Organisations working within the built environment have a critical role to play in ensuring the just transition towards a net zero economy. UKGBC became the first official Accelerator of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign in early 2021, with the role of enhancing the credibility of the campaign and helping grow its membership.

What is the Race to Zero?

Launched in June 2020, the Race to Zero is a global campaign rallying non-state actors to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world. All members of the campaign must meet robust science-aligned criteria, which were clarified and strengthened through an extensive consultation process in June 2022. These criteria are known as the ‘Five Ps’– Pledge, Plan, Proceed, Publish, Persuade.


What does this mean for members?

UKGBC became the first official Race to Zero Accelerator in early 2021. In this role supporting progress and growth of the campaign, in May 2021, UKGBC introduced new requirements of membership:

  • All UKGBC members must, at minimum, commit at the head-of-organisational level to take action that contributes towards the global effort needed to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 at the latest. All members are strongly encouraged to align their commitment with the Race to Zero criteria, and to formally join the campaign through one of its Partner initiatives.
  • UKGBC Gold Leaf members are required to demonstrate their ambition and commitment by formally joining the Race to Zero campaign and aligning their activities with its criteria.

How do we join the Race to Zero?

Depending on the type, size and interests of your organisation, the route to becoming a Race to Zero member differs. To join the Race, you must do so through one of its official Partner initiatives. Once you join one of these initiatives, you’re in the Race, and the real works begin. Each Partner initiative offers their own guidance and support to help you through the process of both making and acting on your commitments.

There are several Partner routes into the Race to Zero to consider. Common ones used by UKGBC members include:

  • The Science Based Targets initiative – a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reductions targets in line with the latest climate science.
  • SME Climate Hub – providing tools and resources specifically to enable SMEs to make a climate commitment, take action, and measure their progress towards emissions reductions.​

We encourage all UKGBC members to explore the routes available to them and decide on the best fit – the list of all Race to Zero Partner initiatives is here.

How is UKGBC supporting members on this journey?

As an Accelerator, we work to support UKGBC members on their Race to Zero journey by distilling guidance and educational resources, facilitating knowledge-sharing and collaboration around common challenges, and showcasing examples of ambitious action from across the value chain.

In 2022 we launched a series of Collaboration Café events giving members across the industry the opportunity to come together with their peers and engage in candid discussions about their organisation’s progress towards net zero. We ran these events following the “World Café Method” – conversations in small rotating groups allowed for insights on goals, strategies, challenges, and solutions to be shared, and for a diverse range of insights to be harvested. You can explore some of these insights below, which UKGBC will also be using to shape its support to members over 2023/24.

As a sector-specific Accelerator, UKGBC also supports the Race to Zero’s Built Environment 2030 Breakthrough through the activities of our Advancing Net Zero programme. The guidance and research this programme produces can help members shape their net zero goals in relation to their built assets.

Collaboration Café insights

In 2022 we ran a series of Collaboration Café events bringing UKGBC members from across the value chain together to knowledge-share about the practicalities, implications, and challenges their organisations face in transitioning to net zero. Find out what we discovered below:


Additional Guidance from the Race to Zero.

Interpretation Guide

Guidance on how to interpret Race to Zero Criteria for those on their journey.

Race to Zero Lexicon

Clarifies key terms in the net zero space to make the Race to Zero more transparent.

UKGBC Resources