Welcome back to the Impact blog. We’ve recently published our 2023 Annual Report, giving an overview of our progress and sustainability activities across all areas of the business over the past year. In this blog, I want to highlight some areas from the Report that show how we’ve progressed our environmental responsibility agenda.
To recap, our overarching environmental strategic goal has three components: to reduce our carbon footprint, to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045, and to have a positive environmental impact across our platform, portfolio, and value chain.
Defining net zero pathways in Germany and the UK
We are pleased to report that our German platform has achieved net zero emissions for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions this year and that our emissions, including the offsets that we have acquired, are certified by Achilles, the global validation company.
As a next step, we are now looking at the feasibility, both in practical and financial terms, of achieving net zero emissions in Germany by 2045 for our Scope 3 emissions. Initial results of our in-depth assessments of the Sirius portfolio show that net zero emissions, in line with the German national target, can be achieved across the Sirius German portfolio based on the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (“CRREM”) methodology, the leading global standard for operational decarbonisation of real estate assets, and in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (“SBTi”).
In the UK, where we operate through the BizSpace brand acquired in 2021, we aim to achieve carbon neutrality, and potentially net zero, for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in FY2023/24. This year, to align with the analyses and management processes used for the German portfolio, we will commence a process to assess the potential pathway to net zero emissions for Scope 3 for the UK portfolio by 2045 or 2050 in line with CRREM and SBTi.
As a first step on defining the long-term pathway to net zero for the UK portfolio, we completed an EPC review of all our UK properties. The assessment was designed to understand the actions needed to invest in the portfolio to align with UK Government requirements for commercial rental properties to have an EPC “C” rating by 2027, and EPC “B” rating by 2030. As I write this, all BizSpace properties carry the necessary EPC rating to meet current UK regulatory requirements.
Launching a dedicated ESG department
As of April 2023, we have formed a dedicated ESG department in Germany to lead on our environmental sustainability work and we will create a similar department in the UK. This is an exciting step that formalises the work we have been undertaking under one department, and over the year ahead the team will build a plan of action to bring our portfolio to achievable net zero emissions, including our short-term decarbonisation targets.
Their work will include looking at improving the quality of the data we collect; rolling out LED lighting; decarbonising the heat supply; the potential for on-site renewable energy generation through PV installations; and engaging with our tenants to improve operational building utilisation as well as the potential for the decarbonisation of on-site production processes.
We have already taken opportunities and steps to reduce emissions across our business. One of these has been relocating our head office in Berlin to a leased building with a gold standard DGNB certification, that’s powered by close to 100% renewable electricity.
Across our portfolio in Germany we’ve supplied 97.6% renewable electricity, up from 94.6% in the prior financial year, while our portfolio in the UK has been providing 100% renewable electricity to tenants for a number of years.
It’s been a year of strong focus on environmental sustainability and we’re proud of the progress we’ve made, but equally we recognise this is a long-term ambition and we have a long way still to go.
With the creation of a dedicated, full-time ESG department and our ongoing efforts, we’ll have a lot to update on, and I’ll share our progress here and on the Sirius social media channels in due course.