Derwent London Leads Occupier Engagement for Climate Action

29/06/2022

To accelerate progress towards net zero carbon, Derwent London carried out its first Net Zero Carbon Occupier Survey. Completed by 49% of occupiers (based on estimated rental value), this revealed valuable insights into the challenges that occupiers face in delivering carbon reductions and highlighted opportunities for greater collaboration. Derwent London is now engaging with occupiers to support them in sharing best practice, setting targets and benchmarking performance.

Key barriers and challenges identified

Occupier Green Forums resumed

Guidance notes being developed

Situation

Derwent London’s ambitious sustainability goals include achieving a net zero carbon portfolio by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to no more than 1.5°C. Derwent London published its Net Zero Carbon Pathway in July 2020 – the first UK Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to do so, which includes occupier emissions. 

More than half of Derwent London’s carbon footprint comes from Scope 3 emissions – activities that it has no direct control over. These include emissions from occupier energy consumption, so effective collaboration with occupiers is vital to achieve its net zero commitment. Derwent London’s Net Zero Pathway therefore prioritises occupier engagement, to support them in achieving their own sustainability aspirations and at the same time improve building performance, including reducing energy use, carbon emissions, water consumption and waste.

Actions

In September 2021, Derwent London carried out its first Net Zero Carbon Occupier Survey to gain a deeper understanding of where occupiers are on their environmental journey. This included questions on their own energy, water and waste measures, carbon offsetting and employee climate engagement programmes, as well as what their sustainability goals are and how Derwent London could best support them. 

Some 49% of occupiers (by rental value) responded. Their input enabled Derwent London to build a picture of the six key barriers and challenges that occupiers face in delivering carbon reductions:

  1. Where to start: Understanding how to transform emissions data into meaningful reductions.
  2. Whose carbon is it anyway? Understanding where the responsibility lies for different emissions (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) and setting appropriate, achievable targets.
  3. Changing behaviour: Engaging employees and integrating carbon reduction measures into daily workplace activities.
  4. Resources: Limited capacity for collecting and managing data and ensuring consistent standards.
  5. Supply chain: Challenges in collecting and reporting Scope 3 emissions, and in implementing consistent sustainability standards across supply chains.
  6. Operations: Having a voice in their building – influencing the source of energy supply and recycling facilities.

Informed by these insights, Derwent London is now building a dialogue with occupiers and developing guidance notes and case studies on how to improve energy efficiency to cut carbon emissions, as well as initiatives to reduce water consumption and waste.

Importantly, Derwent London has also resumed occupier Green Forums in most multi-let buildings. Paused during the pandemic, these provide a platform for Derwent London and occupiers to collaborate – sharing news, ideas and goals, reviewing building performance and discussing energy, water and waste initiatives. Run in conjunction with building managers, attendees also include members of the Derwent London sustainability, asset management and property management teams.

In addition, Derwent London is following up with individual occupiers on their survey responses, exploring areas of interest and opportunities together. Occupiers are at different stages in their sustainability journey and the 2021 survey is a positive early step towards closer collaboration.

Financial

The survey was carried out at no cost, via Survey Monkey.

Benefits

  • Growing closer relationships with occupiers and building a better understanding of their sustainability initiatives, goals and challenges, as well as exploring how they want to work with Derwent London.
  • Identifying opportunities for greater collaboration with occupiers, including sharing best practice, setting targets and benchmarking performance.
  • Advancing progress on Derwent London’s goal to achieve a net zero carbon portfolio by 2030, which encompasses emissions from occupier energy consumption.

Challenges & Achievements

CONTACTS

 

How do you identify key occupier contacts?

Reaching the right contacts is key to obtaining good information. The Derwent London sustainability team worked closely with building managers to identify the most relevant contact within each occupier. These included facilities managers, sustainability managers, energy managers and office managers. The asset management team also provided input. Derwent London is now in its second phase of engagement. This includes reaching out to occupiers who completed the survey to overcome the challenges identified, restarting Green Forums and sending the survey to remaining occupiers. 

 

“As part of our journey to net zero carbon, we have been working to reduce the embodied and operational carbon in our buildings. With 80+ buildings in the capital across 5.6m square feet and home to over 350 organisations, collaboration with our occupiers is essential to us achieving our ambitions.”

Damian Wisniewski, Chief Financial Officer, Derwent London