28.6% lower CO2 intensity in 2017/18
£2.5m invested in energy efficiency and on-site renewables in 2017/18
£800,000 annual energy cost savings for occupiers
1.4 MW on-site renewable capacity
Landsec is the largest commercial property company in the UK. The company has a longstanding sustainability programme. In 2015, the CEO challenged the company to become the sustainability leader in the real estate sector. Drivers included investors increasingly asking about sustainability, growing interest from occupiers and increased focus on climate change in the run up to the UN Conference in Paris (COP 21).
Landsec’s Head of Sustainability and Public Affairs attended COP 21 and decided that Landsec needed to set a science-based reduction target for CO2 emissions. She secured buy-in to take a lead to move the sector forward on this critical issue, committing to what is required to tackle the climate change challenge, not just what is achievable.
Science-based targets seek to deliver on the commitment made by leaders from 195 countries at COP 21 to keep global temperature rises below 2°C versus pre-industrial levels. This is based on the consensus of leading climate scientists that rises beyond that would be catastrophic.
Using the Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA) developed by the Science Based Targets initiative, Landsec set a target to reduce CO2 emissions per m2 by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, from a 2014 baseline1. This covers Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and a portion of Scope 3 emissions from downstream leased assets, for properties managed for at least two years. In pursuit of this target, Landsec leveraged £2.5m in support of energy efficiency and on-site renewable projects in 2017/18 alone.
The target has affected the way Landsec works across its three main areas of operations:
The meaning behind the science-based target has engaged internal decision makers more effectively than previous targets and allowed for greater investment than ever before.
In 2017/18, Landsec achieved:
Landsec’s science-based target and reduction activity:
How to ensure your target is truly science based?
Landsec used the SDA methodology developed by the Science Based Targets initiative. This is the leading organisation for accrediting CO2 reduction targets, backed by credible partners including the CDP, WRI, WWF and UN Global Compact. The SDA methodology remains the most popular way for companies to set science-based targets. It includes a sector-specific approach for the property industry and allowed Landsec to easily compare its decarbonisation requirements with the wider industry. By May 2016, Landsec’s target was approved internally and presented to the initiative. However, due to an incomplete Scope 3 assessment, it did not fulfil the criteria for Scope 3, that is, indirect emissions such as those produced in developing buildings and by the occupiers using buildings. As a result, Landsec carried out a full Scope 3 assessment to understand the scale of these emissions and explore opportunities to reduce them. Landsec submitted a revised target to the initiative, which was approved in December 2016, one year after the COP 21 agreement was ratified. Landsec is now part of a consortium led by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to fine-tune the methodology for real estate and support other real estate firms in setting similar targets.
How to secure buy-in across the business?
Landsec held a series of internal meetings and workshops to get people on board. They explored “what does sustainability leadership mean to you?”, using this to identify opportunities for change and start to build buy-in for ambitious targets. They then held further internal workshops that linked the macro issue of climate change, which people see on the news, to the specific details of a science-based target. These sessions started with the sustainability team and moved out, via more senior directors who the team knew were interested in these issues (the ‘early adopters’). Having people in different business areas on board helped generate support at all levels across the business. It was also empowering being able to show how the target links back to the global situation and is informed by science. There was enormous support from across the business. Landsec is now working with leasing agents and managing agents to upskill them in talking confidently about sustainability.
1 Landsec has also committed to the same reduction target for energy intensity, measured as kWh per m².
Lydia Hopton, Plan A Project Manager, Marks & Spencer
“The progress Landsec has made over the past two years is commendable. They are one of the most engaged landlords M&S works with on sustainability and this is evident in their achievement of becoming the first real estate company globally to set a science-based target.”