GRESB Insights

Transaction Management and the Transition to ‘Net-Zero’

Ahead of COP26, due to take place in Glasgow this November, IPCC has released its most recent report on climate change. The report reaffirms it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land, and that limiting human-induced global warming requires limiting cumulative carbon emissions, and reaching at least net zero carbon.

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Zero carbon, a critical ESG challenge for the Real Estate sector

Faced with ever-increasing pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the world is currently in a phase of global warming. The question is no longer how to avoid this trend, but how to curb it and adapt as well as possible. We’re also seeing more pressure from the market, where there’s a growing awareness of issues around ESG and an increasing focus on assets’ extra-financial value.

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Different Guidelines, Different Definitions : Why We Need a Standardised Net Zero Carbon Certification Scheme for Real Estate Investors

o limit global warming to 1.5°C, the world needs to be carbon neutral by 2050. Real estate investors are racing to capture the business opportunities and mitigate risks in the transition towards a zero-carbon economy. To date, 128 asset managers, representing approximately $43 trillion in assets under management (AUM), are committed to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative and supporting the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.

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Carbon Neutrality

Achieving carbon neutrality has become increasingly important in recent decades due to global community concerns over climate change. The destructive impacts of emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), on climate change are widely accepted.

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Material use and its impact on Carbon Neutrality

According to the European Academies Science  Advisory Council (EASAC), in 2021, buildings will be responsible for 25% of the European greenhouse  emissions and for 40% of the European energy consumption. We must roll up our sleeves and work together to ensure a liveable future.  

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Net-Zero: Where Are We Now?

The newly released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), indicates that climate action is becoming increasingly urgent to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate change. Businesses play an important role in addressing climate change by reducing what are often significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their operations and value chain. 

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The Race Against Time: Decarbonizing the Commercial Real Estate Industry

aces another looming threat: a climate that’s warming even faster than we previously realized. A startling new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of more extreme weather events to come as the temperature continues to rise. 

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How to Define Boundaries for GHG Reporting

Environmental management and sustainability reporting have become crucial for companies, investors, and governments around the world as countries strive to achieve the Paris Agreement target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Governments are developing national strategies to address this issue, which include emissions trading schemes, voluntary initiatives, carbon or energy taxes, as well as regulations and standards on energy efficiency and emissions. In turn, companies must discern their position on GHG emissions as they work toward carbon neutrality in order to comply with these new restrictions.

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Decarbonization at Scale: The Portfolio-Level Net Zero Carbon OPR

As more companies realize the need to decarbonize their real estate portfolios in the face of increasing climate risk and rising investor expectations, guidance on how to transition to Net Zero Carbon (NZC) on the portfolio level is crucial. While most owners and developers are familiar with the typical Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) to deliver on individual project goals, development teams will need to start by creating a portfolio-level OPR and expand its lens beyond basic OPR strategies to specifically focus on NZC to decarbonize at scale.

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Clean energy needs engaged buildings

If the world is to reach net zero emissions by 2050, electricity networks will need to be carbon-free in advanced economies by 2035 and globally by 2040. This will require rapid scaling of renewable energy investments, tripling to around USD $4 trillion per annum by end of this decade, plus the meeting of hundreds of other milestones set out by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its recent ‘Net Zero by 2050’ report.

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EPC Grades or Actual Energy Use? Grappling with Net-Zero Chalk and Cheese

Radical improvements in the energy efficiency of existing buildings are needed if we are to reach net zero. But should their performance be assessed by their EPC grade or actual operational energy use? Both are the answer, but these are chalk and cheese, so property owners and investors must learn to deal with two very different agendas.

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The Imperative of Science-Based Pathways to Net Zero

It’s time to get to work. With more than 30% of global emissions attributed to the built environment, the real estate sector has a tremendous role to play in softening the most catastrophic consequences of our warming planet. Thankfully, many real estate companies have moved past the era of lofty, mismanaged sustainability goals and have begun setting net zero targets that align with the latest climate science.

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Centering Social Equity in Climate Risk Analysis and ESG Reporting

There’s much to celebrate in the advancement of climate-informed investment decisions. This is largely owing to the growth of actionable data that measures climate and environmental risk and opportunities — the “E” in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). However, there is little captured about “S,” which means that these climate-informed decisions can be made without considering social impacts.

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Tackle the Climate Crisis by Tackling the Data Crisis!

When we support our clients in their GRESB reporting season, it becomes clear time and again that data availability and quality are often a challenge. Despite the increased use of software solutions, the situation has not changed much.

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Reporting ESG Data in 2021: Meeting High Investor Expectations in the Wake of COVID-19

Businesses are expected to have timely, accurate, and verifiable financial information on hand at all times. As investor appetite for ESG disclosure and sustainability reports increases, the demand for non-financial data is rising nearly to that level of expectation. Stakeholders, as well as the public, are acutely aware of the risks associated with a company’s poor sustainability performance, unfavorable working conditions, and lack of diversity among management, and other factors.

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ESG Metrics in Real Estate

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Most sustainability professionals have heard this adage enough times to repeat it in our sleep (and possibly elicit an eye roll). Still, the unfortunate truth is that the “measure” part of the equation is often easier said than done.

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The case for “bounce-forward” climate-resilient infrastructure

Because climate change is constantly shifting the overall environmental equilibrium, “bounce-back” approaches are becoming less and less applicable in practice. A “bounce-forward” approach accounts for continuous adaptation to disturbances or changes to the steady state.

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Defining Resilience: A People-First Approach to Protecting Places

In my years working at the intersection of health and design, I’ve noticed that something interesting tends to happen in conversations about resilience. Often, when the word is mentioned, everyone nods in vigorous agreement – while thinking of very different things.In real estate, of course, resilience tends to be all about designing structures to withstand the increasingly violent consequences of a warming earth. The conversation might turn to things like base-isolated corporate campuses or minimalist modern floating homes.

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4 Ways to Increase Resilience in the Built Environment: Responding to the Threat

The growing severity of climate-related risks and, as 2020 has shown us, the risk of global social, health and financial events we cannot anticipate means we will increasingly need to anticipate, respond, and adapt to a range of risks. To increase the resilience of our built environment, we will need to combine all available approaches: resistance, reliability, redundancy, response and recovery. Together they can help our buildings and infrastructure survive and thrive.

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Resilience: Confronting Climate Change and Adapting Your Real Estate Asset Management Accordingly

The real estate sector accounts for more than a third of CO2 emissions in Europe, yet only 1% of building inventory is renovated each year. This reality has led to growing market awareness, with the emergence of new European and national environmental regulations.

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