New Circularity Playbook Introduced by the World Green Building Council

 The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is taking a significant step forward in the pursuit of a sustainable and regenerative future for the built environment.  

In its latest endeavor to drive the adoption of circular economy practices and achieve net-zero emissions, the WorldGBC has unveiled a groundbreaking resource that promises to revolutionize the sector. 

Introducing the Circular Built Environment Playbook, a comprehensive checklist designed to empower organizations and facilitate the integration of circular design principles at every stage of building development.  

Developed in collaboration with the WorldGBC’s extensive network of over 75 Green Building Councils, this playbook offers more than 20 strategic approaches to help organizations transition towards regenerative practices.  

With the launch of this transformative resource, the WorldGBC aims to accelerate progress towards a sustainable and circular built environment, setting a new benchmark for the industry. 

The WorldGBC’s chief executive Cristina Gamboa has said “It is clear that if we want to secure a future for our planet and people, then we cannot keep going on this path of consumption and waste. That’s why our network is taking action to increase awareness and accessibility of circular economy solutions, by guiding all stakeholders towards sustainable, circular decision-making.   

“It is clear that if we want to secure a future for our planet and people, then we cannot keep going on this path of consumption and waste."

Why do we Need a Playbook

The global economy is currently grappling with a daunting challenge: a mere 7% of the materials produced worldwide find their way back into the circular economy, resulting in a staggering amount of waste discarded after use.

This wasteful pattern is further exacerbated by the alarming rate at which we deplete our natural resources. Astonishingly, the Earth’s supply of biological resources, which should ideally sustain us for an entire year, is consumed within a mere seven months.

Such unsustainable practices have dire consequences, as evidenced by the monumental volume of municipal solid waste generated. In 2016 alone, an estimated two billion tonnes of this waste were produced globally, and dishearteningly, this figure is projected to surge by a staggering 70% to reach 3.4 billion tonnes by the year 2050.

These statistics highlight the urgent need for a comprehensive shift towards the circular economy to mitigate waste generation and resource depletion, safeguarding the future of our planet.

The Playbook is designed to contribute to global climate aims by:

  • Minimising material extraction 
  • Optimising nature-based solutions  
  • Closing the loop once a building reaches the end of its lifecycle. 

What Actions can we Take

The Circular Built Environment Playbook presents a compelling vision for organizations to embrace a new perspective on buildings. It urges them to recognize structures as “material banks” where every component, including bricks, walls, doors, and window panes, holds intrinsic worth. Rather than being discarded, these elements should be reclaimed and repurposed at the end of a building’s life, promoting a circular economy within the construction sector.

Additionally, the Playbook emphasizes the importance of nature-based solutions as a key element of sustainable building practices. It highlights that these solutions can lower energy demand for buildings to minimise heating, cooling and ventilation and “should be integrated into climate resilience measures as well”.

The Playbook calls on built environment firms to adopt core principles to drive circular action by:

  • Reducing consumption of materials and resources 
  • Optimising product lifespan 
  • Designing for disassembly 
  • Reuse and recycling  
  • Using nature regeneratively 

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