Property net zero carbon pathway
At Royal London Asset Management we have committed to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 for our directly managed property assets and developments and 2040 for our indirectly managed assets*.
In setting these targets, we are responding to the demand we see from policymakers, investors and tenants to reimagine the future of the built environment as one that is positive for people and the planet.
Royal London Asset Management aims to achieve net zero carbon in advance of the deadline set through the Paris Climate Agreement. To demonstrate our commitment, we have signed up to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, which is part of the United Nations-backed Race to Zero campaign.
In order to achieve this ambitious approach, we undertook to:
Aligning with national and international initiatives
Since the publication of our initial Property Net Zero Carbon pathway report in 2021, we have sought to expand the number of global frameworks we are aligned with in order to drive progress and meet our net zero carbon targets. We also ensure that we consistently review any changes to existing frameworks and amend our processes accordingly to adapt to any changes.
The overarching objective of the Better Buildings Partnership’s (BBP) Climate Commitment is to deliver net zero buildings by 2050. As a signatory, we published our original Net Zero Carbon Pathway in 2021 and have committed to the following:
- Annually disclose our progress towards this pathway;
- Disclose the energy performance of our portfolios; and
- Develop comprehensive climate change resilience strategies for our portfolios.
The Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative (NZAMI) convenes an international group of asset managers who are committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2050 at the latest. Following our commitment to NZAMI, we have set targets related to Royal London Asset Management Property, covering 100% of our portfolio covering both embodied carbon and operational carbon emissions. These will be tracked and regularly reviewed and are as follows:
2030: Net zero carbon for directly managed property assets and developments by 2030.
2040: Net zero carbon for indirectly managed property assets by 2040.
NABERS UK is an adaptation of the highly successful rating programme, NABERS, that operates in Australia. Launched in 1999, NABERS is widely considered to be a world-leading environmental performance rating tool for commercial buildings. NABERS UK was launched in 2020, and it measures and rates the actual energy use of offices, facilitating building owners to track and accurately communicate their buildings' energy performance.
As part of our journey to achieve our net zero carbon ambitions, we have set design targets to undertake NABERS UK Design for Performance (DfP) Certifications and align to NABERS UK 5-star ratings for our latest office developments.
The NABERS UK DfP initiative will help to tackle the performance gap and provide an approach based on measurable performance outcomes to ensure new office developments deliver on their design intent.
A singular approach to net zero carbon for the built environment is critical, with the various pieces of guidance available creating some complexities in understanding when net zero carbon has truly been achieved. We believe that the UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard (UKNZCBS) will help validate claims of achieving net zero carbon, creating transparency for stakeholders, and minimising the risk of greenwashing.
We are fully supportive of the development of this standard. As part of the UKNZCBS’s ‘call for evidence’ in 2022, we shared the operational energy performance data of 47 or our properties through the BBP’s Real Estate Environmental Benchmark (REEB) programme. In addition, we submitted embodied carbon data to the new Built Environment Carbon Database (BECD), which is intended to form the backbone of the UKNZCBS.
We expect to see the first version of the UKNZCBS published in 2023. Following this, we will ensure that the requirements for net zero carbon are integrated into our programme.
Over the past five years, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has seen significant momentum around adopting and supporting its recommendations. The percent of companies disclosing information in line with the Task Force’s recommendations has steadily increased each year, as has the amount of TCFD-aligned information companies disclose.
Considering the risks and opportunities of our changing climate is increasingly essential for us. We recognise that identifying and managing our climate-related risks means we can respond appropriately, including building the knowledge in our team and setting up appropriate processes to monitor and respond to these risks. This year, we have produced a property-specific TCFD report, demonstrating our approach to identifying our climate-related risks and opportunities as well as how we will manage and mitigate impact on our property portfolio.
Our seven steps
Our pathway in action
Reducing embodied carbon: BHX8, Redditch
BHX8, Redditch consists of a single warehouse incorporating office space and ancillary welfare. It was completed in Q4 2021 and is fully occupied by Amazon. We undertook an embodied carbon assessment to understand the construction and whole life carbon emissions. The review covered substructure, superstructure, façade, internal finishes and building services. As a result, BHX8, Redditch achieved an embodied carbon of 311 kgCO2e/m2 for A1-A5 construction emissions, outperforming both our own embodied carbon target and LETI’s 2020 construction target of 600kgCO2e/m2.
85/87 Jermyn Street, London – Multi-use
Jermyn Street is a multi-use, multi-let property located in Westminster, London. As part of our commitment to seek innovative solutions to achieve our net zero carbon goals, we trialled Turntide Induction Motors, who replace the existing standard induction motor within the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system to improve the energy efficiency and expand the life span of the old motor kit. This in turn reduced the carbon emissions and limited the environmental impact of the building, as well as the added benefit of reduced energy costs for the occupier.
The carbon and financial savings were immediate, with a 56% energy saving already achieved in the short term, equating to savings of £3,880 and 8.8 tonnes of carbon. The successful upgrade of the HVAC system also received a Gold Green Apple award.
Essity Warehouse, Trafford Park, Manchester – Industrial
In 2022, we completed a modern extension of 96,000 sq. ft. to an existing warehouse, Essity in Trafford Park, which comprised of 250,000 sq. ft. The design of the extension was in line with our New Construction and Major Refurbishment Sustainability Standards, with the aim to enhance its ESG credentials and minimise its environmental impact.
The extension included the installation of a 276kWp solar PV system, producing 224,450 kWh/annum. This is estimated to exceed the energy demand of the building and can therefore be used to charge forklift batteries too. This enables the occupier to operate the building from 100% renewable sources. The extension of the Essity Warehouse also included the installation of electric vehicle chargers and a diverse landscaping scheme to provide appropriate habitats for local species.
These features resulted in the achievement of a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating and an EPC rating of A+.
*Directly managed property assets are those which Royal London Asset Management has complete operational control, greater than 50% equity share and joint ventures where they would cover the proportionate amount of emissions. Indirectly managed assets are either partially managed by Royal London Asset Management or managed wholly by the occupier. Developments are any new development or major refurbishment that comes online from 2030 onwards.