Towards a sustainable global construction and buildings value chain.

3 June 2022

Written by Linus Linde, Astrid Nilsson Lewis, Felipe Sanchez

Key messages

  • The global value chain of construction and buildings has high environmental and socio-economic impacts; these impacts will shift and grow as urbanization and population increase globally and locally.
  • Decisions made by stakeholders operating at early stages of the value chain affect impacts
    throughout the whole value chain; those operating later in the value chain have limited opportunities to reduce their impacts.
  • Given the fragmentation and complexity of the value chain, policy interventions need to target regulations, finance and technology, while increasing the capacity of stakeholders to make more sustainable decisions.

Download

Read the brief

As part of the Stockholm+50 international meeting in June 2022, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in partnership with Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Stockholm+50 Secretariat have partnered to highlight how global value chains must change for a more sustainable future. As a contribution to this work, the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) Secretariat (hosted by SEI) has synthesized three influential reports, from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Resource Panel (IRP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This synthesis, with added insights from LeadIT research, distils the challenges that must be addressed and steps that could transform the global construction value chain.

The world’s growing global population and increasing urbanization will require better infrastructure with fewer environmental and climate impacts in order to reach the climate mitigation targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Currently, the construction sector alone accounts for 50% of global resource extraction, making it the most material-intensive sector in the world; it contributes to a number of sustainability crises, such as biodiversity loss, water scarcity and deforestation.

In this brief we adopt a value-chain approach to understand where major challenges and opportunities for sustainability occur in the construction and buildings sectors, and how these could be shaped through decisions made at different stages. Based on this analysis, we present policy recommendations for a sustainable transition in the construction sector.

Policy interventions will need to engage and influence multiple stakeholders at different stages along the value chain, and at local, national and global scales. We identify five high-level, interconnected areas where concerted interventions have the potential to bring about a step-change in the transition of the construction sector: transparent and systematic data, material efficiency and innovation, green public procurement, and urban planning.

The construction sector alone accounts for 50% of global resource extraction, making it the most material-intensive sector in the world.

Insights.

You may also be interested in these LeadIT analyses.

View all

24 Apr 2024

Global shift in green steel projects as major investments move beyond Europe into Asia

The Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) has updated its Green Steel Tracker, a vital tool for monitoring and advancing low-carbon primary steel production worldwide. This latest release reveals a slowdown in new project announcements in Europe, but a wider spread of new investments globally.

Building materials

Developing Countries

Finance

Steel

Read full article

11 Mar 2024

Calcined Clay – Tracking Cement Decarbonization

The cement and concrete industry is responsible for 7% of all CO2 emissions so the transition to net zero is a priority if global warming is going to be limited. One of the technologies being utilized in the push to decarbonize is clay calcination which reduces the level of emissions level in manufacturing and these projects are now included in the Green Cement Tracker to support monitoring by policymakers, industry experts, academics, and civil society.

Building materials

Cement

Developing Countries

Finance

Read full article

12 Feb 2024

Global vehicle manufacturer Tata Motors joins LeadIT

The Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) welcomes its latest new member, the global automotive manufacturer Tata Motors. Tata Motors is India's leading vehicle maker and one of the biggest in the world encompassing commercial and passenger vehicles alongside electric vehicles and the luxury brand Jaguar Land Rover.

Partnerships

Steel

Value Chain

Read full article

24 Nov 2023

Building a stronger steel transition. Global cooperation and procurement in construction.

Written by Eileen Torres

The LeadIT Secretariat has contributed to this commentary that argues that the construction sector can play a key role in un-locking a stronger steel transition though stronger demand for green steel.

Building materials

Steel

Read full article

25 Oct 2023

LeadIT Green Steel Tracker shows top 50 producers lag on emission targets

New plans for coal-based steelmaking capacity are outpacing greener primary steel production methods with only a third of the world’s top 50 producers having announced targets to reach net zero by mid-century, finds a new report from Global Energy Monitor and the LeadIT Secretariat.

Building materials

Developing Countries

Partnerships

Policy

Roadmaps for Industry Transition

Steel

Read full article

23 Oct 2023

National LeadIT Workshop on Steel hosted by India

On 18th October the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change together with the Ministry of Steel hosted a LeadIT Workshop on Low Carbon Development in the Indian steel sector. UNDP and Invest India supported in organizing the event.

Building materials

Developing Countries

Partnerships

Policy

Roadmaps for Industry Transition

Steel

Read full article