Embodied Carbon Cities Policy Toolkit

This resource library was made in partnership with C40 Cities.

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Policy How-to Guides

Many policy options exist for reducing embodied carbon. This set of resources can help you identify and implement policies that are appropriate for your city’s specific goals and priorities.

General Policy Resources:

City Policy Framework for Dramatically Reducing Embodied Carbon:

This report from the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance summarizes and categorizes 52 municipal policies to reduce embodied carbon emissions from around the world.

CLF Embodied Carbon Policy Toolkit:

The Carbon Leadership Forum created a toolkit hosting a collection of resources to support the crafting of policies to radically reduce embodied carbon.

Reducing Embodied Emissions in Private and Residential Buildings:

C40 created an implementation guide on how private and public buildings can reduce embodied carbon. It explains the policy levers and other measures cities can use depending on the level of control they have over their building stock.

Reduce Embodied Emissions in Municipal Construction:

C40 created an implementation guide on how to start municipal projects that target embodied carbon reduction. Embodied emissions in municipal projects could be reduced through procurement, pilots, and more.

C40 Clean Construction Policy Explorer:

This is an interactive dashboard showing how cities around the world are supporting the transition to a zero-emissions construction sector, including links to policy documents.

Building Reuse and Deconstruction:

Policy Opportunities to Increase Material Circularity in the Building Industry:

This policy brief outlines recommended steps municipalities can take to increase material circularity and reduce emissions in the buildings sector.

C40’s Deconstruction Implementation Guide:

C40 created this Deconstruction Implementation Guide to direct you through the journey of deconstructing instead of demolishing your city’s buildings.

Building As Material Banks (BAMB):

BAMB’s mission is to create a circular building sector by using a reversible building design. This design allows buildings to be easily deconstructed or parts to be removed and added easily without damaging the building or the products, components, or materials, thus reducing the amount of waste produced.

Buy Clean Procurement:

CLF Buy Clean Policy Primer:

This resource provides insight into why embodied carbon is an urgent problem, how Buy Clean poses a solution, and an overview of the key policy elements.

CLF Guidance on Buy Clean Policy Implementation:

This document aims to provide an overview of key stakeholders and strategies for addressing the implementation challenges related to Buy Clean policies.

Sustainable Procurement:

This is a resource from EnergyStar describing how the program can be used to support Buy Clean policies.


Lifecycle GHG Impacts in Building Codes:

New Building Institute issued a report that dives into the opportunities for reducing embodied carbon in code, suggests code language, and provides an in-depth discussion of data and targets for concrete, steel, and refrigerants.

City of Vancouver Zero Emissions Buildings:

This web page links to the city’s Zero Emissions Building Plan, its development bylaws, policies, and guidelines and its Embodied Carbon Strategy.


CLF Guidance on Embodied Carbon Disclosure:

This resource aims to guide policymakers and procurement professionals in collecting high-quality embodied carbon data.

Clean Construction:

C40’s Low-Emissions Zone Implementation Guide:

C40 created an implementation guide for cities interested in including policies targeting low-emissions construction zones using electrified equipment.

Please reach out to RMI and C40 Cities for other embodied carbon resources to support your city’s efforts to lead the reduction of embodied carbon in construction:

This resource library was inspired by a 2022 workshop series co-hosted by C40 and RMI for city officials seeking to implement embodied carbon reduction strategies. The resources included in the library were shared by the workshop attendee group and were developed the following organizations: American Institute of Architects, Architecture 2030, Architects Declare, Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, Buildings as Material Banks, Builders for Climate Action, Building Transparency, Carbon Leadership Forum, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, EHDD, Government Alliance on Race and Equity, Greenlining Institute, Mantle Developments, New Buildings Institute, OneClick LCA, Pacific Coast Collaborative, Sustainable Procurement Pledge, and the following municipalities: Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Boulder, CO; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; London, England; Milan, Italy; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Toronto, Canada; and Vancouver, Canada.