Embodied Carbon in the Building Sector

Ramboll, BUILD, and partners funded by the Laudes Foundation aim to incentivise EU policymakers to tackle embodied carbon through the establishment of baselines, targets, and benchmarks. 

The buildings industry is bound to deliver its fair share to meet EU reduction targets for a climate-neutral continent by 2050: Buildings are evidenced to be responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions. 11% stem from materials and construction.

While metrics and policies exist to target the operational emissions of buildings, much fewer target the 11% of materials-related emissions. Reducing materials-related, embedded emissions in buildings represents an important opportunity to reduce overall emissions from this industry.

Tackling Embodied Carbon emissions

Funded by the Laudes Foundation, Ramboll - in collaboration with BUILD from Aalborg University and LCA expert affiliated to KU Leuven - assists EU policymakers, industry, and funders tackle embodied carbon by piloting a methodology to calculate embodied carbon baselines, targets and benchmarks in the building industry using LCA data. In the first phase (2021-2022), the methods and concepts will be tested by developing baselines, targets, and benchmarks for the five EU countries: Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, and France.

Throughout the duration of the project, key stakeholders from the building industry, policymakers on national and EU levels, embodied carbon think tanks and initiatives, as well as financial institutions and building councils from EU member states, are engaged to secure the relevance and feasibility of the methodology and study results.

Stakeholders are invited to support, join, and ultimately take ownership of the initiative.

Take part in the initiative:

Let's reduce embodied carbon together

To develop embodied carbon reduction pathways for buildings, the building sector needs transparent and standardised LCA data collection methods, data sharing, and most importantly, communication and alignment between initiatives seeking to reduce embodied carbon.

If you wish to learn more about our project to develop EU embodied carbon benchmarks, or actively be a partner to this initiative through data sharing, knowledge-sharing, initiative-alignment, funding, or something entirely different, then get in touch.

Why knowledge about embodied carbon is important:

- We urgently need a reliable and standardised way of measuring whole life-cycle carbon in the building and construction sector to incentivise and enable action.

Important facts about Embodied Carbon


of the global CO2 emissions stems from the buildings sector.


of total global CO2 emissions comes from materials and construction.

is when the European economy must be climate-neutral according to the 27 EU member states.

About the partners

The Laudes Foundation

Laudes Foundation is an independent foundation joining the growing movement to accelerate the transition to a climate-positive and inclusive global economy.

Responding to the dual crises of climate breakdown and inequality, Laudes supports brave action that inspires and challenges industry to harness its power for good.

> Find out more about Laudes

Aalborg University BUILD

BUILD at Aalborg University is Denmark's largest institute within construction, civil engineering, and the built environment.

The department is based on engineering science, but also contains important and comprehensive elements from the social sciences and humanities.

> Find out more about BUILD


Ramboll is a global consultancy delivering sustainable change across 35 countries.

With a civil-engineering legacy, Ramboll also comprises management consulting, architecture, and environmental services to deliver a holistic take on the green transition – in the buildings sector and in similar industries.

> Find out more about Ramboll

Join the webinar - 18 January 2022:

Let's learn from the study

In this webinar, the EU Embodied Carbon Benchmark project team will present the results of the study, and the next steps for policy uptake.

Registration opens soon 

The conceptual framework:

Setting baseline, benchmarks and target

Baseline established by collecting and analyzing LCA data on new buildings in 5 EU countries.

Targets for each country are set through an exploration of existing methods and appropriate allocation principles ensuring Paris Agreement compliance.

Benchmarks established by combining baseline and targets into widely accepted metrics that guide the industry towards achieving ambitious emissions reductions.

Get related insights on Embodied Carbon

8 circular economy actions for the sector

With materials management estimated to represent two-thirds of global CO2 emissions, most sectors need to develop in a more circular way. The buildings sector is no different.

In this thought piece, a team of Ramboll experts propose 8 circular economy actions. Actions that can help reduce emissions from buildings’ materials by an estimated 60% compared to a baseline scenario.

> Read more about the 8 actions

Bringing embodied carbon up-front

Delivered by Ramboll and C40, The World Green Building Council’s pioneering report demands radical cross-sector coordination to revolutionise the buildings and construction sector towards a net-zero future.

It is a ‘call to action report’ focusing on these emissions, as part of a whole lifecycle approach, and the systemic changes needed to achieve full decarbonisation

> Learn about the call to action report

Read more about the current project

“Our ultimate ambition is to develop a set of standardised metrics and benchmarks for measuring embodied carbon that can be used across all 27 EU member states,” says Lars Riemann, Executive Director at Ramboll Buildings.

This article about the current embodied carbon project gives further back-ground details and future perspectives to the work that will hopefully go well into 2022 and 2023.

> Aligning on embodied carbon metrics

Let's get in touch

Contact us if you are interested in the project and wants take part in the initiative.

Xavier Le Den

Market Director

Xavier is an experienced consultant specialized in public policy and sustainability advisory.

He accompanies clients globally on strategic and cross-cutting sustainability issues in the built environment and building sector.

Call Xavier: +32 497 89 83 58
Write an email to Xavier Le Den

Lars Riemann

Executive Director

Lars brings Strategic Leadership of Ramboll's business within the Buildings Market.

He has gained experience as a structural engineer within design and optimisation of light steel structures, incl. sheet steel structures

Call Lars: +45 5161 6897
Write an email to Lars Riemann