider decarbonisation of the built environment (emissions from transport) but does not relate to building emissions directly.
  • Electric vehicle infrastructure on-site can increase a building’s electricity usage, however both EV100 and the NZCB Commitment have different areas of focus.
GRESB
Organisation

GRESB
(fee to report)

Core requirement(s)

GRESB is an ESG reporting benchmark for real estate and infrastructure investment companies.

Scope of emissions covered

Scope 1 and 2 emissions at a portfolio level, as well as pre-defined scope 3 data.

Reporting and verification

Annual reporting of portfolio level energy performance data; third-party verification of data required; GRESB reporting portal closes 1st August 2020.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • WorldGBC and GRESB are currently in partnership to streamline the reporting process for both schemes – saving companies having to duplicate effort. It is likely that company’s reporting to GRESB will automatically meet the reporting requirements for the NZCB Commitment.
  • Companies reporting to GRESB that have signed up to the NZCB Commitment are recognised within GRESB and, in future, could gain points given GRESB rewards improved energy performance.
  • GRESB enables companies to go further through providing information on management, water, tenant and other scope 3 emissions that can be used for the Advocacy aims in the NZCB Commitment.
CDP
Organisation

CDP
(fee to report)

Core requirement(s)

CDP is a disclosure system for managing environmental impacts.

Scope of emissions covered

Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions disclosure within a company’s reporting boundary; justifications for any exclusions.

Reporting and verification

Disclose verification/assurance status for scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions; CDP reporting closes 26th August 2020.

Comparison with Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment
  • The third-party verification of data under CDP aligns with the reporting requirements for the NZCB Commitment – reporting companies can use the same data for both schemes.
  • CDP aggregates an organisation’s entire portfolio of emissions and provides a ranking against peers based on overall performance, whereas the NZCB Commitment focuses on operational carbon for buildings and requires net zero emissions by 2030.

Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

The NZCB Commitment has been developed to reduce the building sector’s impact on climate change by spearheading energy efficiency and a shift towards renewables from fossil fuel-based energy. The NZCB Commitment challenges companies, cities, states and regions to reach net zero operating emissions in their own buildings by 2030 and to advocate for a net zero carbon built environment by 2050.

Signatories across the building value chain are encouraged to stimulate demand for net zero buildings by setting advocacy initiatives specific to their customers and supply chain. This could include, for example, reducing embodied carbon in new developments, providing clients with net zero pathways for design projects, helping tenants to reduce their energy use, amongst others. Please see the list of current signatories (below) for more examples of advocacy initiatives.

UKGBC members are encouraged to sign up to the NZCB Commitment as it links to two key UKGBC advocacy activities which support the built environment’s transition to net zero:

  • Net Zero Commitment Forum – a collaborative environment for signatories to create, promote and share solutions on how to deliver net zero buildings at scale. The quarterly forum is an exclusive benefit to UKGBC member signatories.
  • COP26 – the NZCB Commitment plays a critical role in positioning the UK built environment as part of the net zero solution. UKGBC member signatories will have opportunities to showcase their leadership and, in turn, to drive and influence the wider COP26 agenda.

For more information on the NZCB Commitment or a current list of UKGBC member signatories, please visit UKGBC’s page or email ANZ@UKGBC.org.

For FAQs on the NZCB Commitment or a global list of signatories, please visit WorldGBC’s page.