Achieving Net Zero with your property portfolio and assets

Achieving Net Zero

It’s no secret that increasingly, community and government expectations require organisations and government departments to be more and more aggressive in achieving net zero. There is a significant opportunity within the market for businesses to demonstrate leadership when it comes to environmental stewardship, including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and combating climate change.

Not only that, but increasingly there are directives from governments requiring organisations (in particular government departments) to demonstrate how they are contributing to net zero. For example, the Whole of Victorian Government (WoVG) Emissions Reduction Pledge commits government departments to solely use renewable electricity by 2025, lead energy ratings for owned and leased buildings, and reduce vehicle emissions through 400 green vehicles.

Recent studies show that while there is a strong appetite to create social and environmental value through real estate and assets, it isn’t necessarily being realized in practice.

So how do you go about making your portfolio and assets work towards reducing your emissions?

Here’s a couple of things you might want to think about.

Location: think about where your property and other assets are located. Consider what the travel time is for your staff and how they’re getting to your offices. Are they increasingly relying on cars, or is there a train station nearby? Or, are people working from home to reduce their commute time?

Facilities management systems and management models: it shouldn’t be news to anyone that turning off the lights in an office building is good for the planet (Earth Day has been around for long enough as a token gesture that we care). System capabilities to automate energy consumption management have come a long way – use them.

Utilization: what is your current utilization rate for workspaces? Are you using all of our available workspaces or is your current utilization rate sitting at 40%? How is your utilization rate influencing decisions regarding facilities management and service availability?

Service delivery model: how you deliver facilities and property management services can be another lever to influence your emissions targets. Are local teams being deployed to address your portfolio and asset needs? Or is it taking a 3+ hour drive for someone to get out to your building to fix a burst pipe?

Asset management: think about the type of assets your organization uses to deliver its services. Are there greener alternatives available? What factors influence replacement, disposal and acquisition decisions? How is lifecycle planning influencing your climate change outcomes?

Responsible procurement: who delivers your property and facilities management services? What is their policy to reduce their own emissions and what are their practices in reducing emissions while they’re delivering your services?

Your leasing arrangements: who your landlord is, or for that matter your tenant is, is something you can influence (to an extent – prime locations are prime locations for a reason and I’m not advocating for high vacancy rates either). But consider, what is your landlord or tenant doing to reduce their emissions? And how does that impact on your targets? And how could you work together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome?

Really in the end it comes down to good planning. Achieving the goal of net-zero emissions – and net-negative beyond that – requires concerted efforts from organisations which must be guided by a vision, actioned through a deliberate plan, and monitored through accurate and timely data.

Your portfolio and assets are vehicles for change – are you using them?

Do you know what your current emissions are, your future targets, and do you have a plan to get you there?

Need help to develop your portfolio strategy or an emissions plan? I’d be happy to discuss this with you.

Pascale Dreyer