Retailers and property owners have agreed a protocol showing how they will reduce carbon emissions from their buildings, as part of the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Climate Action Roadmap.
The new Retailer/Landlord Net Zero Building Protocol sets out the principles for required for a retail site – whether an ecommerce warehouse or a shop – to be recognised as net zero. That in turn helps businesses to meet their own carbon reduction targets while meeting the government’s requirements for the increased energy efficiency of buildings.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, says the protocol is the first of its kind to address the sustainability of retail sites, while looking to improve energy efficiency and embrace renewable energy. “Climate action demands cross-industry collaboration, and this protocol gives retailers and property owners the language and structure to create a greener property market,” she says. “The commitments in the protocol, and in the BRC Climate Action Roadmap, will see the retail industry and its supply chain reach net zero emissions by 2040.”
The new protocol calls for both property owners and retailers to improve energy efficiency by working together and investing in insulation and other improvements, while making it easier to share data on energy use. When it comes to renewable energy, the protocol asks retailers and property owners to support greater on-site generation of sustainable energy, to explore buying renewable energy, and to look at offsetting carbon emissions by improving biodiversity on site.
The BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap, supported by more than 75 leading retailers, aims to take the retail industry and its supply chains to net zero by 2040. In 2017, the lifecycle of goods sold by the sector had a footprint of about 215m tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
WHSmith head of sustainability Nicki Woodhead says: “The coming together of retailers and property owners in this pioneering protocol is the impetus we need to build a greener property market. Subscribing to these principles will help the retail industry get one step closer to a Net Zero future and we look forward to such principles becoming common practice.”
Jane Wakiwaka, environmental sustainability director at The Crown Estate, says: “Retail and real estate have a huge journey ahead on the transition to net zero, and decarbonising at the scale we need to see, will only be possible through collaboration between property owners and occupiers.
“This partnership is a really important step forward in identifying the practical ways our sectors can work together to tackle the crisis of our generation. We look forward to continuing to work together to turn this guidance into action.”
And Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, says: “Landlords are committed and ambitious about retrofitting properties to improve energy efficiency and deliver on net zero. We welcome an initiative that brings tenants and landlords together to reduce carbon emissions, as open dialogue and data-sharing will be vital to effective collaboration and delivery.”
The report has been welcomed by the Better Buildings Partnership. Its chief executive Sarah Ratcliffe says: “We look forward to sharing the protocol with BBP members, with the aim of encouraging greater collaboration between owners and occupiers to address climate change.”