Property leaders commit to net zero future

17 Dec 2018

Australia’s standing as a global leader in sustainable property has been strengthened with new commitments to zero net carbon emissions from a trio of top property companies.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed pledges from Dexus, Cbus Property and Nightingale Housing to the World Green Building Council's global Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which challenges organisations to achieve ambitious net-zero operating carbon emissions across their portfolios by 2030.

GBCA CEO Romilly Madew congratulated the companies for signing up to the global standard.

“The net-zero emissions commitments from these leading property companies set an international benchmark for best practice in development,” she said.

“This continues the trend of Australian companies leading globally in delivering sustainability.”

Dexus, Cbus Property and Nightingale Housing have joined AMP Capital Wholesale Office Portfolio, Cundall, Frasers Property Australia, GPT Wholesale Office Fund, Integral Group, Stockland - Retirement Living & Logistics, the Sydney Opera House and the City of Sydney.

The commitments were announced following  the annual global assessment of progress in dealing with climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s global Conferences of the Parties, COP24, wrapped up in Poland.

Ms Madew said these Australian organisations’ plan to drastically reduce their buildings’ operating emissions showing they were stepping up and taking action.

“Momentum is building across the industry for meaningful action on climate change,” she said.

“Leading companies and organisations know that creating a more sustainable property or community will ultimately create a better outcome for both them as businesses but more importantly the communities they build for.

“Reducing emissions and energy use across the property sector is driving demand for more renewable energy sources.”

Dexus Chief Executive Officer, Darren Steinberg said the commitment built on Dexus’s 2030 zero emissions goal, demonstrated in this month’s announcement of one of Australia’s first supply-linked renewable Energy Supply Agreements.

“Our net-zero target is supported by increasing renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency, all while achieving lower carbon emissions,” he said.

“Dexus is committed to making practical steps to ensure a sustainable future and giving others the confidence to set similar targets.”

Cbus Property chief executive officer Adrian Pozzo said sustainability was built into their design and development processes. He reaffirmed Cbus Property’s ambition to be net zero carbon by 2030.

“These ambitious targets will drive industry change and ensure we provide the best sustainable developments into the future,” he said.

Nightingale Housing managing director Jeremy McLeod said the net-zero emissions commitment capped their existing target of 100 per cent fossil-fuel-free building operations.

“Sustainability is central to what we do so we are pleased to join other industry leaders to build action on climate change,” he said.

In addition to their pledge to reduce their own operating emissions by 2030, all signatories to the global initiative agree to advocate for all buildings to be Net Zero by 2050.

GBCA Head of Market Transformation Jorge Chapa said it illustrated that the property industry considered renewable energy sources a viable method for reducing costs and emissions.

“Under these commitments there will be 320 Australian buildings, including major CBD towers, that will be net zero by 2030,” he said.

“That energy load is equivalent to 8 per cent of a coal-fired power station in a year, or the annual power use of more than 35,000 homes. This is a significant energy saving.

“It shows that large portfolios, and by extension the companies and their investors, are showing real leadership on this issue,” he said.

A net zero carbon building, as defined by the WorldGBC, is highly energy efficient and is fully powered on-site or by off-site renewable energy sources. The GBCA will assess the portfolio each year to certify their carbon emissions, in keeping with the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

Through these commitments, the organisations will become members of The Climate Group's EP100 campaign, in recognition of their leadership and the role addressing energy efficiency in buildings has in improving energy productivity.