Canary Wharf Group targets net-zero by 2030

London-based property giant Canary Wharf Group (CWG) has outlined plans for reaching net-zero by 2030, including new commitments on electric vehicles and heat.

CWG plays host to more than 7.7 million square feet of office space and almost one million square feet of retail space

CWG plays host to more than 7.7 million square feet of office space and almost one million square feet of retail space

The business announced earlier this year that it had been working with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to develop new 1.5C-aligned 2030 emissions goals, headlined by a commitment to cut direct (Scope 1) emissions by 65%. It said it would use these targets to develop a net-zero pathway by the end of 2020.

CWG published the pathway today (9 December). It confirms that the business will be able to achieve net-zero across all scopes within a decade and that its key focus areas for decarbonisation include transitioning its vehicle fleet and phasing out natural gas for heat across the London estate.

A vehicle fleet replacement programme will be kick-started by 2022. CWG will also switch to renewable electricity for downstream managed assets and start reporting climate impact and risk in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures (TCFD) within two years.

Between 2022 and 2024, CWG will develop and implement a new retrofitting strategy and will have implemented a programme to offset all residual Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

As CWG plays host to more than 7.7 million square feet of office space and almost one million square feet of retail space, engaging tenants also forms a key part of its approach. The firm will apply learnings from its work to become the world’s first plastic-free commercial centre to help tenants increase climate ambitions and deliver more rapid actions.

Suppliers will also be involved in new engagement programmes. CWG is striving to help 60% of its suppliers set science-based emissions targets within the next five years. Suppliers in construction, building management and related service industries will be targeted as a priority, given that these fields are often carbon-intensive.

Collaborative approach

CWG is already a member of several sustainability-related initiatives, including the Better Buildings Partnership and the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). The firm’s head of sustainability Martin Gettings has repeatedly spoken with edie on the importance of collaboration for progress.

To that end, the business has signed on to The Climate Pledge, orchestrated by Amazon and Global Optimism.

Signatories to the Pledge commit to achieving net-zero by 2040 or sooner. To ensure that signatories to the Pledge are not overly reliant on carbon offsetting, the framework commits signatories to prioritise energy efficiency, renewable energy and creating a closed-loop for materials. Signatories must also measure and publicly report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all parts of the business on a regular basis.

Seeing as CWG’s target is pre-2040, and given that it has been annually reporting on GHG emissions for several years, its focus as a Pledge member will be sharing best-practice advice with other signatories and encouraging more businesses to sign up.

On the former, signatories include Uber, JetBlue, Henkel, Mercedes-BenzReckitt Benckiser, Verizon and Infosys, along with Best Buy and Siemens. . On the latter, CWG is notably the first real estate business to sign up.

“CWG has set an ambitious target to achieve net-zero carbon status for the entire reporting scope and the pathway clearly demonstrates the critical importance of engaging with both occupiers and the supply chain to deliver on this,” the Better Buildings Partnership’s chief executive Sarah Ratcliffe said. “We look forward to seeing how CWG matches this leadership with the collaboration and innovation required over the coming years.”

Sarah George



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