Resource Library:

Embodied Carbon Toolkit for Building Owners

The Carbon Leadership Forum has created an array of resources to support action by owners to radically reduce embodied carbon. For questions regarding embodied carbon policy in your region, email us or join a Carbon Leadership Forum Regional Hub to connect with other interested professionals in your city.

A Toolkit for Building Owners Working to Reduce Embodied Carbon

Investors, developers, and public or private building owners and tenants are essential to reducing embodied carbon because they play an important role in spurring new projects and setting project requirements. Prioritizing carbon early in a project reduces cost and increases the range of strategies available, while signaling markets about the importance of low-carbon materials.

Scroll down to find additional resources from the Carbon Leadership Forum:

Getting Started: Corporate Policies

This document provides an overview of the opportunity for investors, developers, building owners and tenants to reduce embodied carbon by developing company-wide policies and practices, and provides three paths to...

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Embodied Carbon Procurement Policies

This document provides an overview of the opportunity for building owners, tenants, and developers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of construction materials through their procurement policies. More information...

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Targeting Net-Zero Embodied Carbon

This document provides an overview of three types of embodied carbon reduction targets, and also examples of corporate and other voluntary commitments to reduce embodied carbon.  More information about opportunities...

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Building owner and corporate commitments to reduce embodied carbon are increasing. Net-zero commitments are expanding to include Scope 3 emissions, which should include an organization’s upfront embodied carbon in the form of value chain purchasing emissions.  By taking steps such as those outlined in the primers above, organizations can take these commitments from goals to a reality.

Learn more about how organizations can set targets and why targets are helpful for inspiring action to reduce embodied carbon here. Learn more about the commitments and policies of each organization by clicking on the link for the company.

Table 1. Examples of building owner commitments that include embodied carbon reductions through scope 3 GHG and other sustainability commitments.  Many companies have chosen to develop Science Based Targets related to scope 3 emissions that cover building materials, while others have made commitments specifically related to embodied carbon in the context of green building policies.

Owner Goal
Accenture Accenture has joined the UN Global Compact Business Ambition to keep global warming below 1.5C and requires that 90% of their key suppliers (those accounting for 75% of scope 3 emissions) disclose their impact and take action to reduce emissions through channels like CDP Supply Chain.
Amazon Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge, which is a commitment to net-zero carbon across their business by 2040 (this includes scopes 1, 2, and 3).
Autodesk Autodesk aims to achieve climate-neutral GHG emissions for scopes 1, 2, and 3 beginning in FY21 using an internal price on carbon. Their target is to achieve an 85% reduction by 2050.
Barclays Barclays aims to be net-zero by 2050. Barclays is working to reduce their scope 3 emissions by through working to reduce the client emissions that they finance. Their ‘financed emissions’ are tracked on a a climate dashboard.
Facebook Facebook is committed to reaching net zero GHG emissions for their value chain (scope 3) by 2030.
Georgia Tech Georgia Tech’s Design & Construction standards require embodied carbon to be measured and reduced throughout the design process.
Hewlett Packard Hewlett Packard is committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, covering scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Their 2025 climate targets include a 15% reduction in manufacturing-related GHG emissions in their supply chain from 2016 levels.
HSBC HSBC aims to achieve net zero in their own operations and supply chain by 2030 or sooner, and net zero in their financed emissions from their portfolio of customers by 2050 or sooner. 
Kilroy Realty Kilroy aims to reduce the embodied carbon of construction materials in development projects 30% like-for-like by year-end 2040 and 50% by year-end 2050 from a 2019 baseline. They are also aiming to reduce their scope 3 emissions by 72% by 2050.
Lendlease Lendlease aims to achieve net zero carbon by 2025 for scope 1 and 2 and absolute zero carbon by 2040 from all scopes and activities without the use of offsets.
LinkedIn LinkedIn aims to reduce their scope 3 emissions by more than half and remove more carbon than they emit by 2030.
Mastercard Mastercard is working to reduce total scope 1 and 2 emissions by 38% and scope 3 emissions by 20% by 2025 from a 2016 baseline.
Microsoft Microsoft aims to drive its operations and supply chain to be carbon-negative by 2030.
Nike Nike aims to reduce their carbon footprint by 2030, with an absolute reduction of Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 65% and Scope 3 emissions by 30%.
Salesforce By 2025, Salesforce will work with their suppliers to set their own emissions reduction targets, targeting 50% of Salesforce’s supplier emissions. After 2020, all major, new Salesforce office interiors will align with LEED Platinum v4 and pursue Net Zero Carbon certification.
University of Michigan The University of Michigan will establish, by 2025, carbon neutrality goal dates for scope 3 emissions categories that are set for no later than 2040.
Walmart Walmart is working with suppliers through their Project Gigaton to avoid a gigaton of GHG emissions from the global value chain by 2030.

Additional Resources for Owners

Embodied Carbon Action Plan (ECAP)

The Owners Carbon Action Network (ownersCAN) is a group of developers, users, and managers of buildings that are dedicated to measuring and reducing the embodied carbon of their projects. OwnersCAN was created to...

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Embodied Carbon: Developing a Client Brief

The UK Green Building Council developed Embodied Carbon: Developing a Client Brief to support clients in taking first steps in their critical role in reducing embodied carbon. “We know that clients will play a...

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Net-zero buildings: Where do we stand?

WBCSD's report "Net-zero buildings: Where do we stand?" provides a detailed look at six whole building life cycle assessment (WBLCA) case studies to illustrate some of the challenges, barriers and opportunities...

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Embodied carbon emissions at Microsoft

Microsoft has committed to becoming a carbon negative company by 2030. This means that reducing Scope 3 emissions, including the embodied carbon associated with construction of their buildings, is critical to...

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Decarbonizing construction

WBSCD’s report “Decarbonizing construction – Guidance for investors and developers to reduce embodied carbon” provides targeted guidance for developers and investors to leverage their unique opportunity to drive...

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Key stages in a product’s lifecycle that consume energy and produce greenhouse gases

Buy Clean Procurement and ENERGY STAR

Governments, institutions, private organizations and construction companies are looking for ways to reduce the carbon pollution embedded in the products they purchase. Many are choosing to leverage their buying...

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RMI: Reducing Embodied Carbon in Buildings

Low-Cost, High-Value Opportunities Report / July 2021   Authors Rebecca Esau, Matt Jungclaus, Victor Olgyay, Audrey Rempher. Authors listed alphabetically. All authors from RMI unless otherwise noted. Contacts...

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Guidance for Building Owners and Investors

Embodied Carbon Reduction Strategies for Optimizing Projects, Systems, and Procurement Businesses that take a leading role in committing to truly net-zero goals that include embodied carbon will avoid regulatory and...

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Carbon Footprinting in Real Estate

GRESB is the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) benchmark for real estate portfolios and assets.  GRESB now includes embodied carbon disclosure.  This article provides an overview of carbon footprinting...

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Net-Zero Challenge: Global Supply Chains

The World Economic Forum in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group developed this report that shows how companies can decarbonize their supply chains. Five years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement,...

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GHG Protocol: Scope 3 Emission Guidance

This document was developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) as a supplement or a companion document to a parent document, The GHG Protocol...

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UKGBC Guide on Scope 3 in Real Estate

The United Kingdom Green Building Council published this guide to improve knowledge and understanding of scope 3 emissions reporting for commercial real estate companies and the wider sector.  There is currently...

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