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Regulations and policies driving embodied and whole-life carbon

Governments around the world are starting to introduce legislation to reduce embodied carbon in construction. Here’s a summary of the jurisdictions driving the embodied carbon agenda.


European Union

Jurisdiction  Regulation/policy Status  Timeline
European Union

Sustainable finance taxonomy criteria for large buildings

taxonomie européenne.

Mandatory Made legally binding since June 2021
Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) Proposal accepted

Reporting system for goods at high risk (iron and steel, cement, aluminium)from 2023*

Fully operational in 2026

Construction Product Regulation (CPR) Under revision Expected 2025-2030
Energy Performace of Buildings Directive (EPBD) Under revision Expected 2027-2030**

*Under the Commission’s proposal, importers will have to report emissions embedded in their goods without paying a financial adjustment in a transitional phase starting in 2023 and finishing at the end of 2025, giving time for the final system to be put in place.

**The revised Energy Performance for Buildings Directive (EPBD) will include mandatory GWP disclosure for new buildings over 2000 m2 by 2027 and for all buildings by 2030.


Jurisdiction  Category  Regulation/policy  Status  Timeline
Suède Klimatdeklaration National National carbon reporting for new buildings over 100m2, limits by 2027 Mandatory  In force since January 2022
Norway TEK 17 National The regulation does not set limit values but does require that apartment buildings and commercial buildings to prepare a greenhouse gas calculation based on the Norwegian NS 3720:2018 methodology Mandatory In force from 1 July 2022, with a transition period of one year
la Finlande Rakennusten vähähiilisyyden arviointimenetelmä National Regulatory, mandatory limits for life-cycle carbon impacts for most building types, including embodied carbon Mandatory  Expected 2024
Denmark Baeredygdighetsklassen National  Regulation requiring carbon calculation requirements for all new buildings and carbon limit values for buildings over 1000 m2 expected by 2023, expanding to all buildings by 2029 Mandatory  From 2023 onwards

Western Europe

Jurisdiction  Category Regulation/policy Status  Timeline
Belgium National (for product) Regulation requiring materials life-cycle environmental impact must be disclosed if specific environmental claims are made in marketing Mandatory In force since 2014 


La RE2020

National Regulatory, mandatory limits for life-cycle carbon impacts for most building types, including embodied carbon. Supporting regulation for product environmental data is already in place Mandatory  In force since 2022

Les Pays-Bas

Milieuprestatie van gebouwen (or MPG)

National Milieu Prestatie Berekening (MPG) is mandatory for all office buildings over 100 m2 and all residential buildings. Mandatory In force since 2013


Bewertungssystem Nachhaltiges Bauen (BNB)

National National LCA requirement for federal government buildings Mandatory*

*mandatory only for buildings commissioned by the federal state of Germany

The UK

Jurisdiction  Category Regulation/policy Status  Timeline
London, UK The London Plan Local The London Plan requires Whole Life Carbon Assessments and Circular Economy Statements for any development of more than 150 residential units or buildings over 30 m in height and commercial buildings over 2500 m2 Mandatory In force since March 2021

Amérique du Nord

Jurisdiction  Category Description  Status  Timeline

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Building bylaws VBBL

Local All rezoning projects shall report the GWP or embodied carbon in kgCO2e/m2 as calculated by a whole-building life-cycle assessment. * Mandatory Since 2017

Toronto, Canada

Toronto Green Standard

Local Whole building LCA demonstrating 20% embodied carbon reduction from baseline required for all city-owned developments Mandatory In force since May 2022
The US

Colorado, U. S

Buy Clean Colorado legislation

Local The Buy Clean Colorado legislation sets out requirements for policies to be created that set emissions limits for key construction materials used in federal construction and infra projects Mandatory Passed into law in 2021

Maryland, US

Buy Clean Maryland Act

Local To establish a maximum acceptable global warming potential for certain categories of eligible materials used in certain eligible projects Introduced in 2022, under review

California, U.S

Buy Clean California Act (BCCA)

Local Regulation requiring carbon disclosure for some materials on state-funded projects. Beginning July 1, 2022, the awarding authorities will determine GWP limit compliance of eligible materials using Environmental Products Declarations (EPDs) Mandatory In force since July 2022

*The new emission target requires greenhouse gases in B.C. to be 16% below 2007 levels by 2025.