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EVORA become signatories to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

We are delighted to announce that EVORA Global has joined nearly 100 other organisations in signing The World Green Building Council’s Commitment.

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is a global network leading the transformation of the built environment to make it healthier and more sustainable. Their Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment calls for companies, cities, states and regions to reach Net Zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to be net zero in 2050.

The aim is to drastically reduce operating emissions from buildings, and in doing maximising the chances of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees.

Sixty-two of the 96 Commitment participants are businesses and organisations, and collectively our action alone will reduce more than 3.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Additionally, 28 cities and 6 states and regions have signed the Commitment, signalling a shift in political will towards net zero policy.

“Since launching EVORA in 2011, I’ve seen a monumental shift in opinion. Not just in the real estate industry, but the whole conversation of suitability, responsibility to the environment and climate change. We are excited to join and promote this important initiative. We shall continue to use our influence to challenge traditional approaches to demonstrate both the necessity and business case for ensuring climate and ESG related risks are systematically assessed throughout the investment process. ESG is here to stay and we intend to be at the forefront of tackling climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.”

Chris Bennett, EVORA Managing Director

The WorldGBC’s Commitment for zero carbon buildings places energy saving at its heart. This approach is completely aligned with EVORA’s commitment to reducing operating emissions from buildings and belief in building a more sustainable future.

Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting – What does it mean for you?

Since its initial announcement in 2016, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been working on a new framework to simplify the complicated environmental reporting landscape that exists currently. What they came up with is known as the “Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting Framework” (SECR).

Following an extensive consultation process, which EVORA took part in, the Government recently confirmed the details of how the framework will look. Under the new legislation:

  • All quoted companies will be required to report their UK energy use, associated Scope 1 & 2 emissions (in simple terms, covering electricity and gas use), an intensity metric and, where applicable, global energy use in their Annual Reports.
  • All “large” unquoted companies will be required to report their UK energy use, associated scope 1 & 2 emissions, and an intensity metric in their Annual Reports.
  • All “large” LLPs will be required to report similar to Unquoted Companies in their Annual Reports.
  • Unregistered companies required to prepare a Directors’ Report will also need to include similar information to unquoted companies.

The framework will be applied through Companies House, which means there are no requirements for non-UK registered companies. Meanwhile, the Companies House definition of “large” will be applied (i.e. when two or more of the following are true: 250 employees or more, annual turnover of £36mil or more, annual balance sheet of £18mil or more).

The Timescale:

The legislation takes effect on April 1st 2019 and applies to any financial reporting years starting on or after this date. This means the first SECR reports will need to be filed in 2020.

How we can help:

Here at EVORA, we have significant experience in the collation, management, and analysis of ESG data.

Through use of our bespoke ESG data management software, SIERA, and the support of our team of expert consultants we can fully manage the delivery of your annual SECR Report from start to finish, and help you use this information as the basis for a broader ESG strategy that will maximise value from the SECR process and deliver transformative change for your Company.

If you have further questions or are seeking assistance with your environmental reporting, get in touch and our team of experts will be happy to help.

Speak to EVORA today about SECR reporting and an accompanying ESG strategy that will help maximise value from the process

BEIS framework consultation: Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting

Last month, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) opened a consultation on their new proposed framework for energy and carbon reporting. This process has the potential to bring environmental data smoothly into the mainstream, but could also just create further tangles in the knot that is the current energy reporting landscape.

Between the CRC, ESOS, climate change agreements (CCAs), and mandatory greenhouse gas reporting (MGHG), there’s a lot of existing legislation that either encourages or coerces companies into monitoring, reporting, and acting upon energy and carbon data. It must be easy for companies to get lost in this complex legislative landscape so, with this in mind, the basic premise outlined in the BEIS framework consultation document of streamlining the reporting process makes a lot of sense.

The million-dollar question, however, is how exactly should this new framework be designed? In particular: who should report and what should be reported?


Firstly, who? There are different ways to scope the policy that fit into three broad categories: employee numbers, financial turnover, and energy consumption. Any one or a combination of these could be used to define what counts as a ‘large’ company and hence who will be required to report under the proposed scheme(s).

The consultation also asks whether Limited Liability Partnerships, which are not subject to the Companies Act (meaning they are not covered by the framework in its current form), should be made to report too. This would increase the burden of implementation, but would also greatly expand the coverage of the scheme and the volume of data being reported.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Ways to scope the policy fit into 3 broad categories: employee numbers, financial turnover, and energy consumption. ” quote=”There are different ways to scope the policy that fit into three broad categories: employee numbers, financial turnover, and energy consumption. “]

Secondly, what? There are also different things that companies could be made to report. Centrally, there is total energy use, which can be broken down into electricity, gas, transport, and potentially some other categories, and emissions, which can be broken down into scope I, II and III. There are also additional options such as intensity metrics, or listing opportunities identified in audits and whether they have been acted upon. This last one could be a channel to formally tie ESOS requirements into the framework.

This last one could be a channel to formally tie ESOS requirements into the framework.

Finally, another question that should be given more attention is: how? Specifically, how will these large companies manage the data collection process, and how will its quality and accuracy be assured. The presence of good data is integral for pursuing the far-reaching energy reduction goals of the UK Climate Change Act and the Paris Climate Agreement, but the consultation document only asks for recommendations of the guidance that might ease reporting burdens for companies towards the end, and offers even less on how the Government intends to ensure the quality of data.


At EVORA, we recognise the frustrations and resourcing it can take to collate, analyse and report energy data on a national and international scale. It is why we developed SIERA to seamlessly collate, verify and report data to enable decisions to be made on portfolio and building optimisation programmes. Our clients are seeing the positive impact of SIERA, which has helped one portfolio achieve a 3% like for like reduction in one year and individual buildings save up to 26% through operational improvements.

Our clients are seeing the positive impact of SIERA, which has helped one portfolio achieve a 3% like for like reduction in one year and individual buildings save up to 26% through operational improvements.

The consultation also asks for recommendations on possible complementary policies that might help drive further emissions reductions. Currently, there is no additional incentive proposed to help reduce consumption beyond the fact that the published report will be available to third parties and therefore be subject to investor and public scrutiny.

Personally, the outcome I would like to see is a framework that requires large quoted companies & LLPs to report global energy use, total emissions and intensity, whilst requiring large unquoted companies & LLPs to report UK energy use, total emissions and intensity, with all of the above required to undertake ESOS-style audits every four years and then report the opportunities identified and whether they have acted upon them each year. I would align the definition of ‘large’ with the UK Companies Act definition to minimise confusion, and give it a stand-alone bespoke report in the annual report portfolio to exemplify its importance. Such a design would streamline the CRC, ESOS, and MGHG schemes all into one package, greatly simplifying the reporting landscape.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Such a design would streamline the CRC, ESOS, and MGHG schemes into one package, simplifying the reporting landscape.” quote=”Such a design would streamline the CRC, ESOS, and MGHG schemes all into one package, greatly simplifying the reporting landscape.”]

But the important takeaway here isn’t my opinion, it is that this consultation has the potential to radically change the environmental reporting landscape. Therefore, businesses need to make sure they are aware of the proposals and what it could mean for them. We here at EVORA are in the process of producing a company response to the consultation, and if you wish to do the same then the full consultation document as well as information on how to respond is available on the BEIS website.


This blog has done its best to summarise a 40-page document in a few hundred words, but if you need any additional information or assistance regarding the consultation, or any of the other policies mentioned in this blog, feel free to get in touch and our team of experts will be happy to help.

Three Signs Real Estate Must Move to a More Sustainable Model

1. Governments are putting sustainability into law and regulations continue to tighten.


The response of the international community to Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement demonstrates that we (most of the rest of the world) have long since reached our ‘tobacco’ moment and acknowledged that climate change is real and we must respond with changes in our current models and behaviour. Examples of this include India’s and China’s current outperformance of the Paris goals, California’s and China’s agreement to continue working on climate change, and the UK Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

Commercial Real Estate can account for up to 50% of C02 emissions globally, and 88% of potable water consumption in the US. An industry that has such significant impacts on C02 emissions and energy consumption will continue to get scrutinized more and more as governments implement further environmental legislation.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Commercial Real Estate can account for up to 50% of C02 emissions globally” quote=”Commercial Real Estate can account for up to 50% of C02 emissions globally. An industry that has such significant impacts will continue to get scrutinised as governments implement further environmental legislation.”]

An example of this is the UK’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) which comes into effect in 2018, whereby properties with an F or G rating are unable to be let. Amazingly one third of landlords surveyed by Property Week earlier this year were unaware of these new requirements.

Our EDGE team can develop a strategy for you to ensure you are prepared for MEES and de-risk your property portfolio.

Businesses have also responded in ways that exceeded my expectations (call me a pessimist) such as Apple’s commitment to the Paris agreement and ‘green bond’ environmental push, US auto industry’s commitment to Paris, and an impressive range of real estate investors have reaffirmed their commitments to match or exceed the Paris agreement’s goals. The NHS and several UK companies will no longer occupy properties with an EPC rating of a C or less, further emphasising the focus businesses and government are putting on their environmental responsibilities.

Further evidence of the increasing importance of sustainability within Real Estate can be seen through the exceptional growth of real estate sustainability benchmarks over the last decade such as GRESB, BREEAM, LEED and WELL.

Take away: Governments are committing to a sustainable future and are tightening regulations on energy efficiency and sustainability. A paradigm shift has happened where leading businesses are moving to ‘conscious capitalism’ where their contribution to society is considered and profitability is no longer the only goal, regardless of the consequences. The evidence to demonstrate that consumers will shirk environmentally friendly properties may be anecdotal for now, but I believe that soon we will have enough evidence to establish this as a growing trend within the real estate industry.

Real Estate investors and asset managers must recognise these shifts and make changes in the management of their portfolios. Those who stand still in sustainability will be moving backwards, and will see the value or their properties decrease and their economic/environmental risks increase.

EVORA can advise you on the best strategy to future proof your portfolio and minimise risks. Use our SIERA software to get in-depth insights into the environmental performance of your properties.

 

2. Space as a Service is the new way of working


The millennial generation has come of age and has joined the work force, and it isn’t working like the generations before it. This is the generation of Uber, Airbnb, and BorrowMyDoggy, and it will be sharing office space as well.

There is research that estimates that around half the UK workforce can work remotely, and around 40% of the UK workforce will soon be freelancers. Leases of 20-25 years are now the exception instead of the norm, with tenants putting a greater emphasis on flexibility. This has coincided with a boom in flexible office providers who are taking advantage of technologies which enable this new way of working. That this workstyle has caught on is demonstrated by the fact that WeWork was the largest new occupier of space in the USA in 2016, and British Land has also ventured into the flexible workspace section with its new Storey co-working offering in London.

Research by Knight Frank and the Instant Group shows that this market has grown by 16% in 2015-2016 and 18% in 2016/2017 in the UK. This combined with WeWork’s estimated valuation of $16bn demonstrates that Space as a Service is an evolution within real estate opposed to a fad.

The increased demand for flexibility from tenants represents a challenge for landlords as short-let properties generally underperform against long term lets. As explained in a recent Property Week article:

“While rental values have grown faster on shorter-let properties in the central London office market, where the demand for flexibility has increased significantly, shorter-let assets had delivered a cumulative return of 91% over the past nine years compared with 113% for longer-let properties.”

Take away: The ‘Uberisation’ of space means traditional landlords must move with the times and technology. There is a shift where they need to move from their existing model to becoming service providers of space. As an all-inclusive provider (rents, rates & services) the landlord will no longer be constrained by the ‘landlord-tenant dilemma’ of improvements and any energy efficiencies will help the profitability of their properties. Their self-interest will drive them to make their properties as energy efficient as possible.

Our EVORA EDGE technical engineering team can help ensure you improve the energy efficiency of your properties and maximise the lifetime returns of your assets.

 

3. The rise of Science Based and Carbon Neutral Targets


Real estate developers and companies with large property portfolios are committing to Science Based Targets (SBT) and recognising that sustainability is no longer just a Marketing and PR exercise, and that their environmental impact must be measured.

For those that don’t know, a SBT is a carbon emission target that is defined as ‘science-based’ because it is in alignment with the 2oC target set by the 2016 Paris Agreement. It involves companies assigning themselves a target in line with their proportional contribution to global emissions. This requires short and long-term planning when considering expansion plans in the context of carbon reduction commitments.

A range of business have made commitments from manufacturing, energy, industrial, telecommunications, to retail. Examples include Coco-Cola, Eneco, Sony, and Wal-Mart. In the UK real estate sector, companies setting themselves SBTs include Land Securities and British Land. So far it’s a small number, but I am convinced that this number significantly increase over the next 12-24 months.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Companies are committing to #SBTs and recognising their environmental impact must be measured” quote=”Real estate developers and companies with large property portfolios are committing to Science Based Targets (SBT) and recognising that their environmental impact must be measured.”]

Take away: Real estate does not live in a bubble. Leading blue-chip companies are setting themselves SBTs and most of them will have significant property portfolios. As mentioned earlier, if commercial real estate is estimated to account for up to 50% of global carbon emissions you can be assured that these companies are looking at the performance of their property portfolio and how they can improve the performance. For landlords that want to continue to have competitive properties that attract blue chip business (which often draw in more businesses) then they need to consider the environmental performance of their assets.

Contact EVORA to see how we can help you set Science Based Targets for your property portfolio and become an industry leader in sustainability


These are just three signs that real estate must move to a more sustainable model, to discuss this more in-depth, contact a member of the team.


 

EVORA EDGE Supports Guildford Borough Council to Develop Planning Policy

We are delighted to announce that EVORA EDGE, our new technical engineering division, has been instructed to undertake a strategic technical study for Guildford Borough Council. The study is to analyse the policy and cost-effectiveness of increasing the target carbon emissions rates for new build properties as part of the council’s proposed local plan.

Legislation allows local planning authorities in England and Wales to include policies imposing reasonable requirements on developers for:

  1. a proportion of energy used in development in their area to be from renewable sources in the locality
  2. a proportion of energy used in development to be from low or zero carbon sources
  3. development in their area to comply with energy efficiency standards that exceed the energy requirements of building regulations.

EVORA EDGE will undertake analysis on whether it is cost effective for developers to use renewable energy, or low or zero carbon technologies, in order to meet a proposed council increase to the target emissions rate.

EVORA is delighted to call Guildford Borough Council a new client, and to be working with it on this interesting project which will potentially inform planning strategy in the borough for years to come.

Andrew Cooper, our EVORA EDGE director who will be heading up the study, says:

“This is an exciting step for EVORA, having only launched EVORA EDGE a few weeks ago to increase our technical and engineering capabilities. This new project demonstrates the scope of technical work that we are now able to provide to our clients.”


To learn more about us, or about EVORA EDGE specifically, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.


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