Skip to main content

Changing how we build

Parallel Session
June 1st, 12:30 - 14:00


Production of building materials and construction activity are responsible for 10% of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions globally (GlobalABC, 2021). With the global floor area and therefore global material use expected to double by 2060, there is an urgent need to address the issue of embodied carbon in buildings.

The vision put forward by the Buildings and Construction community in the UNFCCC Human Settlements – Climate Action Pathway is that: (i) By 2030, all new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have at least 40% less embodied carbon with significant upfront carbon reduction, and all new buildings are net zero operational carbon, and (ii) By 2050, new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have net zero embodied carbon, and all buildings, including existing buildings must be net zero operational carbon. In this session, a panel of experts discussed the strategies and solutions to achieve this vision, and the planned and ongoing initiatives they are undertaking to support the entire value chain to scale up and accelerate the uptake of sustainable materials and address embodied carbon globally.



The session aimed to raise awareness of the importance of adopting a whole-life carbon vision to tackle embodied carbon, and of accelerating the uptake of sustainable materials for a better future in a healthier planet. The outcomes of this session fed into UNEP and GlobalABC's work on building materials, embodied carbon and circularity in supporting governments and the entire value chain to adopt strategies to reduce embodied carbon and notably the carbon footprint of building materials, and adopt circularity practices. Furthermore, the session aimed to highlight the benefits of low-carbon materials for our planet, our well-being, and our economy, in order to inspire and encourage countries and stakeholders in the building and construction value chain to join forces and strengthen their ambition and action to accelerate the transformation of the built environment at all scales.




Mr. Jonathan Duwyn

Officer in charge, Cities Unit, UNEP

{Session Moderator}



Mr. Harri Hakaste

Senior Architect, Ministry of Environment, Finland



Mr. Donovan Storey

Head, Global Policy & Influence, Reall



Ms. Samantha Stratton-Short

Head, Strategic Initiatives - Infrastructure and Project Management Group, UNOPS



Ms. Magali Anderson

Chief Sustainability and Innovation Officer, Holcim



Mr. Roland Hunziker

GlobalABC co-chair & Director, Built Environment, World Business Council for Sustainable Development



Mr. Cheikh Fofana, Deputy Director of Environment and Classified Establishments, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal



Mr. Andrew Rudd, Human Settlements Officer, Urban Environment, UN-Habitat


Welcome & housekeeping (5 min)

Presentations: Building materials and embodied carbon, an urgency for climate action

  • Nordic countries’ approach to addressing embodied carbon in the Buildings and Construction sector (10 min)
  • Building materials and embodied carbon as a key topic in 2022 and beyond (10 min)

Panel Discussion (40 min)

  • How to accelerate the uptake of sustainable materials and address embodied carbon in the built environment? 

Q&A (15 min)

Closing (5 min)

Organisers and Co-leads



Mr. Jonathan Duwyn

UNEP/GlobalABC and co-lead of the One Planet Network Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme



Mr. Pekka Huovila

Co lead of the One Planet Network Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme