Meet the Sustainability Leader: Landsec, The Built Environment
With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Mission Possible: The Built Environment award, Landsec.
As one of the UK’s largest property companies, Landsec has been leading the built environment sector’s shift towards carbon reduction, resource efficiency and renewable power generation for several years.
Through its exceptional management of energy, carbon and waste – plus its efforts surrounding sustainable building designs - Landsec has positioned itself as a sustainability leader in the UK and achieved multiple positive impacts both within and outside of its own operations.
The firm, which has a sizeable portfolio of 24 million sq ft of office and retail space across the UK, became the first company of its kind to set a verified science-based target in 2016, for example.
Set in line with a 2C trajectory and approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the ambitious aim is for an 80% reduction in Landsec’s overall carbon footprint by 2050, against a 2015 baseline.
In a drive to meet this lofty goal, Landsec has been sourcing 100% renewable power since 2016 – both through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and via its own onsite solar arrays. The company has nine rooftop solar facilities across its retail and office portfolio, with the largest being based at the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds.
Completed in the summer of 2017, the 2,092-panel array has enabled the mall to source 22% less grid electricity, with Landsec passing the cost savings from the solar array on to its tenants in the form of a reduction in the utilities service charges.
When Landsec submitted its application for this award in 2018, the array – which has been referred to as the “jewel in the crown” of the developer’s portfolio – had already generated 680MWh of power and reduced carbon emissions by 250 tonnes – the equivalent of more than 500,000 miles of car emissions. The project is notably expected to have a payback time of just eight years, making it an exemplary instance of sustainability and profitability aligning.
Since the completion of the White Rose solar facility, Landsec has unveiled a 184-panel photovoltaic (PV) array on its Trinity Leeds mall. The installation is expected to provide the shopping centre with 42MWh of energy every year, representing a 19-tonne reduction in the development’s carbon footprint in the first year.
Overall, Landsec is aiming to increase its onsite renewable electricity capacity to 3MW by 2030.
Away from electricity, Landsec is also one of the UK’s largest users of green gas, sourcing 15% of its total estate demand from low-carbon facilities.
Looking to the company’s energy future, Landsec has led the way in championing innovation and is moving at a pace to bolster its facilities against potential negative climate-related impacts which could occur in the coming years.
After carrying out an extensive resilience study, which concluded that damage to assets and loss of trading could increase by more than 30% each year due to adverse climate effects after 2030, the firm is adapting its approaches to energy and construction.
A combined heat and power (CHP) facility at the firm’s Westgate shopping outlet, for example, is being phased out to make way for air-source heat pumps, with the technology now set to be installed at several of Landsec’s new London developments. Halogen bulbs have also been phased out in car parks in favour of more energy-efficient LED installations – a move Landsec claims has reduced its energy bill while improving customer perceptions of the safety of its facilities.
Since setting its science-based target, Landsec has shown further leadership within the built environment sector by aligning its sustainability strategy with the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The company’s SDG mapping focuses on four areas where the firm’s sustainability team believes it can drive the largest positive impact - good health and wellbeing, quality education, climate action and sustainable cities and communities.
In its application for this award, Landsec noted that this SDG alignment had helped the company to place innovation at the “core” of all projects and to lead its industry by example – particularly in regards to innovation.
The alignment has additionally enabled Landsec to build the business case for sustainability, with the company benefiting from sizeable energy cost reductions through renewable sourcing and enhanced brand image through campaigns such as Refill Me.
Launched in August 2018 in a bid to drive consumer behaviour change and minimise its plastic waste output, the Refill Me campaign saw Landsec work with 100 retailers at 170 locations to offer visitors free water bottle refills.
Following the success of this campaign, Refill Me will be rolled out across Landsec’s UK estate by the end of 2020 – a move which will make the company host of one of the nation’s largest public engagement schemes on plastic reduction.
What the judges said: “Landsec has a clear strategy supported by strong leadership and the firm is now science-based targets to guide its approach. Judges were pleased to see Landsec demonstrating true sector leadership and advocacy for wider action on sustainability, particularly through its alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.”
edie’s 2020 Sustainability Leaders Awards
Now entering their 13th year for 2020, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are sure to be one of the biggest nights of the year in the sustainability and energy space, with some exciting new categories added to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.
The 2020 Sustainability Leaders are now OPEN for entries. The entry deadline is Friday 27 September 2019. The Awards will then take place on the night of 5 February 2020 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster.