Climate Action & Sustainability

We offer sustainability consulting services and climate action strategies for developers, building owners, and tenants. Focusing on certification, strategy, and analytics, we help organizations and communities achieve carbon targets and sustainability goals.
The majority of the buildings that will exist in 2030, and even in 2050, have already been built. From a climate action point of view, the architect’s function has as much to do with breaking new ground as it does with managing, altering, and evolving what we already have.
—Anthony Brower, Climate Action & Sustainability leader

Carbon performance certifications will permeate American and global real estate in the immediate future.

Radical transparency is the name of the game as companies shift to a culture of disclosure around their environmental commitments. Net zero energy and carbon certifications will become baseline expectations even in industries with traditionally poor building performance.


The world will follow Europe’s lead as it charts a course toward regenerative systems.

Recognizing that carbon reduction is only a first step in a long journey, much of Europe is embracing climate action strategies focused on low-tech design and regenerative systems. Such strategies will shift the focus from minimizing environmental harm (net zero) to actively benefiting local ecologies and generating renewable, clean energy (net positive).


Transforming existing buildings and materials with reuse strategies will supersede new construction.

As energy grids decarbonize, the embodied carbon associated with new construction will become more consequential. Adaptive reuse, which can reduce a building’s life cycle carbon by 40%, will be an important antidote to this dilemma, especially as forward-thinking governments and firms pledge to prioritize retrofits over new builds.


Certifications will emerge to better define and quantify socially responsible strategies — the ‘S’ in ESG.

While many prominent certifications programs exist to demonstrate environmental and governance commitments, the same cannot currently be said for social aspects of ESG. Funds are increasingly seeking clarity on equity, inclusion, and wellness. In coming years, we expect new evaluation systems for socially responsible strategies as companies look to prove their mettle to investors.

The majority of U.S. adults see a need for a government action to address climate change — 90% of survey respondents.
A person walking in front of a large white building.
Design Forecast 2023
10 Meta Trends That Will Transform the Future of Cities
Design Forecast identifies the trends and design strategies that are shaping the future of the human experience and the built environment. We provide strategic advice, research, and projects from all 29 of Gensler's practices to help clients prepare for transformational times.