Retail real estate needs Paris-proof decarbonisation strategy – new report

(eceee news, 26 Feb 2021) A new report from BPIE marks the launch of Paris-Proof Retail Real Estate, an initiative to develop a vision and strategy to support the European retail real-estate sector reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.

The report, released on 24th February, analyses existing policy and market approaches to climate change actions and strategies relevant to the retail real estate sector. It highlights that despite industry efforts to decarbonise building portfolios, retail real estate asset managers and owners lack a sector-specific trajectory towards achieving climate-neutrality.

According to the report, the current rate of decarbonisation of retail buildings is not happening fast enough to meet climate goals, something that is aggravated by extreme weather conditions, rapidly expanding floor area and growth in demand for energy consuming services.

In 2019, the global buildings and construction sector accounted for 36% of final energy use and 39% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Climate-neutrality requires thorough renovation and smart design of the whole building stock, including retail portfolios.

According to the report, existing low carbon transition and 1.5°C climate roadmaps are not yet fully adapted to the needs of the sector, and climate change issues are not yet fully integrated into mainstream asset management and investment decision-making processes.

However, in this sector climate-related risks become more apparent. Interviews with retail property investment and management companies, show that failure to put in place a decarbonisation strategy now could lead to value erosion and stranded assets in the years to come.

“In Europe, while GHG emissions targets are well defined for 2030 and 2050, these are not yet transposed into meaningful guidance for individual industry sectors,” says Zsolt Toth, Senior Project Manager at BPIE.

“If we are serious about decarbonising the full building stock by 2050, the retail real estate sector and policymakers need to have a common understanding of who needs to do what, and by when. The strategy should be measurable, sector-specific, and disaggregated from high-level political targets.”

BPIE plans to launch a decarbonisation vision and strategy with the European retail real estate sector before the end of 2021 and welcomes owners and asset managers from the sector to participate in interviews and provide input in its development.

View the report here