Australia’s first approved Science Based Target real estate

The property company, Investa, committed to net zero emissions by 2040 in 2016 across its office portfolio and business operations. The company lays claim to be the first Science Based Target in Australian real estate.

Science Based Targets (SBT) , devised by the the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and WWF aims to help businesses see how much and how quickly they should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

To qualify as SBT, Investa’s targets must demonstrate alignment with climate change science.  As well as adhering to the Paris Agreement of two degrees Celsius, meeting a set of stringent sector-based scope 1,2 and 3 reduction targets. In addition, supply chain must be addressed. Tenants emission - which have posed a challenge for most office managers - must be limited.

“To date, the Australian real estate sector limits emission reporting to Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which reflect base building operations only,” said Nina James, Investa general manager.

“Investa has gone beyond managing just our own corporate emission responsibilities, to now target reductions in total building consumption, enabling our tenants to join us in transitioning to a low carbon economy and having a broader impact on the communities in which we operate,” she added.

Shifting to Scope 3 will be the next challenge. There are regulatory barriers in accessing tenants energy consumption data. The company's solution was introducing the first Performance Lease in 2018 to help tenants improve their own emissions performance. Tenants are required to share resource consumption data which enables Investa to leverage its deep expertise in low carbon office management.

Ms James said the plan is to keep evolving the toolkit going forward. The next step, now that tenant data is being collected, is to display that data on the toolkit “in an anonymous way”.

“We’ve worked out a way to do it anonymously so that it sparks the competitive nature in organisations but still protects the business.”

Image source: The Fifth Estate

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