Report on green buildings released in lead up to Rio +20 Conference

Washington, DC – The US Green Building Council (USGBC), the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released a new report entitled Advancing the Transformation to a Green Economy through Green Buildings and Resource Efficient Cities: Key Messages from North America.

The release of the report was followed by a panel discussion addressing the critical role that cities play in driving the transition to a green economy and the potential opportunities that the Rio+20 Conference offers to propel this work forward.

“Stakeholders across the country have spoken and have confirmed the unique role that green buildings are playing and should continue to play to advance the green economy,” said Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law at USGBC. “Our call in Rio is to amplify this message to ramp up investments and address barriers to realizing the hundreds of billions of dollars of global savings.”

The report is a synthesis of stakeholder perspectives from five major North American cities visited on USGBC’s The Road to Rio+20 engagement event series. It highlights five key messages heard from the events, and outlines clear action items for Rio+20 including improving awareness, education and training on sustainability issues and empowering local action and innovation in development policies. Other key takeaways were a need for increasing financial resources and removing barriers to long-term investments, encouraging common metrics, methodologies and tools, and promoting stakeholder collaboration and public-private initiatives.

“With more than half of the world’s population now living in urban areas, cities are the changing force of the 21st century. Decisions made today will have consequences at the local, national and global levels for decades to come. Leaders gathered at Rio+20 have a chance to provide cities with the support they need to be able to move us along a path to a more sustainable future,” said Amy Fraenkel, director of UNEP’s Regional Office for North America.

The report was introduced by the three Road to Rio+20 partners to key stakeholders, including Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs at U.S. Department of State. Other speakers included Christophe Tulou, director, District of Columbia Department of the Environment; Dr. Lilia Abron, president and CEO, PEER Consultants, P.C.; Jordan Doria, manager of stakeholder engagement, Ingersoll Rand; Richenda Van Leeuwen, senior director of the energy and climate, United Nations Foundation/Sustainable Energy for All; and Jessica McGlyn, director of WBCSD US.

“This report highlights some excellent innovations and collaboration across the U.S. in creating more sustainable cities, something WBCSD’s corporate members are working toward through the Urban Infrastructure Initiative,” said Jessica McGlyn, director of WBCSD US. “We’re also pleased to see that many of the policy ideas coming out of the Road to Rio discussions track with our policy recommendations in the newly released ‘Changing Pace’ report.”

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