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Built for the Environment report

This global report, produced by RIBA in partnership with Architects Declare, makes the case that the built environment must drastically reduce its carbon emissions to work towards net zero.

Today 38% of global energy related greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the built environment. Our latest report, Built for the Environment, demonstrates the role the industry is playing – and must play – in tackling the climate emergency.

The report, produced in partnership with Architects Declare, brings together a cross-section of research and publications submitted by the built environment sector. Using this evidence and ahead of COP26, the report urges governments to take urgent action, set more ambitious targets and building codes, and embed sustainability within planning systems.

However, we cannot tackle global climate and biodiversity emergencies without changing the way we design and construct buildings. Built for the Environment makes a collective call to the entire built environment sector to embed, replicate and scale up sustainable best practice design that considers the needs of future generations.

The Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture, by MASS Design Group and Arup, for the Howard G Buffet Foundation

Recommendations in the Built for the Environment report

Governments to ensure environmental targets are science-based and fair

This means reporting greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis, and including built environment actions and all sources of emissions within net zero plans (including Nationally Determined Contributions).

Governments to shift focus onto reducing absolute emissions

As opposed to reductions per square meter of building area, or per person. Greenwashing or reliance on large offsets will not help us meet our collective goals.

Governments must both mitigate and adapt to the climate and biodiversity emergencies

Nature-based solutions and traditional ecological knowledge, wisdom and technologies are central to both.

Those operating within the built environment to actively adapt practice

From breaking down silos between disciplines and competencies, to communicating and sharing information, to shifting cultural ideas of beauty and design, the entire sector must adapt.

Information to be openly and widely shared

This is to enable collaboration and transparent decision-making. This includes information around land, buildings, ecosystems, and infrastructure, as well as knowledge and skills.

Social justice to remain at the heart of all action

This means involving those impacted by change in decision-making, and together designing social policies to facilitate a transition to a fair and sustainable built environment, taking steps to ensure unintended negative consequences are addressed quickly and fairly.

Read the full report below.

To ensure architects are on the trajectory to net zero, we're also encouraging all RIBA Chartered Practices to join our 2030 Climate Challenge, which sets a series of targets for embodied carbon, operational energy and water use.

Find out more and attempt the goals today.

Report endorsers


Builders, contractors, suppliers, asset managers, property developers and investors

  • Argent LLP
  • BAM Construct UK Ltd
  • Bioregional
  • BuildX Studio
  • CBRE Investment Management
  • Claire Gaudion Ltd
  • d p agency Ltd
  • Derwent London
  • Dodds and Shute
  • Dukelease Properties Limited
  • Galliford Try Holdings Plc
  • Grosvenor
  • Home.Earth
  • Interface
  • ITW Construction Products Offsite
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • Lendlease Europe
  • Optio Living
  • Pace Investments
  • Rakennusasiaintoimisto Aarre Oy
  • Robertson Group
  • Sir Robert McAlpine
  • SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd
  • Wates
  • Wilmott Dixon


NGOs, professional institutes, membership bodies, research, and academia

  • 1 Million Women
  • Architects Declare Aotearoa NZ
  • Architects Declare DK
  • Architects Declare Hungary
  • Architects Declare Ireland
  • Architects Declare Switzerland
  • Architects Declare Australia
  • Architects Declare
  • Architecture 2030
  • Architecture 2030 Australia
  • Better Buildings Partnership
  • BHL Building Health Lab
  • BRE
  • C40 Cities
  • Canadian / Turtle Island Architects Declare
  • Central Saint Martins: Spatial Practices Programme
  • Centre for Natural Material Innovation, University of Cambridge
  • Chartered Association of Building Engineers
  • Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
  • Danske Arkitektvirksomheder
  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Good Homes Alliance CIC
  • Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment Institution of Environmental Sciences International Union of Architects
  • International WELL Building Institute
  • KLC School of Design
  • Landscape Institute
  • Latvian Architects Declare
  • LETI
  • Lia Ghilardi associates
  • Mackintosh School of Architecture, the Glasgow School of Art
  • MCS Charitable Foundation
  • New Zealand Institute of Architects
  • Parsons Healthy Materials Lab
  • Passive House Institute New Zealand
  • Passivhaus Trust
  • Quality of Life Foundation
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • School of Architecture, Royal College of Art School of the Natural and Built Environment, Queens University Belfast
  • Supply Chain Sustainability School
  • The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products
  • The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
  • The Edge
  • The Institution of Structural Engineers
  • The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)
  • Timber Development UK
  • Trees and Design Action Group
  • Unive
  • US Architects Declare
  • Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll)
  • Wood Knowledge Wales


Designers, consultants, and advisors

  • 51architecture
  • 5th Studio
  • Absolute Project Management London Limited
  • ADP
  • AEW Architects
  • Alexandra Steed URBAN
  • Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
  • Allies and Morrison
  • aNNeKS architects aps
  • Arc Architects
  • ARC Design Studio
  • Architect Benjamin Machin
  • Architectural Emporium
  • Architype
  • Archon Inmod
  • Ark Brut
  • ArtBuild
  • Arup
  • Ash Sakula
  • Assemble
  • Atelier Lira Luis Limited x Leapfrog Project
  • Austin-Smith:Lord
  • Avanto Architects Ltd
  • BakerBrown
  • BDP
  • Beehive Architecture
  • Bennetts Associates
  • Bio-architecture Formosana
  • Bioregional
  • Buckley Gray Yeoman
  • Buro Happold
  • BVN
  • C.F. Møller Architects
  • chapmanbdsp
  • Charissa Snijders Architect
  • Chris Dyson Architects
  • Christensen & Co Architects
  • Church Lukas
  • Churchman Thornhill Finch
  • Cobe
  • Collective Architecture
  • Collective Works
  • COPA Design
  • Cundall
  • CW Studio
  • Deeper Green
  • Djernes & Bell Architects
  • dRMM
  • E2 Architecture+Interiors Ltd
  • East Architecture, Landscape Urban Design
  • ECD Architects
  • Ecohus
  • EEDN
  • Elementa Consulting
  • ELGAARD Architecture
  • elizabethk
  • Elkins Architects
  • Energy Factor, S.A.
  • Entwine
  • Erect Architecture
  • ERIK arkitekter
  • Ethos Design and Architecture Ltd ( Ethos+)
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Fletcher Priest Architects
  • GAIA ecotecture
  • Gbolade Design Studio
  • Gehl
  • Gort Scott
  • Gottstein Architects
  • Government Architect NSW
  • Graeme North, Earth and Natural Building Consultant
  • Grant Associates
  • Grasp Design Ltd
  • Gray Organschi Architecture
  • Grigoriou Interiors
  • Grimshaw
  • Groene Morgen
  • GXN
  • Habitarmonia
  • Hawkins\Brown
  • Haworth Tompkins
  • Henning Larsen Architects
  • Hetreed Ross Architects
  • Hive Architects Studio
  • HLM Architects
  • HNW Architects
  • Hoare Lea
  • Hopkins Architects
  • HTA Design LLP
  • Hutchinson & Partners
  • Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES)
  • John Gilbert Architects
  • John Sergeant Arquitecto
  • Jollie Ltd
  • Julian Church & Associates
  • KC+A Architects
  • KR.eativ: Architects Ltd
  • Lateral Agency
  • Laura Iloniemi Architectural Press and PR
  • LDA Design
  • Levitt Bernstein
  • Liam Russell Architects
  • Madeleine Kessler Architecture
  • Mann Williams
  • Materialise Interiors
  • Matter bybrix
  • MawsonKerr
  • MCM Architecture Ltd
  • Metiu Design
  • Mikhail Riches
  • Modece Architects
  • Moxon Architects Ltd
  • Muchmore Design
  • muf architecture/art
  • NEMO architects
  • Nordic - Office of Architecture Denmark
  • Nvirohaus
  • One World Design Architects
  • OrangeZuHause
  • Orms Architects
  • Particle
  • Parviainen Architects Ltd
  • Piuarch.
  • Pollard Thomas Edwards
  • Pro Sustainability Ltd
  • Project Orange Architects
  • PRP
  • Publica
  • Ritchie Studio Ltd
  • rixon architecture
  • RKD Architects
  • Roderick James Architects LLP
  • Ruth Butler Architects
  • Saul D Humphrey LLP
  • Schmidt Hammer Lassen
  • Shand Shelton
  • Sheppard Robson
  • Softroom
  • Stride Treglown
  • Stolon Studio
  • Square Gain Ltd
  • Stance Studio
  • Stanton Wiliams
  • Studio 12
  • Studio Bark
  • Studio Kantele
  • Studio Pasifika
  • Studio Weave
  • Tate+Co
  • Team Green Architects
  • UK Project Services Ltd
  • Urbanlab Nordic
  • Utility
  • van Heyningen and Haward Architects
  • Vandkunsten Architects
  • VI ARK
  • VIA architecture
  • VORBILD Architecture
  • Waugh Thistleton Architects
  • Webb Yates Engineers
  • White Arkitekter
  • WR-AP
  • xsite architecture LLP
  • XVW architectuur
  • Yellow Brick Road Design
  • zero carbon house

This report was originally published in September 2021.

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