Net Zero: Pioneering the Path to a Sustainable Future

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_Net Zero: Pioneering the Path to a Sustainable Future
Image courtesy of https://www.carbontrust.com/

In April of this year, Grosvenor pledged to align its emissions reduction efforts with the scientific imperative to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Although this commitment may seem straightforward, it conceals a significant level of intricacy, and achieving it won't be a simple task.

This commitment encompasses all of Grosvenor's global operations, spanning from their direct property enterprises to indirect investments, dairy farms, and rural estates.

Over a year-long period, it was meticulously crafted and is the amalgamation of several robust and ambitious decarbonisation strategies tailored to each business activity.

These strategies, unique to each business unit, will soon be unveiled. While individual business entities have set their own targets and pathways, the Grosvenor Group has embraced a collective resolve to prioritise decarbonisation, challenging conventional 'business-as-usual' practices in decision-making.

Significantly, Grosvenor's commitment extends to the entirety of their emissions, necessitating close collaboration with partners as the majority of their emissions fall into the 'scope 3' category, meaning they are beyond the company's direct control and are linked to the value chain (suppliers, tenants, investments).

Through initiatives such as their supply chain charter, SME Supplier Mentoring programme, and green lease programme, they aim to facilitate and inspire broader sectoral changes that will facilitate the realisation of their carbon reduction goals and contribute to the wider industry's decarbonisation.

Grosvenor's businesses are already reaping the rewards of this collaboration, with emissions associated with their UK property business's supply chain decreasing by a notable 46% compared to a 2019 baseline. To gain deeper insights into their progress, please refer to their latest progress report here.

While they are making year-on-year progress in reducing emissions, Grosvenor acknowledges that their ultimate success is contingent on various external factors beyond their control. Like all businesses, they operate within a broader context and require strong, consistent leadership from the government to drive systemic change.

The achievement of their overarching decarbonisation goals hinges on the decarbonisation of the grid. Transitioning from petrol cars to electric vehicles is only meaningful if the electricity sources are environmentally friendly.

Without investment in technologies such as heat pumps and the necessary installation skills, encouraging their occupants to make the switch becomes more challenging. Addressing climate change necessitates a cohesive effort involving both the public and private sectors.

As more businesses establish science-based targets and develop ambitious decarbonisation strategies, it's disheartening to witness the UK government backtrack on prior commitments, dilute their ambition, and undermine ongoing efforts.

In June of this year, the UK Climate Change Committee published a report assessing the progress toward the UK's 2050 net-zero target. The report highlighted a "lack of urgency" from the government and emphasised that progress was not occurring at the necessary pace to meet future targets.

It called on the government to maintain its existing commitments and move towards implementation, retake a prominent international leadership role, and empower households and communities to make low-carbon choices.

In stark contrast to these recommendations, recent government announcements, including the relaxation of important milestone targets on the path to the legally binding 2050 target, have eroded the UK's position as a global climate leader. The resulting lack of clarity and inconsistent messaging has frustrated businesses, households, and communities.

Ninety per cent of UKGBC members have expressed concern over the government's approach, asserting that "industry and consumers need certainty to build confidence and support the necessary changes to our buildings." These changes are essential to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis and reduce the environmental impact of the built environment. Even major car manufacturers like Ford have protested against the policy changes, stating that the industry requires "ambition, commitment, and a consistent message," and that recent policy shifts have undermined all three.

Grosvenor echoes these sentiments. They recognise the climate emergency we face and the immense task at hand. They firmly believe that authentic leadership in this matter is of paramount significance, providing a competitive advantage. That's why they remain dedicated to innovation and driving the industry's action and mindset forward.

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Source: Grosvenor

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