Goldman Sachs signs Net Zero Buildings Commitment

Seven world leading private sector companies announced pledges to slash emissions from their buildings to net zero, by signing up to the World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

These organisations have pledged to take “urgent action” to ensure their own portfolios of buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 or sooner.

The Commitment is unique in positioning energy efficiency as a central component to achieving decarbonisation across building portfolios, in addition to generating and procuring renewable energy to meet reduced energy demand. This represents the most cost effective, best practice approach to ensuring buildings are fit for purpose, future-proofed against climate impacts, and provide healthy and comfortable environments.

The new corporate signatories to the Commitment are: Goldman Sachs; Hudson Pacific Properties; Lendlease Funds Management Australia; and Petinelli.

“Bold climate leadership”

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council said: “We welcome the bold climate leadership from the latest signatories to WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

“Their pledges to fully eliminate carbon emissions from their buildings demonstrate private sector readiness to respond to the climate crisis. The next decade is crucial to realise the ambition of the Paris Agreement so now is the time to act.”

For Goldman Sachs, Hudson Pacific and all four Lendlease Funds, joining the Commitment is a pathway to becoming members of EP100 – a global corporate leadership initiative for energy-smart companies, delivered by The Climate Group in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy.

The Commitment’s inclusion of energy efficiency as an essential component to a net zero carbon strategy supports the improvement of energy productivity.

We recognise that reducing our energy consumption and operating our offices at net zero carbon emissions globally is a critical component of transitioning to a low carbon economy.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group said: “With buildings worldwide accounting for as much greenhouse gas emissions as the EU and China combined, it’s vital that companies act now to make smarter use of energy – from LED lighting and efficient cooling to better building design.

“We welcome all six new signatories to the EP100 initiative. By targeting net zero carbon buildings, they will increase their competitiveness while reducing climate impact – a win-win for any business.”

Dino Fusco, Global Head of Corporate Services and Real Estate, Goldman Sachs said: “We recognise that reducing our energy consumption and operating our offices at net zero carbon emissions globally is a critical component of transitioning to a low carbon economy.

“We are excited to join this initiative with other industry leaders to help scale this effort globally. In addition, we are pleased to also join The Climate Group’s global EV100 initiative to help further the electrification of the grid.”

The full list of the Commitment signatories comprises 45 businesses and organisations including developers, real estate investment and property funds, manufacturers and global design firms, 28 cities including London, New York and Tokyo, and six states and regions including California and Scotland.

Building emissions

Globally, almost 40% of energy related greenhouse emissions occur from buildings, with 28% coming from the operations of buildings themselves, according to the World Green Building Council.

Operational carbon emissions can be eliminated to meet net zero by maximising energy efficiency and powering buildings through 100% renewable energy – eliminating reliance on fossil fuels, it says.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has the power to “radically reduce” the building sector’s environmental impact by spearheading a global shift towards “aggressive energy efficiency” as well as a complete change from fossil fuel based power to renewables, the Council says.

In 2015, 82% of final energy consumption in buildings was supplied by fossil fuels – whereas to meet the Paris Agreement, this must become 0%.

Last week, leading European businesses and cities also announced commitments during a leaders’ summit in Brussels convened by WorldGBC and partners, as part of a campaign to help spark a building “renovation revolution”.

This included the city of Valladolid, the first in Spain, which will introduce an ambitious new law in 2020 to drive district heating and renewable energy in new buildings, and energy improvements in some 4,000 homes per year between 2020 and 2050, and operate their own council building at net zero from 2030.

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