Do we need to comply?
The UK Government is one of the leading signatories to the UN Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise below 2oC above pre industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5oC. In June 2019 Theresa May announced an amendment to the Climate Change Act committing the country to a legally binding target of net zero carbon by 2050. This commitment makes the UK the first of the G7 countries to do so. Other countries that have legislated for zero carbon include France, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand, and increasingly countries are also taking policy positions on zero carbon.
At an organisational level, companies cannot afford to ignore the net zero carbon agenda. We have already seen the introduction of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard requiring a minimum standard of EPC E rating in non-domestic assets. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is currently consulting on a minimum EPC B rating by 2030. Other mechanisms are likely to be introduced to ensure real estate organisations contribute their fair share to the net zero carbon agenda.
Momentum is building from a market perspective. In September, 23 leading real estate investors and members of the Better Buildings Partnership signed a public declaration to tackle the risks of climate change through the delivery of net zero carbon by 2050.