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Sunday, 17 November

Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting And Greening the Legacy Stock

To radically reduce carbon emissions, we need to re-structure the relationship between landlords, occupiers and FM was the message from the first ThisWeekinFM supported Property Affiliates' Education Events.

Entitled 'Greening the Legacy Stock', the event also looked for the inclusion of investors, vendors and property managers.

The event was organised in partnership with The Planet Mark. It brought together multiple stakeholders from the sector to share knowledge on the risks and opportunities in sustainability that will transform the UK’s existing property estate.

Sponsors for the breakfast event, which took place at the Gherkin on April 25, were ABM UK, Distech Controls SAS, Managed Property Services, PPS Power and Troup Bywaters & Anders.

Mike Green, MD of Property Affiliates provided an opening address to set the scene: He said of a new look Property Affiliates: “Our goal is to bring together experts from across the property industry to address the challenges of our time.  We chose sustainability for our first event as there is no greater issue facing us than climate change and its related impacts.”

 

Regulation, Reputation and Investment Funds Driving Sustainability in the Property Sector

Three guest speakers discussed the role of regulation, reputation and the leverage of investors in driving change through the property sector. 

Lord Redesdale, CEO of the Energy Managers Association and architect of the recently launched Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting (SECR) regulation, said: “SECR will have the largest impact on energy efficiency in the built environment in recent years as it mandates that company board members sign off on their carbon footprint and energy efficiency measures each year to Companies House.”

Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), comes into force this month, requiring businesses with more than 250 employees and an annual turnover of £36+ million or an annual balance sheet of £18+ million, to report their UK energy use, efficiency measures deployed and emissions from the use of gas, fleet vehicle fuel, waste, travel and products.

The effect of this regulation will be to bring occupiers, property management companies and landlords together to share information on carbon emissions in their estate and measures undertaken to reduce emissions and energy consumption.

 

ESG

Jon Lovell, Co-Founder of Hillbreak, who provide environmental, social and governance (ESG) advice in the property sector, discussed how ESG has moved to the mainstream of property investment decision making and that institutional investor pressure (and corporate occupier expectations) are now driving the market.

The continued growth of sustainability certification, benchmarking and reporting (from the UN Sustainable Development Goals and GRESB to Well Building and The Planet Mark) along with policy and more ambitious investor ESG strategies, indicate a maturing of ESG in the property sector. The major shift in disclosure requirements, including climate-related reporting, is helping to promote more informed investment, lending and insurance underwriting decisions.

 Lovell highlighted that asset managers are beginning to receive climate-related questions from investors and shareholders, offering example of questions such as:

  • Did you conduct a climate scenario analysis, describing the implications of one or more scenarios? 

  • What impact would physical and transitional climate effects have on the value of assets?

  • Do you conduct materiality assessments to identify key climate risks? What are the main risk factors identified?

The consensus in the discussion session that followed was that, whilst there may be pockets of knowledge regarding climate issues and ESG imperatives in the property sector, there was a general lack of awareness; and existing and new forums would be needed to communicate to stakeholders across the value chain. The large group of attendees agreed that the relationship between service providers in the property sector needed to be remodelled, transparent and collaborative.

 

The Planet Mark

In her opening address, Sarah Gillett, COO of The Planet Mark, began the session by stressing the increasing responsibility of all businesses to cut carbon emissions and demonstrably contribute to society. “This is not just a regulatory issue,” she stated. “There is a global movement coming from all angles that poses great risk along with great opportunities for any and every business.”

Citing the growing expectations of the millennial generation, she went on to stress the increasing brand risk from inaction on climate change. “The built environment contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. About half of this is due to the energy required for functional operation of buildings and the other half is from energy ‘in-use’ by occupiers. Stakeholders in the property sector have an opportunity and responsibility to address both.”

 

Schools Strike for Climate

The recent demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion and Schools Strike for Climate are raising the public awareness around climate issues and sustainability.  They are bringing the commitment of brands and businesses into the public eye and their reputation and ethics into question.  all the attendees recognised the rapid pace of change in awareness and discourse and the similarities to the campaign to drive out single-use plastic and plastics generally. The question was posed, is the property industry well placed to respond to rapidly changing demands?

Picture: The top of the Gherkin, (aka 30 St Mary Axe) played host to the first Property Affiliates' Education Events supported by ThisWeekinFM.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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