Paul King, director of WWF's One Million Sustainable Homes campaign, says his organisation is doing its bit to help housebuilders get greener
It's a startling fact that if everyone on the planet were to consume natural resources and generate carbon dioxide at the rate we do in the UK, we'd need three planets to support us. WWF is concerned about our homes because of the huge environmental impacts they can cause in terms of carbon dioxide emissions (nearly 30% of UK emissions), the use of natural resources like timber and water, and the generation of waste.

Homes and communities are also crucial in determining lifestyle choices such as how we travel to work and where we buy our food. For these reasons WWF launched its One Million Sustainable Homes campaign in 2002 to bring sustainable homes – those that have significantly less impact on the environment – from the fringes to the mainstream of UK housebuilding.

WWF initiated a stakeholder dialogue to find out why it wasn't happening already. We consulted more than 350 stakeholders, from housebuilders and developers to planners and investors, and identified six key barriers: lack of fiscal incentives, government regulations failing to facilitiate sustainable homes, lack of investor interest, cost, a lack of definition of what constitutes sustainable housing, and an absence of consumer demand.

Clearly WWF could not overcome these barriers alone. We formed a Sustainable Homes Task Force, which includes a wide range of partners: the House Builders Federation, Countryside Properties, Halifax Bank of Scotland, the Environment Agency, BioRegional, BRE, the Housing Forum, the Housing Corporation, Sustainable Homes and SEEDA.

The WWF/ERM report Fiscal Incentives for Sustainable Homes investigates how changes to the fiscal system could lead to more sustainable homes. WWF was delighted that the 2004 Budget introduced tax relief for landlords on expenditure on energy-efficiency measures. We continue to push for further fiscal incentives, including stamp duty and VAT relief for sustainable homes.

The Sustainable and Secure Buildings Bill, supported by WWF, has successfully made it through its third reading in the House of Commons. This bill will amend the Building Act and allow the building regulations to address sustainability for the first time.

The government has formed a Sustainable Buildings Task Group to recommend measures to improve the environmental performance of buildings. WWF is the only non-governmental organisation represented on the group, which has just produced its report.

WWF and Insight Investment (asset management at HBOS) benchmarked the sustainability performance of the top listed housebuilders. The results can be found at WWF and HBOS are also discussing opportunities to create market-based incentives for the development of sustainable homes.

As part of the campaign BioRegional has undertaken a scoping study for a "One Planet Products Buyers Group" to help reduce the costs of key products and materials. WWF and BioRegional are also running a series of "One Planet Living" professional development courses.

With the HBF, WWF has launched a Sustainable New Homes Award and it is also discussing opportunities for partnership work to raise consumer awareness with CABE and HBOS. We're also working with developers to push the boundaries of best practice and deliver communities that make it attractive, affordable and easy for residents to live on one planet.