As the Covid-19 pandemic forces us to rethink how we use the spaces in which we live and work, an ever-increasing number of countries and companies are committing to a net zero approach that will create a more sustainable world. JLL, a global company that specializes in real estate and investment management, is among those leading the way.
How Real Estate Can Build a Greener Future
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CO2 pollution is still rising—2019 was another record year, with the world emitting 36.81 billion metric tonnes—and it is unlikely to peak before 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). To get to net zero by 2050, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculates that the world must invest $2.4 trillion in clean energy every year until 2035.
The concept of net zero carbon neutrality is a central part of the efforts to combat climate change. Over 120 countries, accounting for almost half of global GDP, have committed to net zero targets, or to at least outperform carbon-reduction targets set in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Some are legislating the requirement, while almost 100 cities and a host of companies have announced carbon-neutral initiatives. Equally important, investment groups that manage almost $5 trillion in assets have committed to having carbon-neutral portfolios by 2050.
Why We Need Net Zero
the value of assets managed by investment groups committed to carbon-neutral portfolios.
MEETING THE NET ZERO CHALLENGE
the amount of investment required in clean energy every year to 2035 to get to net zero by 2050, according to the U.N.
square meters of floor area
of CO2e carbon emissions
JLL’s Net Zero Carbon Commitment in Numbers
of the world’s annual GDP derives from nations, regions and cities with an actual or intended net zero target.
The buildings that surround us could hold the key to meeting global climate change commitments
—Christian Ulbrich, Global CEO, JLL
With more than 2.5 billion people moving into cities over the next 30 years, we have a responsibility to help ensure the built environment evolves and adapts in a sustainable way.
At the heart of the net zero challenge is the built environment. Buildings account for around 36% of global energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions. In addition, global building stock is predicted to double in the next 30 years.
The 2019 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, released by the U.N. and the IEA, declared that “decarbonization of the buildings and construction sector is critical to achieve the Paris Agreement commitment and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.” Energy-efficiency measures could deliver a 48% reduction in global emissions by 2030, with 43% of those emissions coming from buildings, resulting in cumulative savings of as much as $2.8 trillion.
The pandemic has offered a stark reminder of the commitment required to ensure a sustainable future. The 8% decrease in CO2 emissions seen as a result of the lockdown, with an attendant drop in economic activity, is comparable to the 7.6% reduction calculated to be needed each year until 2030 to meet the 1.5C maximum climate rise commitment of the Paris Agreement.
According to We Mean Business—a coalition that brings together other nonprofits such as Ceres, the CDP and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development—the pandemic has accelerated action by companies to reduce risk, build resilience and set themselves up for long-term success in a zero carbon future. In its Build Back Better manifesto, the coalition highlights the path ahead for business investment and growth:
Covid-19 and How to Build Back Better
Realizing sustainable buildings requires annual capital flows toward energy efficiency to increase by an average of $27 billion over the next decade, a relatively small addition to the $4.9 trillion already invested each year in buildings globally.
Launched by Mike Bloomberg and former Bank of England boss Mark Carney to increase transparency in the markets, specifically around climate change, TCFD focus on the financial impact, monetary risk and opportunities of climate change. As of September 2020, over 1,400 companies have signed up.
“TCFD should be an important part of any company’s enterprise risk management model,” explains Richard Batten, Global Chief Sustainability Officer at JLL. “Shareholder demand means more companies will be taking this up. TCFD helps ensure a consistent reporting approach that our investors will be able to analyze us on.”
Understanding and integrating science into decision-making is the best way to protect against future shocks. It provides a pathway to reduce costs and create new opportunities to transition to a low-carbon economy. To date, over 1,000 companies have committed to the Science Based Targets initiative, with a growing number companies, including JLL, setting a validated targets of 1.5C—the most robust and ambitious target.
We Mean Business recommends that companies prioritize investment in energy-efficiency solutions such as retrofitting buildings and deployment of renewable energy technology, or achieve mass production and economies of scale in technologies that can decarbonize industry. This will support the creation of new jobs while reducing the risk of climate change.
“My biggest ambition is to ensure that we learn from the Covid-19 crisis,” says Batten. “We must not try to recreate where we were at the beginning of the year. We need to be bold to reimagine where we want to be—to shape the future of real estate for a better world.”
JLL is at the vanguard of building a resilient, sustainable future. It has already met its 2020 sustainability targets, and published its first TCFD disclosures in its 2019 Global Sustainability Report. This year, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) approved the company’s plan to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse emissions by 70% by 2034, from the 2018 base year. The target covers emissions from JLL’s more than 400 offices in over 40 countries, and its engineering fleet, including company cars.
A keen advocate for a sustainable future, JLL has also committed to reducing Scope 3 emissions from the real estate it manages on behalf of its clients. It plans to reduce emissions by 55% per square foot by 2034, from a 2018 base year, on the 5 billion square feet of space it manages for clients globally.
JLL: Building a Better Tomorrow
—Mindy Lubber, CEO and President, Ceres
JLL continues to set the standard for leadership in the real estate sector. The company has been a longtime advocate for meaningful climate and clean energy policy, and Ceres is proud to collaborate with JLL.”
On September 21, 2020–with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) at Climate Week New York—JLL announced the next stage in its ambitious sustainability program by committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all JLL-occupied buildings by 2030. JLL is also advocating for a net zero approach for all its clients and suppliers.
The Net Zero Carbon Buildings (NZCB) commitment from WorldGBC, signed by JLL, recognises business, organisations, and regions taking action to reach net zero carbon for all assets under their direct control by 2030, and all buildings to be net zero carbon in operation by 2050.
In September 2019, JLL became the first property consultancy in the U.K. to sign up to the NZCB, which helped establish a blueprint for JLL’s global commitment.
“By committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions across our global office network by 2030, JLL is again demonstrating our determination to play a full part in mitigating climate change,” says Ulbrich. “Through our own ambitious sustainability targets, and through the advice and services we provide to our clients, we will work to fulfil our corporate purpose of shaping the future of real estate for a better world.”
JLL to Achieve Global Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030
1.International Energy Agency, April 2019
Deliver zero-carbon infrastructure and buildings
Integrate risk into company disclosures in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
Invest in low-carbon solutions that create new jobs
Build science-based approaches to inform company strategy
businesses, organizations, cities, states and regions.
business have committed to reducing 1,500,000 metric tonnes of carbon across 4,500 assets.
meaning more than 250,000 employees will work in net zero carbon buildings by 2030.
Committed to WGBC
JLL already works with a number of clients to help them through the energy transition process, including:
Majid Al Futtaim (MAF)
Shopping mall, retail and leisure developer MAF, which became the first Middle Eastern company to make a net positive commitment—to put back more into the environment than it takes out—in 2017.
Great Portland Estates (GPE)
Property investor and developer GPE also utilized JLL's expertise to help it develop a net zero carbon pathway and an implementation plan to reduce its carbon footprint. GPE is a signatory of the Better Buildings Partnership's Climate Change Commitment, which launched in 2019.
Modular flooring company Interface renovated and added a fourth floor to their 40,000 square feet 1960s offices in midtown Atlanta, Georgia. The LEEDv4 Platinum building uses 48% less energy than code requires, and a building wrap also provides natural light and reduces heat.
To minimize waste, design and construction, teams recycled and donated building materials, with total waste diversion at 93%. Interface achieved a 50.48% reduction in embodied carbon compared to a code compliant building.
“Our ambitious plan will cut carbon emissions across our workspaces and operations by almost 70%, confirms Ulbrich. “In so doing, we are continuing to lead our industry and deliver on our stated purpose to shape the future of real estate for a better world.”
Partnering With Clients to Reach Net Zero
“We are delighted to welcome JLL’s global operations to the commitment, joining a group of leading organizations, cities, states and regions all acting to advance net zero buildings towards the mainstream,” says Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council. “A sustainable future is our only future. We must continue to drive momentum, ambition and leadership towards decarbonizing the built environment, not only to combat the climate crisis but also unlock a green recovery from Covid-19 that benefits people, the planet and economies.”
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