Our Global Sustainable Buildings Index plots each country's greenness in specific categories, while comparing the implementation and enforcement of green regulations, across 25 countries throughout the world, at a time when buildings represent one third of all emissions of CO2.

The Index classifies 25 countries in four categories according to their performance in the following fields:

  • Green certification
  • Energy performance certificates
  • Incentives for green retrofit
  • Targets of CO2 emission reduction and energy savings
  • Renewable energy
  • Regulations
  • Financing
  • Planning
  • Green leases


France is ranked high

France is ranked fourth thanks to a national legislation implemented under local law and by completing the European directives relating to sustainable real estate. For several years France has implemented regulations aiming at improving the energy performance of buildings, including the Grenelle I Act (2009), the Grenelle II Act (2010) and Thermic Regulation 2012 (RT 2012), which aim at reducing the consumption of energy in buildings by 2020. More recently, the Energy Transition Act passed in August 2015 which aims at making buildings and accommodations more efficient by increasing the use of renewable energy. In addition to these legislative tools, there are other optional certifications and labels that are generally used, such as HQE and BREEAM.

Dominated by European countries

France is beaten by only three other European countries: Germany, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Collectively, these countries are among the first to implement European directives relating to sustainable development under local law. Several European directives enabled them to reach high environmental standards, particularly for the energy performance of buildings of 2002, as amended in 2010, and the directive on renewable energy of 2009. The latter defines a framework to increase the share of renewable energy in the end consumption of energy.

Other countries also score well in specific fields

Countries such as Singapore, Canada or Australia have ranked well compared to the European countries in certain fields. In terms of environmental certification, Singapore is ranked first – the State-City has defined very ambitious targets to be reached by 2030 and made the certification mandatory for buildings exceeding a given size. In other respects, all public buildings shall obtain the certification by 2020. In most of the other countries reviewed, green certifications remain optional.

Concerning green leases, Australia, Canada and Singapore are also leading countries (with the United Kingdom). For instance, in Canada, owners of commercial premises implement leases reducing the environmental impact of their assets and provide their lessees with annual compliance reports.

The authors for France for the Index are Hervé Jégou, Local Partner, and Fabrice Varandas, Senior Associate, of the Real Estate Practice Group of Baker & McKenzie Paris.

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