New guidance to help commercial real estate measure its carbon impact
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched a new guidance document aimed at helping commercial real estate (CRE) companies get a handle on understanding emissions from their value chain.
Titled ‘Scope 3 Reporting in Commercial Real Estate’, the guidance focusses on how CRE companies can assess, measure, prioritise and reduce emissions that are beyond their direct control.
Greenhouse gas emissions that occur directly due to a company’s activities or indirectly from their use of energy are known as scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, respectively. All other greenhouse gas emissions that occur due to their activities, but which they have no direct ownership or control over, are known as scope 3 emissions.
For CRE companies, Scope 3 emissions can represent up to 85% of their total carbon footprint. These can cover a wide range of activities such as emissions from the manufacture and transport of materials used in new buildings; emissions from tenants’ energy use; and emissions from employee commuting.
Assessing scope 3 emissions is complex and current approaches to measurement vary significantly between organisations. This guidance has been developed to demystify scope 3 emissions and encourage a more complete and consistent approach to measurement and reporting.
Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC said:
“As public demand for action on the climate crisis continues to escalate and net zero emissions becomes the UK’s legal target, corporate real estate companies must wake up to the reality of their carbon impact. Just reporting on emissions from the fuel you burn and electricity you buy is no longer enough, companies must work hard to understand the true impact of their activities throughout their value chain and within their workforce.
“This guidance gives professionals a clear overview of how scope 3 reporting can be applied in commercial real estate companies. This is a crucial step in truly understanding and addressing real estate’s contribution to the climate crisis. Companies that want to succeed in the net zero economy of the future will be the ones that work closely with their supply chains and drive meaningful emissions reductions at speed and at scale.”