Rethink, rebuild, reimagine

Rethink, rebuild, reimagine

Our white paper on laying the foundation for better buildings

At a glance

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Podcast with white paper authors Richard Mylles and William Nicolle


This podcast features Richard Mylles and William Nicolle, Fellows of the UBS Sustainability and Impact Institute and authors of the latest white paper, “Rethink, rebuild, reimagine”. They discuss the crucial role of creating better buildings to deliver sustainable outcomes, particularly the need for a whole-value-chain approach to help deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Read the details

Discover more insights about laying the foundation for better buildings in our white paper.

Dig deeper with the follow-on reports

Retrofit revolution—Why the world needs one and how we can achieve it

We make the case for a retrofit revolution, not just to bring the building stock into line with the Paris climate goals, but also to address social challenges like fuel poverty and the health issues caused by drafty or poorly ventilated buildings. We then outline the key factors holding retrofitting back, and describe seven essential steps which can help to unlock it.

Under one roof—Public and private roles to catalyze sustainable building

We assess the opportunities for public and private stakeholders to collaborate in the drive to decarbonize the global buildings sector. Market barriers require public institutions to provide incentives that move the needle, while the level of capital required, and the need for innovation on some technologies, creates an important role for private institutions too.

Building society—Optimizing the social impacts of buildings

We look at how to improve the social impacts of the buildings sector. This includes the need to improve the sustainability and welfare characteristics of construction supply chains, how to marry retrofitting with regeneration, and how to ensure all communities, not just those in wealthier areas, benefit from the retrofit revolution.

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UBS's sustainable buildings

We’re LEEDing the way

Be it installing energy-efficient LED lighting in offices, water-efficient irrigation systems for landscaped areas or turning roofs into power plants, we’re doing a lot to make our UBS buildings green. In fact, we've committed to an ambitious goal: that all our main buildings are certified according to green standards, including those of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an international benchmark for sustainable construction worldwide. This certification covers criteria such as the sustainability of sites, water efficiency, energy, materials, resources and environmental quality and can be applied to buildings and construction projects, interior design, operations and maintenance processes as well as neighborhood development.

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    LEED-certified premises worldwide, meeting the highest sustainability standards

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    LEED platinum certified premises worldwide (highest accolade)

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    approx. number of electric car charging stations across 32 countries

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    our commitment to source all electricity from renewables

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    beehives across 7 green roofs globally

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    existing and upcoming rooftop solar plants

Global success

LEED certification comes in four colors, certified, silver, gold and platinum. For new buildings, we aim for gold certification, but quite often, we’re even more successful. We received LEED Platinum certifications for our headquarters in Zurich after its renovation in 2017, for our UBS offices in Mumbai and Pune in 2018 and UBS offices in Wuxi in 2016. And, in Mexico, our office space has been LEED Platinum certified since 2017. Our new offices in Singapore and Fabryczna offices in Krakow are the latest buildings to be LEED platinum certified.

Setting standards in our industry

While our headquarters in Switzerland is LEED Platinum certified, we build and renovate other office spaces according to the Swiss Minergie sustainability standard. Our 5 Broadgate building in London has the British BREEAM Excellent status for the base build and LEED Platinum status for the fit-out.

National standards can even prove to be more suitable for some buildings: we obtained the BD2M Gold environmental rating for our Grand Bretagne 2 building in Monaco. This was originally built in the late 19th century, and we were able to preserve its Belle Epoque facade. BD2M is an environmental label which focuses on the local situation in Monaco – considering the weather conditions (e.g., saline winds coming from the sea), soil, geographical aspects and territorial heritage – as well as internationally accepted social and environmental standards.

Meet our authors

This white paper is a collaborative effort from our in-house team, working together through the UBS Sustainability and Impact Institute:

portrait of Richard Mylles

Richard Mylles

Fellow Sustainability and Impact Institute

portrait of William Nicolle

William Nicolle

Fellow Sustainability and Impact Institute

portrait of Veronica Weisser

Veronica Weisser

Fellow Sustainability and Impact Institute