Climate change & carbon

At Landsec, we're committed to playing our part in tackling the climate crisis. As part of this we're making good progress against our ambitious science-based carbon reduction target and transitioning to net zero.

Throughout the past decade, Landsec has established itself as a global sustainability leader in its sector. We’ve set and achieved ambitious carbon targets, invested in renewable energy, and reduced energy use in our buildings. However, in 2019, the world’s carbon emissions continued to increase, and so the coming decade is critical for the world’s response to climate change, and the need to limit the worst of its impacts.  

In 2016 we became the first commercial real estate company in the world to have its carbon emission target approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, linking our targets with the science of climate change. In line with our aim to lead our sector, in 2019 we became the first UK REIT to increase the ambition level of our science-based carbon reduction target, aligning it to a 1.5oC scenario. Our approved science-based target (SBT) will see us reduce our absolute carbon emissions by 70% from a 2013/14 baseline over the next eleven years. This year we reduced our carbon emissions by 42% in line with the updated target.

 

Transitioning to net zero carbon

The independent Committee on Climate Change recommended, and Government accepted, that the UK should aim to be net zero carbon by 2050. It stated that this is technically feasible with known technologies, and those who can, should aim to be net zero carbon sooner than this. To support the world in limiting global warming to 1.5ºC we are transitioning to net zero carbon which we are achieving through our science-based carbon reduction target. Starting with The Forge, the UK’s first net zero building, all our future developments will be net zero.

To transition to net zero carbon we are taking the following 5 actions:

Our net zero carbon strategy

1. Reduce operational energy use

The first step in transitioning to net zero is to reduce our operational carbon emissions. For that reason, as part of our net zero carbon strategy, in 2019 we increased the ambition of our science-based target, aligning our carbon reductions with a 1.5ºC scenario. Our current target is to reduce our absolute carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 from a 2013/14 baseline. Our target includes scope 1, 2 and a portion of scope 3 emissions from downstream leased assets. This year we reduced our carbon emissions by 55%. A key way we can reduce carbon is by lowering the energy use of our assets, and this has the additional benefit of reducing our customers’ energy costs. Find out more here

2. Invest in renewable energy

Since 2016, all the electricity we procure is REGO-backed renewable and we are looking to move our procurement towards direct purchasing from renewable projects through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). We aim to increase the amount of renewable electricity we generate on our sites. Our current on-site renewable electricity capacity is 1.5MW, halfway to our commitment of achieving 3MW. Find out more here

3. Use an internal shadow price of carbon 

As part of our net zero strategy, we’ve set an internal shadow price of carbon to help us consider the cost of carbon emissions in our investment decisions. We established our price of carbon at £80 per tCO2e based on the required investments in carbon and energy reduction to meet our science-based target. This price is also consistent with the United Nations Global Compact guidance on carbon pricing and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s forecast of carbon prices through to 2030.

4. Reduce construction impacts

 We’re committed to continue reducing the carbon emissions associated with our construction activities. When developing a new building today, we include embodied carbon emissions from our supply chain in this commitment. 

We recognise that reducing the emissions arising from our construction activity including; extraction of natural resources, manufacturing, transport and construction is crucial. This is because they represent a significant footprint as these typically amount to about half of the total emissions associated with the building over its entire life. Importantly, retaining the existing structure or repositioning assets has the most impact when creating high-quality spaces at minimum carbon emissions. 

Across our development pipeline, we’ve continued reducing as a priority the embodied carbon emissions in our supply chain. From early design to developed design, Timber Square demonstrated a 15% reduction in embodied carbon intensity, for an intensity just over half that of the typical benchmark. Timber Square uses an embodied-carbon Value Engineering schedule to track all proposed design decisions to the defined carbon budget set at developed design stage.

The first step is to simplify our designs to limit the cost of materials. Buying fewer materials is the best way to reduce carbon. Find out how we are doing this here

5. Offset remaining carbon 

To be truly net zero carbon in construction, we will need to offset emissions once we have minimised all those on site. We are buying our first carbon offsets for the Forge through a third-party provider. We ensure our offsets meet the eight principles laid out by the UKGBC to safeguard the environmental integrity and guarantee the quality of the offset. We aim to do this by funding projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere via procurement of carbon credits. By financing projects in developing areas around the world, these credits have a further social impact through job creation and the support of sustainable living in line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. 

For more information please read our Net Zero Carbon Pathways document 

 

Tackling our full carbon footprint

Although we’re making good progress on reducing our own emissions, we recognise that we also have an important role to play in influencing emission reduction of our supply chain and customers.

Every year we report on the entire range of measurable carbon emissions associated with our business. These include the ones we control, like when we use energy to heat and power our properties, as well as emissions indirectly associated with our business, like the embodied carbon emissions produced by construction companies and suppliers when they work with us to develop a property. Our full carbon footprint can be found here. 

Landsec is showing great leadership within the global property industry, positioning itself to future-proof growth as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy"

Pedro Faria

Member of the Science Based Targets initiative steering committee, CDP

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