World Green Building Council

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World Green Building Council
Abbreviation WorldGBC
Formation 2002
Type Organization
Head Terri Wills

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is a non-profit organization and a coalition of national Green Building Councils (GBCs). With member organizations in over 80 countries, it is the largest international organization influencing the green building marketplace. It also represents over 30,000 property and construction companies.[1] The WorldGBC supports existing and emerging GBCs, and provides them with tools and strategies to promote green building across the globe. The WorldGBC also addresses global issues such as climate change.[2][3]


The WorldGBC was founded at a meeting of representatives from eight national GBCs in November 1999 in California. The countries represented were Australia, Canada, Japan, Spain, Russia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. This meeting predated the creation of Green Buildings Councils in most of the countries in attendance.[4]

The WorldGBC was formally incorporated in 2002. Its primary role was to formalize international communications, help industry leaders access emerging markets, and provide an international voice for green building initiatives. A secretariat was established in 2007 to respond to the growing international interest in green buildings. The secretariat was based in Toronto, Canada where it worked in conjunction with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), an organization that also focused on environmental conservation.[4]

The founding officers of the WorldGBC were:

  • Ché Wall, of Lincolne Scott Pty Ltd. and the Green Building Council of Australia
  • Rick Fedrizzi, of Greenthink, LLC. and the founding chair of the US Green Building Council
  • Nellie Cheng, of the Canada Housing Mortgage Corporation and the Canada Green Building Council
  • Huston Eubank, of Rock Mountain Institute Green Development Services
  • Dan Slone, of McGuire Woods
  • David Gottfried, of WorldBuild Technologies Inc.[4]


"To facilitate the global transformation of the building industry towards sustainability through market driven mechanisms"[5]

The WorldGBC is dedicated to creating a vast network of GBCs that meet a comparable standard and promote green building practices, strategies, and education throughout the world. The WorldGBC provides each member council with the framework and necessary resources for its implementation and operation.[3] These green building councils are dedicated to improving building practices across the globe. Buildings are one of the primary consumers of energy and use 40% of raw global materials, which results in 3 billion tons per year.[6]


The WorldGBC has a 16-member Board of Directors as well as a 6-member chief team that oversee the entire organization. The chief team includes the CEO, Vice President of International and Communications, the Membership and Europe Network Manager, the Senior Policy Advisor of the Europe Regional Network, the Communications and Operations Coordinator, and Public Relations.[7][8] Total, the WorldGBC is composed of 720 staff members across the globe.[9]

Corporate Advisory Board[edit]

In 2012, the WorldGBC created a Corporate Advisory Board to aid them in their future progress. Companies are invited based on diverse and global interests. Current board members include City Developments Limited, Keppel Land, Philips, UL, UTC Building & Industrial Systems, Lend Lease Group, McGraw Hill Construction, Saint-Gobain, Shaw Contract Group, UBM Built Environment. City Developments, Keppel Land, Philips, UL, and UTC were also the founding members of the Corporate Advisory Board.[10]


The WorldGBC is partnered with ten other organizations and corporations to assist in its endeavors. These partners are Philips, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the United Nations Environment Programme Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative (UNEP-SBCI), the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, McGuireWoods, the ICLEI, the government of Ontario, the Region of Peel, Lend Lease, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.[11]

Member Councils[edit]

The WorldGBC is divided into five regions: Africa, the Americas (includes North America, South America, and the Caribbean), Europe, Asia/Pacific, and MENA (the Middle East and North Africa). Europe has the largest regional network of GBCs at 34%, followed by the Americas at 23%, Asia/Pacific at 18%, MENA at 15%, and Africa at 10%.[9] Member councils, which include GBCs and other associated groups, are assigned to their corresponding region. There are currently 100 member councils that include over 80 countries.[12]


The WorldGBC has created multiple committees to assist in the governance of this large organization.

There are five committees that operate under the title of "“World GBC Committees"” that focus on guidance and leadership in specific areas of the WorldGBC’s operations.[13]

The Policy Task Force (PTF) enables the WorldGBC to speak as an international organization on global issues and policies by building a strong community of GBCs and by working with industry leaders and governments to show the value and positive impact of green buildings. The PTF focuses on sustainable cities, communities, and affordable housing as well as incentives and funding for green buildings. The PTF is composed of up to 18 individuals selected from existing member councils, and led by a chair who must be approved by the WorldGBC CEO and Board of Directors.[14]

The Rating Tool Task Group (RTTG) focuses on green building rating tools by researching the quality assurance of existing tools, creating a forum to share ideas and information on tools, and identifying potential research and development opportunities as well as overseeing the socio-economic work being done by WorldGBC members. The RTTG is composed of a WorldGBC board as well as staff representative, and also members from existing GBCs who work with rating tools. The RTTG is led by a chair who must be approved by the WorldGBC CEO and Board of Directors.[15]

The Council Development Committee focuses on the development of GBCs by maintaining the Council Creation Framework, assisting in the development of growth strategies for the regional networks, and by monitoring the integrity of existing GBCs. The committee is composed of existing GBC members that serve a two-year term and are selected by the current chair and membership manager. Members must also be approved by the WorldGBC Board of Directors.[16]

The Audit Committee oversees the financial operations of the WorldGBC by review financial performance against the budget, assisting with annual budgets as well as budget reviews, improving financial management, providing feedback to the CEO, and ensuring that members are operating as not-for-profit organizations. The committee is composed of the WorldGBC Treasurer and CEO as well as members from existing GBCs who are involved with account administrations or have related financial experience. The WorldGBC Treasurer acts as the chair of the committee.[17]

The WorldGBC created Regional Network Committees to assist in guiding the five regions (Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and MENA). Each region has a Network Steering Committee that guides the regional network and its taskforces and also works with the WorldGBC Board of Directors to ensure that all members are maintained informed.[13] Europe also has a Policy Taskforce Committee and an Education Committee; the former focuses on providing resources and support to governments and businesses.[18]

The Marketing and Communications Committee focuses on tasks related to the organization’s outward facing activities. It is composed of members from existing GBCs that work in related areas. This committee is still in development.


World Green Building Week[edit]

Beginning in 2009, the WorldGBC promotes World Green Building Week each year, during which member organizations deliver special events promoting public awareness of sustainability and green building. Each GBC creates a program of events to host in their respective country. and the WorldGBC provides a global platform through which events can be showcased internationally. The WorldGBC also selects a theme for each week.

  • World Green Building Week 2011 took place 19–23 of September and had 129 events in 27 countries. Its theme was “Green Buildings in the New Green Economy”.
  • The 2012 World Green Building Week took place during 17-21 of September and had 130 events across 30 countries. Its theme was “Green Buildings for Great Communities”.[9][19]
  • The 2013 World Green Building Week took place 16-20 of September and had 220 events across 33 countries. Its theme was “Greener Buildings, Better Places, Healthier People”.[20]
  • World Green Building Week 2014 took place on 22-27 of September, and its theme was “Get Up, Green Up,” which focused on encouraging others to take action on sustainable efforts.[21]

WorldGBC Congress[edit]

Each year, the WorldGBC hosts a congress that provides delegates with connections to GBC members as well as tools and tactics that assist with GBC strategies. The 2014 congress took place in São Paulo, Brazil on 3-8 of August. The 2015 congress will take place in Hong Kong on 27-30 of October.[22]

Rating Tools[edit]

The WorldGBC has developed rating tools to analyze green building performance as well as the socio-economic issues that are involved in green building. Currently, the WorldGBC has two rating systems.[23]

The Quality Assurance for Green Building Rating Tools is a guide for GBCs that provides a development as well as implementation process of nationally recognized green building rating tools. The guide addresses general quality assurance processes, criteria development, pilot projects, certification, impartiality and transparency, feedback, and internal audits.[24]

The Socio-Economic Framework for Rating Tools is a joint project between the WorldGBC and the GBC of South Africa that focuses on incorporating environmental justice into the activities of the WorldGBC and its member councils. The guide addresses five themes that can be affected by sustainability efforts, especially green buildings. These themes are employment and economic opportunity, education and skills development, health and safety, equality, and community engagement and benefit. In order to create employment, the guide suggests using labor-intensive construction methods whenever possible as well as creating a facility that provides long-term economic opportunities. The guide suggests utilizing local and small business for goods and services as well as continued support in order to create economic opportunities. Green building projects must also dedicate a percentage of their expenditure toward education and skill development programs. The guide also suggests improving occupational health and safety practices and managing disease risk control as well as providing health awareness. Projects must incorporate equal access to employment for marginalized groups, affordable housing so that all socio-economic classes have opportunities for green housing, and creating equal access for those with disabilities, the elderly, and the infirmed. Finally, the guide suggests that projects engage with all stakeholders, especially local communities, and provide community facilities that meet the needs that are addressed by stakeholders (including the community).[25]

The Business Case for Green Building[edit]

The WorldGBC released The Business Case for Green Building in 2013. The report synthesizes and reviews the existing published information on the costs and benefits associated with green building for developers, investors, and building occupants. It includes examples from across the globe as well as thoughts by leading experts in green building. The report is divided into five categories: design and construction cost, asset value, operating costs, workplace productivity and health, and risk mitigation. There is also a follow-up section on how to scale up from green buildings to green cities. The report is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.[26][27]

Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices[edit]

The WorldGBC released Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building in 2014. The report provides that latest information on building design and how it affects the health, wellbeing, and productivity of the occupants of office buildings. It also provides a framework for tracking the impacts of buildings on those three aspects. The report findings indicate that strategies that maximize employee health, wellbeing, and productivity are largely compatible with green building strategies.[28] Since approximately 90% of a business’s operating costs come from their employees, it is critical for businesses to maintain a healthy environment that encourages productivity.[27][28][29][30]

Global Coalition for Green School[edit]

“By bringing together the leaders in the global green schools movement, the Global Coalition aims to ensure every child learns in a green school within this generation.”[31]

The Global Coalition for Green Schools is composed of GBCs and other related organizations that work to provide communities with the resources and support needed to create green schools. This coalition stems from the 1.2 billion students that are currently attending school in buildings that are poorly lit, ventilated, and heated – factors that can hinder a child’s learning by up to 25%. The creation of green schools is not only a healthier alternative for students, but also for the environment.[31]

Sustainable Cities Initiative[edit]

In partnership with C40 Cities, the Sustainable Cities Initiative works in conjunction with GBCs and local governments to create more sustainable cities. Current projects include City Market Briefs and Green City Tours. City Market Briefs are snapshots of cities around the world and their green building policies. These briefs serve as an example for other cities in their development of green building practices.[32] The current City Market Briefs include Abu Dhabi, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Hong Kong, Lima, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, São Paulo, Seoul, and Tokyo.[33] Green City Tours organize tours of green buildings and communities for GBC members, government representatives, and also local community members.[32]

EDGE Certification System[edit]

In 2013, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) announced that they will collaborate to rapidly scale up the construction of green buildings in emerging markets. The new partnership demonstrates a shared commitment to playing a leadership role in transforming the built environment and mitigating climate change.

The WorldGBC has agreed to connect its network of national green building councils to IFC’s investment and advisory program. The WorldGBC’s local affiliate councils will certify green buildings through IFC’s EDGE, a new web application that reveals solutions at the early design stage to reduce energy, water, and material consumption by twenty percent.[34][35]

MIT Climate CoLab Contest[edit]

The WorldGBC partnered with the MIT Climate CoLab contest seeking proposals on how to create public demand for green buildings. Proposals were received until July 20, 2014.[36]

WorldGBC Awards[edit]

Every year, the WorldGBC recognizes individuals who have been key contributors to the green building movement.

The David Gottfried Global Green Building Entrepreneurship Award was first presented in 2011 and named for its winner, David Gottfried, who was one of the founders of the USGBC as well as WorldGBC. The award is presented to an individual who has been a pioneer in green building by helping transform or advance the green building mission. Other winners include Professor Siegbert Zanettini (a Brazilian architect) in 2012, Karim Elgendy (founder of the sustainability advocacy initiative, Carboun) in 2013,[37] and Nils Kok (co-founder of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) in 2014.[38]

The WorldGBC Chairman Awards were first presented in 2011 to individuals who were instrumental in advancing the global sustainability movement as well as raised awareness for global issues.[39]

The GBC Awards are given to members of the WorldGBC who have provided a significant contribution to their respective GBCs.[40]

Government Leadership Awards[edit]

The Government Leadership Awards recognize government leaders who have shown excellence in creating city policies for green building. The award is given every other year in partnership with ICLEI and UN-Habitat.[41]


In June 2014, the WorldGBC released an impact report for 2013 to 2014.The WorldGBC now has 100 GBCs worldwide with over 27,000 member companies and organizations. This has led to more than 1.2 billion square meters of green building area that is registered by the WorldGBC rating systems. The WorldGBC has also educated over 400,000 people and has more than 32,000 volunteers worldwide. The World GBC has provided global tools and resources through their activities, and is a leader in green building across the globe. Their Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in the Office Buildings report has promoted the importance and connection of building design to its occupants. Also, their "Socio-Economic Framework for Rating Tools" is one of the few key resources on incorporating environmental justice into sustainability. The WorldGBC provided multiple resources on quality assurance and market research for green buildings. The WorldGBC also made a commitment to engage the public through their Global Coalition for Green Schools and their partnership with the MIT ClimateCoLab contest.[9]

Regional networks[edit]

The Americas regional network succeeded in achieving LEED Certification in all soccer stadiums for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Also, nine countries in the network collaborated with UNEP to produce The State of Play of Sustainable Building in Latin America. The Europe network hosted their first WorldGBC Europe Region Leadership Awards, acknowledging pioneers in green building across Europe. The network also submitted their first collaborative project proposal for the European Union (BUILD UPON). The Sing Yin Secondary School in Hong Kong was deemed winner of the Greenest School on Earth along with the Uaso Nyiro Primary School in Kenya. The Africa regional network also achieved 50 Green Star SA certified projects in South Africa.[9]


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  3. ^ a b Sedlacek, Sabine (January 2014), "Non-Governmental Organizations as Governance Actors for Sustainable Development: The Case for Green Building Councils", Environmental Policy and Governance, 24: 247–261 
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  20. ^ World Green Building Week, World Green Building Council, 23 September 2013 
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  35. ^ International Finance Group, Introducing: The Edge 
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  37. ^ "recognized by World Green Building Council | Carboun: Advocating Sustainable Cities in the Middle East". Carboun. 2013-12-01. Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  38. ^ "WorldGBC 3 :: David Gottfried Award". Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  39. ^ "WorldGBC 3 :: Chairman's Awards". Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  40. ^ "WorldGBC 3 :: WorldGBC Awards". Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  41. ^ "WorldGBC 3 :: Government Leadership Awards". Retrieved 2015-07-22. 

External links[edit]