The Science Behind Sustainability


You would have thought that science is engrained in sustainability right? I mean global warming and ecological change are fairly scientific topics that need to be understood and tackled with hard data and sophisticated theory. However, until now many companies have been addressing their sustainability problems in a largely unscientific way, setting targets and agreeing strategies based on, well, whatever suited them.

This is changing and the link between science and sustainability is finally being realised in the corporate environment. This may seem like an obvious thing to do but only a few companies around the world have made this connection and Land Securities is one of them.

Following the historic COP 21 Paris Agreement last year, signed by 195 member states, it felt like the perfect opportunity to review our climate change strategy and set a new carbon reduction target. It was also good timing to review our energy efficiency target as well, as this year we’ve already achieved our 2020 target by reducing demand in our top five consuming buildings by 15% since 2014.

In order to drive the necessary carbon reductions, we have set a new science-based carbon target. The World Resources Institute defines targets as science-based if they are “in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C”. Essentially it means that the target is in line with the challenging requirements agreed to in Paris.

Working with the Carbon Trust, Land Securites has conducted ground-breaking analysis and has become the first property company globally to set a science-based carbon reduction target. We have used a new, innovative methodology which uses data from leading climate science and our target is currently being reviewed by the Science Based Target Initiative, a movement comprised of leading climate NGO’s.

From a 2014 baseline, we will reduce carbon intensity (that’s kgCO2/m2) by 40% by 2030, in buildings under our management for at least two years. This will put us on the pathway for achieving our longer term ambition of an 80% reduction by 2050. Although these numbers may seem large, it’s what’s required to contain global warming to acceptable levels and we’re ready for the challenge.

In order to achieve this, we have also set ourselves a company-wide energy intensity target. In the same buildings we will reduce energy intensity (kWh/m2) by 40% by 2030 using the same baseline. This will require us to continue to develop sustainable and innovative buildings and for our energy management programme to be more proactive than ever.

We’re on the right track and our sustainability programme is already delivering in development and operations. The fuel cell at 20 Fenchurch Street is the first of its kind and produces 7% of the site’s large energy consumption in a much cleaner way than usual.

Last year we also piloted an innovative scheme with NG Bailey in our London portfolio, reducing energy usage by 9% in six of our largest consuming buildings. This scheme is now being rolled out across other London assets and we’re exploring ways the partnership can develop within ourRetail portfolio as well.

In Retail we’re also pushing the boundaries for solar power and are continuing with plans to install new arrays at four of our destinations. The proposed scheme at Leeds White Rose will be the largest on a UK shopping centre at a whopping 785 kWp in size, more than three times the current largest!

At Land Securities we take the issue of climate change seriously and we’re committed to reducing our impact and leading the way for sustainable property.


This blog was originally published here