Building Materials Environmental Guide (BMEG) is a periodically updated guideline to help construction industry professionals (engineers, architects, procurement officers, and technical officers) to understand the environmental and social impacts of common building materials at various stages of their life cycle. It also provides some better practices to manage those impacts throughout the construction project cycle. BMEG has a global scope, but various country versions have been adapted.


Implemented in

  • Africa
  • Asia / Pacific

Sectors of activity
Buildings and construction, Waste, incl. Chemicals

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Education & Awareness Raising

Start date


Main objectives:

1. Provide quick access to building industry professional to information about environmental impacts of common building materials.

2. Provide information on environmental better practices related to design,
planning, storage, use, and disposal for common building materials.

3. Adopt these guidelines for specific country or local contexts, especially for post-disaster reconstruction.

Construction industry consumes natural resources (sand, stone, soil, water, metals, lime stone) in massive scales in any country. The process of acquiring and using of natural resources, in the form of building materials cause severe environmental and social impacts which are often not fully comprehended by the practitioners in the industry (engineers, architects, procurement managers, technical officers). This is due to the fact that, impacts are hidden in complex supply chains and happens at different stages of the material life-cycle.

The Building Materials Environmental Guide helps construction industry professionals to understand these complex impacts and identify the potential implications of their material related decisions, at the various stages of the construction project cycle.

BMEG project of WWF has actively promoted adaptation of these guidelines at national levels in different countries, supporting a policy shift towards sustainable consumption in construction.


As collected through the One Planet Reporting

Output level

Knowledge resource and technical tool

  • Construction Green Guide : An Environmental Guide to the Construction Stage of Building Projects - Sri Lanka

Impact and Results

The first version of BMEG was published in collaboration with WWF-Nepal with the endorsement of Nepal Government, as a guideline for reconstruction and humanitarian agencies involved in the earthquake (2015) reconstruction process. In 2017 a global generic version was published by WWF and had been electronically distributed widely. In 2018, Construction Industry Development Authority, Sri Lanka adapted the generic version as a government guideline for the construction industry in general. Currently a BEMG version is being prepared for Mozambique to be used in the Cyclone Idai (2019) reconstruction process.

WWF-Northwestern University (NU) collaborative project to improve BMEG has developed a more comprehensive document, which provides both quantitative and descriptive information on different environmental aspects.

Current BMEG versions:
1. Building Material Selection and Use - An Environmental Guide (Nepal) - 2016
2. Building Materials Environmental Guide (Generic Global Version 1) - 2017
3. Environmental Guide for Construction Materials and Products (Sri Lanka) - 2017
4. Building Materials Environmental Guide (Generic Global Version 2) - 2019
5. Building Materials Environmental Guide (Mozambique) - under preparation

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - Nepal
Hariyo Ban Program - Nepal
Northwestern University - USA
Construction Industry Development Authority - Sri Lanka
Department of Building Construction and Urban Development, Government of Nepal
World Wildlife Fund - Mozambique

Next steps and how to get involved

WWF and other partners of the project are working to develop an online searchable version of the BEMG, which will provide easier access to information through a user friendly and dynamic interface.

Northwestern University - a key BMEG partner - has launched a research program to develop computer based tools to optimize material selection based on both environmental and financial criteria and support material related decision-making in building projects.

WWF is also seeking to expand the coverage of BMEG and support the adaptation of these guidelines in different countries/contexts.

If you are interested in obtaining a BMEG copy or getting involved in our activities please contact us through our knowledge portal , or contacting Missaka Hettiarachchi .