City of London Corporation set to reach net-zero operational emissions by 2027

Image: City of London Corporation

This is according to the City of London Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy report.

The reduction was accomplished through measures taken to improve energy efficiency and procure clean energy across its prestigious buildings, including the Barbican Centre, historic Guildhall headquarters, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the London Metropolitan Archives.

City of London Corporation’s policy chairman Chris Hayward said: “The climate crisis is the greatest challenge that we face. But together, the governing body of the Square Mile, and the UK’s financial and professional services sector are fighting back.

“COP28 will see the first worldwide stocktake of climate action against the landmark Paris agreement – and although it is difficult, we must continue to push for urgent local and global action.

“I urge all those within the Square Mile to work with us in partnership so that the City of London can continue to be ambitious in our goals and a world leader in climate action.”

The report explains how improvements in lighting, ventilation, heating, cooling, humidity control and insulation played a crucial role in achieving this considerable emissions reduction.

Emissions reduction: PPAs, energy transition and green finance

Another contributing factor has been a £40m power purchase agreement (PPA) with Voltalia, a global energy provider, per the report.

London City Corporation is committed to purchasing all electricity generated by a solar farm in Dorset, supplying over half of its electricity needs and saving more than £3m in annual energy costs.

Moreover, transitioning to 100% renewable electricity since 2018 has positioned the City Corporation as an ‘A-List climate action leader’ by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

In 2021, the City Corporation awarded a contract to Vital Energi to carry out energy-related retrofits of iconic buildings, including the Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, to save £500,000 annually.

The organisation’s efforts have extended to financial investments, resulting in a 25% emissions reduction in financed emissions last fiscal year, according to the report.

This is mainly due to commitments from the Corporation’s fund managers in the Net Zero Asset Initiative programme. An initiative aimed at identifying investment risks from climate change and using a mix of engagement and divestment to align portfolios with a net-zero pathway.

The report notes that there has been a considerable 30% decrease in emissions within the City Corporation’s Pension Fund since 2021/22.

The City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy aims for net zero across its investments and supply chain by 2040, aligning with the broader goal of making the Square Mile carbon-neutral by the same year.

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