Build It For Zero Carbon: A Roadmap To Realizing Decarbonization Of Buildings

This executive guide from Schneider Electric lays out a holistic, replicable four-stage process for organizational decarbonization.

Sponsored by

Schneider Electric

The science is clear. So is the strategy.

Over 120 countries are now committing to Net Zero 2050 goals. It is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must-have” in order to remain compliant and competitive. In its 2020 Survey of Sustainability Reporting, KPMG found that 80% of companies worldwide now report on sustainability.¹

During that time, Schneider Electric™ established itself as a leading expert in sustainability and decarbonization. We ourselves are recognized for our best practices in sustainability, earning the #1 position from Corporate Knights in 2021. We’re also a clean energy leader: We’re the #1 largest corporate consultant on renewable energy purchasing, with 60% market share in the U.S., the most active market to-date, and have advised on large-scale renewable energy contracts in 8 countries across 4 continents. We’re also the #1 builder of microgrids in the world, with over 300 successful projects in North America alone.

most sustainable company in 2021 from Corporate Knights

U.S. market share of corporate renewable energy advisory services

builder of microgrids in the world

We were recognized for our efforts in 2020 when we earned The Climate Group’s inaugural Clean Energy Trailblazer award. We’ve not only accelerated our own carbon neutrality goal by five years to a 2025 target, we’ve also helped thousands of companies on their own decarbonization journeys.

DecarbonizationAs a company, we have committed to be carbon neutral by 2025 and net zero in our operations by 2030, far surpassing the traditional 2050 target. We believe Buildings of the Future need to be sustainable, resilient, hyper-efficient, and people-centric. But there’s no need to wait, the technology is available today.

This paper lays out our holistic, replicable strategy for organizational decarbonization. Our decades of experience in energy and sustainability consulting and technology spans across the realms of global commerce. It’s this expertise that informs the four-stage process explored in this paper. With this proven roadmap, organizations of all kinds can define, set, deploy, and sustain decarbonization programs.

The need for rapid decarbonization

Buildings consume 30% of the world’s energy and are responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions. If we can collectively work together toward net-zero 2030 targets, then the trajectory of the temperature rise will stay within 1.5%, helping us to avoid a host of climate-change related impacts.

Once relegated to the domain of environmentalists, today, climate change is a top concern among business and government leaders. There’s also a growing recognition of the intersection between climate action and social justice. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), low-income, and traditionally under-resourced and underrepresented communities have historically borne a greater burden from these impacts.

And although many of climate change’s impacts are already felt today, its severity will increase dramatically over the coming years without immediate and substantial emissions reductions.²


¹ KPMG Impact, “The time has come, The KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting”, December 2020
² Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C.”

Climate Change Impacts

The impacts of a warming planet include, but are not limited to:

  • Increasingly chaotic and intense weather events resulting from rising water and land surface temperatures
  • Increased drought, affecting food production, water security, and producing conditions that escalate wildfires, floods, conflict, and human migration
  • Rising sea levels that can cause nuisance flooding and erode existing coastlines, and that are an existential threat to communities in low-lying areas and island nations
  • Extended warm seasons which enable the propagation of allergens, mosquitos and other insects, and disease
  • Acidification of the oceans, which results in loss of marine biodiversity, increased algae blooms and, eventually, loss of sea-based livelihoods

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Build It For Zero Carbon: A Roadmap To Realizing Decarbonization Of Buildings