Built environment: Avison Young and St. Modwen set net-zero carbon targets

Real estate advisor Avison Young and housebuilder St. Modwen have become the latest companies in the built environment sector to pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Globally, the built environment accounts for around 40% of emissions

Globally, the built environment accounts for around 40% of emissions

UK-based real estate advisor Avison Young has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions across its workplace by 2030 by signing up to the World Green Building Council’s (WGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

The net-zero pledge covers all of Avison Young’s UK workplaces, but the company has additionally pledged to provide guidance to clients, partners and its supply chain network on net-zero targets and initiatives.

The company will now develop a decarbonisation roadmap outlining how new premises will be acquired and fitted in line with net-zero, how retrofitted energy projects will decarbonise its existing buildings and the role that a renewable energy strategy can play.

Avison Young’s UK President Jason Sibthorpe said: “The climate crisis requires immediate action and Avison Young is committed to leading the way. We believe that the most successful companies realise profits are inextricably linked to social purpose. Taking action on climate change is a key part of this.

“Our UK business is at the forefront of this trend by making this commitment to transform our workplaces to net-zero carbon, instilling carbon literacy throughout our workforce and helping our clients achieve their own net-zero carbon ambitions for the benefit of our wider communities.”

Avison Young will educate its staff to become “carbon literate” to help raise awareness of their role in helping the company reach net-zero.

The company joins businesses like JLL and numerous cities and states in signing up to the WGBC’s commitment.

The commitment reflects the organisation’s three key 2030 climate goals: alignment with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory; ensuring all buildings are net-zero emissions in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) research and reducing the construction sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which is accountable for around 40% of global emissions.

St. Modwen

In related news, property developer and housebuilder St. Modwen has also committed to a net-zero carbon target. The company has set a 2025 target of its operations, with a wider net-zero target set for 2040.

St. Modwen’s net-zero target falls under a broader sustainability strategy linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which also focuses on biodiversity, health and wellbeing and diversity and inclusion.

The strategy sets out plans to achieve a net-biodiversity gain of at least 10% associated with all development activity and to reduce waste by a third and increase recycling rates by 99% at St. Modwen Homes’ sites by 2025.

The company will also set up a supply chain charter in 2020.

St Modwen’s chief finance and operations officer Rob Hudson said: “The world is changing, and there is a new business climate where purpose and profit are inextricably linked. Given our active role in the built environment, we take our wider responsibilities seriously and understand how important it is to put into practice strategies that place people and the planet at the heart of how we do business.”

“We know that the environment, good working practices and the impact businesses have on society is front of mind amongst the full spectrum of our stakeholders. This includes our colleagues, the partners we work with, the communities we serve and investors who are placing increasing emphasis on ESG in the global capital markets.”

Matt Mace



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