Governments need to support real estate’s net zero drive

Clemens Brenninkmeijer, Head of Sustainable Business Operations at Redevco was interviewed by IMPACT magazine, a newly launched magazine by Real Asset Media.

As companies step up their efforts to tackle climate change, regulations need to keep up.

At Redevco, we are stepping up the pace to achieve our ‘Mission 2040’: a net zero carbon portfolio by 2040. There are formidable hurdles to surmount. Governments need to understand this and tackle outdated market regulations that are hampering the real estate investment industry’s participation in the fight against climate change.

Mission2040 is not straightforward — it’s ambitious. To really focus and increase urgency, Redevco has formally committed to setting a science-based target to reduce our emissions by 50% by 2030 compared with our 2019 baseline, in line with the 1.5o scenario under the Paris Agreement. This now makes us part of the Race to Zero, a global campaign to rally leadership and support to fight climate change and ensure a fair transition to a low-carbon society.

The companies and institutions involved are taking the lead in investing heavily in the decarbonisation of their businesses and portfolios. These frontrunners risk financial penalties by higher costs weighing on returns, because the market regulatory environment is failing to keep up with the speed and depth of fundamental change required to achieve the EU’s Green Deal climate targets.

Our industry needs to show that net zero buildings are possible to give governments a licence to set more ambitious targets and update policy and regulations that will ensure a level playing field so that the frontrunners who do have the opportunities – as well as the challenges – don’t get penalised and continue to be motivated to be a force for good on this journey. The desire and ambition are there, but the real challenges are implementation and execution.

Examples of recently completed green redevelopments in our portfolio include a store in Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands where we made a deliberate choice to take the asset off the natural gas grid and focused on energy efficiency of the asset as well as adding solar panels to the roof and working with the tenants on highly energy-efficient installations. If all the tenants were to choose to procure certified green energy, then this asset would actually be zero carbon in operation.

Another example is our redevelopment in Hamburg to demonstrate what is possible in terms of experimenting with bio-based design, CLT and other recycled materials in the structure of the building. These measures will reduce our embodied carbon footprint as well as ensure that the property is zero carbon in operation.

The many businesses, cities, regions and investors involved in the Race to Zero are frontrunners, seeking other companies and institutions to join them. They are really raising the bar, going for the highest ambition level possible and showing that it is achievable. Hopefully we can use those insights to jointly drive future projects.

Read the full magazine here.