We created the Low Carbon Workplace (LCW) initiative in 2010 to prove that energy-efficient, low-carbon building refurbishments are not just necessary, but also highly profitable. With the built environment contributing around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, and the majority of these emissions coming from existing and aging buildings, there is an urgent need to decarbonise the existing stock.
Carbon Neutral Real Estate (CNRE) Fund
To bring the concept to life, we created the CNRE Fund (originally called the Low Carbon Workplace Fund) with our partners Columbia Threadneedle and Stanhope. The fund raises money from institutional investors and buys buildings with the potential to become modern, efficient offices with low energy costs and improved well-being and productivity for occupants. To date the Fund has successfully acquired and refurbished nine buildings.
The LCW offer
We aim to refurbish our acquired buildings into modern, energy-efficient workplaces. Carbon Trust’s expertise adds value across the project life, enhancing the benefits for both investors and tenants.
Our offer is unique because of the ongoing support we provide to our occupiers. We work with them in partnership over the length of their tenancy to minimise their energy costs and carbon emissions. At the beginning of their tenancy, all occupiers signal their commitment by signing the LCW Charter, a statement of collaboration and cooperation with the aim of minimising carbon emissions together.
To recognise the commitment and successes of our occupiers, we award the LCW Standard to occupiers who achieve quantitative energy performance, qualitative sustainability performance, and carbon management goals.
The CNRE net zero carbon commitment
In recent years there has been a major shift in climate change ambition. The 2015 Paris Agreement showed wide global support for limiting global temperature rise by reducing carbon emissions deeply over the next few decades, reaching net zero global emissions by the middle of the century. In the UK, given the significant proportion of emissions arising from the construction and operation of buildings, it is essential that the sector is rapidly decarbonised, reaching net zero carbon as soon as possible.
The CNRE Fund’s approach to sustainability has been highly effective thus far, and targeting net zero carbon emissions is the natural next step. We signalled our commitment to this by signing the Better Buildings Partnership’s Climate Commitment in 2019, pledging to deliver a net zero carbon real estate portfolio.
As part of this commitment we have published our strategy for delivering net zero emissions performance across all aspects of the portfolio operational emissions, embodied carbon, and supply chain activities.
Our vision for net zero carbon is to reduce the fund’s lifecycle emissions on a 1.5°C science-based trajectory, source all energy from renewables, and offset any residual emissions through certified greenhouse gas removals. This document explains that vision, presents our 2019 emissions baseline, and details the actions we will take to drive emissions reductions and report our progress.”