The time to commit to net-zero (and beyond) is now

Ahead of the G7 Leader’s Summit, our CEO designate Tony Lombardo has penned his thoughts on the need for the business community to work hand-in-glove with governments to meet the challenge of climate change head-on.

  • 10 May 2021
  • by
  • Tony Lombardo GMT
Fact. The world is warming at an unsustainable rate. And the built environment – including our homes, the places we work and where our children go to school, the cities in which most of us now live – contributes about 40 per cent1 of global greenhouse gas emissions. This means our industry has a unique responsibility, and opportunity, to act. 

As a 1.5ºC aligned company, we’ve set ourselves ambitious carbon emissions targets that are fully aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement – and set a global benchmark for the real estate industry.

Our targets are clear and unambiguous
  1. Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2025 for Scope 1 emissions produced directly from the fuels we burn and Scope 2 emissions from the power we consume.
  2. Achieving absolute zero carbon emissions by 2040 by eliminating all emissions, including Scope 3 emissions generated indirectly from our activities and the materials we procure, without the use of offsets.

And given what’s at stake, it’s no longer enough to make ambitious commitments without translating them into real and tangible outcomes. That’s why we’ve outlined five steps to help reduce our immediate and long term emissions.

This includes phasing out diesel and gas from our operations, using 100% renewable energy by 2030 and working with our industry partners to reduce indirect emissions in the supply chain.

I’m pleased to report we’ve already made significant headway. For example:

- All of our Australian commercial office funds under management have been officially certified as carbon neutral. This means they’ve met our net zero target well ahead of our 2025 goal. And, our Australian Industrial Fund (APPFI) will be fully powered by renewables and carbon neutral this year.
- In partnership with Aware Super, our multifamily portfolio in Boston and Chicago has been verified as net zero carbon. And, our new projects in New York City and Los Angeles are on track to achieve the same goal as construction gets underway.
- Our Australian Building business unit became one of the first carbon neutral construction service providers in Australia – and all of our Australian construction sites have achieved carbon neutral status.
- The Milan Innovation District (MIND) is our 100-hectare mixed-use redevelopment in Italy which aims to be a zero-carbon precinct powered only by renewable energy sources
- At Elephant Park, our project in central London, we will be net zero carbon in operation by the time it completes in 2025

We’re also among the first companies in the built environment sector to join the UNFCCC Race to Zero. However, that is just the beginning, because at Lendlease we're already focused on our ultimate goal: Absolute Zero Carbon by 2040

Industry collaboration critical

Of course, Lendlease alone can’t stop the world from warming. Industry collaboration is critical in order for our sector to meaningfully reduce its carbon footprint. This means working closely and co-operatively with our partners up and down the supply chain to reduce the embodied carbon in the materials our sector relies on – namely steel, cement and aluminium.

Already, we’re the first in our sector to join forces with ResponsibleSteel to reduce emissions across the supply chain. And we’re one of the first companies globally to join SteelZero (led by The Climate Group and ResponsibleSteel) to drive market demand for net zero carbon steel. We also announced our partnership with the Materials and Embodied Carbon Leaders Alliance, a new industry-led coalition to decarbonise Australia’s building and construction industry.

Governments are leading but must do more

With operations spanning Australia, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, we’re working across and responding to the raft of strategies, targets and incentives being introduced by governments globally to reduce emissions. 

It’s also promising to see robust climate policy being woven into COVID-19 economic recovery plans. However, I join the increasing chorus of voices calling on governments to work with industry to set ambitious targets and follow through with plans to achieve them.  After all, the stakes have never been higher. 

1 Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, World Green Building Council.