Protocol will deliver green property roadmap

Retailers and property owners have pledged to create a ground-breaking agreement to reduce the carbon emissions associated with retail properties.

The creation of the Retailer/Landlord Net Zero Building Protocol will deliver a set of the principles required for Net Zero retail sites, with the aim to improve efficiency and the use of green energy.

In announcing the Protocol the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the will set high standards of sustainability between retailers and property owners.

The Protocol covers two main areas: improving the energy efficiency of buildings and supporting greater use of renewable energy (both generation and procurement) within them.

The Protocol calls on property owners and retailers to improve energy efficiency by working collaboratively and investing in improvements such as insulation and making it easier to share data on energy use. These agreements are important as they support investment whose financial returns will often stretch beyond the term of a lease.

In order to move towards more renewable energy, the Protocol asks retailers and property owners to support greater on-site generation of sustainable energy, explore options for purchasing of renewable energy (to drive cost down) and to consider positively the scope for offsetting carbon emissions through increased on-site biodiversity.

It is part of the BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap, supported by over 75 major retailers, which aims to ensure the Retail Industry and its supply chains are Net Zero by 2040. Retail has a key role to play in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels. In 2017, the full lifecycle of the sector’s sold goods had a footprint of around 215 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent – 31% of all GHG emissions associated with UK consumption.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The Net Zero Building Protocol is a great opportunity for retailers and property owners to work together towards a greener future. The protocol is the first of its kind to address the sustainability of retail sites with an ambition to improve energy efficiency and embrace renewable energy.

“Climate action demands cross-industry collaboration, and this protocol gives retailers and property owners the language and structure to create a greener property market. The commitments in the protocol, and in the BRC Climate Action Roadmap, will see the retail industry and its supply chain reach net zero emissions by 2040.”

Jane Wakiwaka, environmental sustainability director at The Crown Estate, added for any efforts to be successful there needed to be buy in from the wider market.

“Retail and real estate have a huge journey ahead on the transition to net zero, and decarbonising at the scale we need to see, will only be possible through collaboration between property owners and occupiers,” she said. “This partnership is a really important step forward in identifying the practical ways our sectors can work together to tackle the crisis of our generation. We look forward to continuing to work together to turn this guidance into action.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive of British Property Federation, added: “Landlords are committed and ambitious about retrofitting properties to improve energy efficiency and deliver on net zero. We welcome an initiative that brings tenants and landlords together to reduce carbon emissions, as open dialogue and data-sharing will be vital to effective collaboration and delivery.”

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