Investing responsibly in a global context: more than just commitments
Commitments are important – of course they are – but words and statements of intent will not slow the carbon clock for our planet by a second. 2021 saw the continuation of lockdowns and restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic and brought the realisation that we will have to learn to live with the impacts of COVID-19 for some time to come.
It also brought an even greater realisation by many of the likely consequences of the climate emergency in which civilisation finds itself, on top of the health emergency. That spurred an exponential increase in the number of corporates making Net Zero commitments and pledges in advance of COP26, which took place in Glasgow at the end of October and early November 2021.
One positive outcome of COP26 was that the ratchet mechanism that was included in the Paris Agreement of 2015 is clearly working. Many signatories to the Paris Agreement came to COP26 with revised and more ambitious climate targets. In the most optimistic scenario where every country actually delivers against its more ambitious targets and pledges, the data suggests this will keep the planet to slightly below two degrees of warming.But that implies that all countries (and sectors and industries and corporations and individuals) need to take action.
Redevco is acutely aware of this and has already been taking – and will continue to take – action in line with our responsible investing approach (as outlined in our ESG Policy) as well as the commitments that we have made.
For many years now, Redevco’s motto has been ‘Business in Balance’. It expresses the intent to strive for a balance between people, planet and profit
For many years now, Redevco’s motto has been ‘Business in Balance’. It expresses the intent to strive for a balance between people, planet and profit and remains valid today in the pursuit of balanced ESG impact. We seek to invest in buildings that are sustainable in every sense of the word – commercial, social, environmental and financial – and we operate our business according to our ESG principles as well.
To do our bit for the decarbonisation imperative, Redevco launched ‘Mission 2040’ at the end of 2019: our commitment to strive towards a Net Zero Carbon portfolio by 2040. We shared our detailed roadmap in last year’s report and had intended 2020 and 2021 to be years of real activation of Mission 2040 within our organisation. Despite COVID-19 and all its consequences extending well into 2021, the component parts of our roadmap have been disseminated widely and frequently among our colleagues over the past 18 to 24 months and it has been firmly embedded as an important element in Redevco’s multi-year strategic plan.
And yes, Redevco also made two formal commitments. We submitted our Letter of Intent to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), in which we committed to setting a GHG emissions reduction target in line with the 1.5°C scenario of the Paris Agreement. We are now in the process of collating the final bits of data we need in order to submit our baseline data and target to SBTi for validation and we will report transparently when our target has been officially validated. Our target will encompass our full Scope 1 and 2 as well as material Scope 3 emissions. Furthermore, we signed the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which challenges us on two fronts. First, to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions (also a requirement for our SBTi commitment, as stated above). And second, to learn about, understand and subsequently reduce the whole life carbon emissions of our buildings and our activities, specifically the upfront (‘embodied’) carbon of our development and redevelopment activities.
As a responsible investment manager, Redevco has added its voice to the many making pledges and commitments in the run-up to COP26 to help signal that business is ready to take action. Appropriate policy and regulatory support is, of course, welcome, but the past year has strengthened our conviction and intrinsic motivation to be a ‘force for good’, engaging and aligning with our investor clients to take deliberate action in the portfolios we manage. And through our external engagement and communication, we try to actively contribute to changing the real estate investment and management sector to become low carbon, circular and resource-efficient. We do this in the context of internationally accepted frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the targets set out in the Paris Agreement of 2015. Throughout the remainder of this report, we hope to demonstrate some of the actions taken in 2021 to start giving shape to our Mission 2040 roadmap, all of which are relevant in the context of both our SBTi and World Green Building Council Net Zero Carbon Buildings commitments.
Alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals While all 17 SDGs are globally significant, we have identified four SDGs that relate to our business and our top four material issues, so that we can focus on high-impact areas. We believe that incorporating SDGs in this way will enable us to set clear targets, increase awareness, measure our impact and evaluate our progress.
The most material goals reflect our ambition to be a force for good as well as our aim to take leadership in the transition to a resilient and net zero carbon built environment. Launching Mission 2040 and working actively towards a Net Zero Carbon portfolio in the coming two decades is our way of contributing deliberately to two significant SDGs, namely SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG 13: Climate Action. See the chapter ‘Our roadmap to 2040’ for more details.
Additionally, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities embodies the increasingly important fundamental principles of social sustainability as impacted by the built environment. We will seek to make a meaningful contribution to this goal through our investments and active asset management and development, providing high-quality and well-managed buildings to our occupiers.
At the same time, Redevco’s employees are actively involved in national and international industry councils and associations with the aim of sharing knowledge and insights with industry professionals that share our mission and vision. It is our conviction that participating in these forums helps us have a positive impact on moving our industry forward and reflects our contribution to SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals.