Grosvenor launches £90m programme to reduce emissions from historic portfolio

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has announced a £90m programme to retrofit and future-proof its historic London estate as a key component of its 2030 commitment to becoming a net zero carbon business.

They are one of 25 leading UK property companies that made a Climate Change Commitment in 2019 to publish and report annually against a net zero carbon pathway.

Recently launched, the Pathway focusses on their biggest levers for change:

  1. Reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from our historic London estate in Mayfair and Belgravia by over 70%
  2. Reducing embodied carbon in construction projects to a maximum of 500kgCO2e/m2 from 2025 and developing buildings that are operationally net zero.
  3. Reducing the carbon emissions from our supply chain

In 2019, emissions were 59,100 tonnes of CO2. In 2030, they will be 28,600 tonnes or less (a drop of at least 52%); any residual emissions which cannot be reduced will then be offset.

Central to achieving this reduction is a £90m ring-fenced commitment to a targeted energy saving and retrofit programme which will future-proof heritage and other buildings across their Mayfair and Belgravia portfolio.  

Here, they manage over 2,500 units mostly within a conservation area including 500 Grade I and II listed buildings and structures. A £25m retrofit programme has already contributed to a 25% carbon saving since 2013, future-proofing c450 units in over 100 buildings.

James Raynor, Chief Executive, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, commented: “Climate change is the single biggest risk to our business and society. To build climate resilience and future proof our portfolio we must fundamentally transform how we operate, develop and manage places. Today’s announcement signals a new level of ambition to climate action, setting out how we will become a net zero business in the next 10 years.”

Tor Burrows, Executive Director of Sustainability and Innovation, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, added: “Emissions from the built environment in Westminster are double the UK average*. In committing £90 million to the decarbonisation of our properties in Mayfair and Belgravia we will improve the resilience of our portfolio and the places in which we work. By 2030 we will have invested over £115 million in energy efficiency and retrofit programmes on our estate.”

Since 2015, they have reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 29% and like for like energy consumption by 14% across the business. They’ve also accelerated our decarbonisation programme and tools already in place to help us meet our 2030 net zero carbon goal include:

  1. Supply Chain Charter: By 2030, the aim is that at least 40% of suppliers by emissions will have set a Science Based Target and procure their energy from renewable sources, and all supplier vehicles serving our London estate will be electric by 2025.
  2. Green leases: To reduce carbon emissions from occupiers, they have developed and rolled out industry leading green lease clauses into our standard leases from April 2020. These see them procure 100% renewable energy for occupiers at competitive and less volatile prices as part of a partnership approach to achieving net zero carbon together.
  3. Environmental Scorecards: Their Sustainable Development Brief sets quantitative targets for energy use intensity, operational carbon and embodied carbon emissions. This is backed up by an Environmental Scorecard system which tracks all projects through the development cycle and approval process.

Tor Burrows concluded: Success is only possible by working side by side with our tenants, suppliers and communities. Carbon reduction on this scale cannot be achieved alone; close collaboration is fundamental to drive behaviour change which has a lasting, positive impact.”

Hannah Fluck, Head of Environmental Strategy, Historic England commented: “Older buildings can offer many lessons and insights to help us tackle the climate crisis. Investing in them in a way that makes the most of their inherent sustainability and resilience is an important part of our country’s journey towards net zero. Historic England welcomes Grosvenor’s commitments, and we look forward to exploring with them how best to deliver the dual benefits of reducing carbon and energy and conserving our built heritage for future generations.”

* 40% of global emissions are from the built environment but this is higher in London where the figure is 78% and even higher in Westminster at 85%

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