NREP leading the race to net zero with pledge to fully decarbonise real estate portfolio by 2028
The 2028 pledge, launched ahead of COP26, is a potential game changer for the industry as the accelerated action plan aims at net zero without offsets several years ahead of IPCC’s target date.
Leading Nordic real estate investor, NREP, has committed to being carbon neutral by 2028 without offsets, encompassing both operational and embodied carbon. The announcement consolidates NREP’s position as one of the world’s most innovative, sustainable, and socially responsible investors, pioneering the solutions needed for the industry to mitigate against climate change.
Claus Mathisen, CEO of NREP, said: “From the largest Nordic rooftop solar plant to embodied carbon concrete, NREP has always pushed the boundaries when it comes to ESG innovation and investment, and we have no intention of slowing down. To achieve the ambitious targets we have set, many technologies need to be deployed in parallel and at scale, and we are determined to demonstrate to the industry how this can be done.
“The built environment must take its rightful place in the global climate conversation and be both responsible and proactive; I am hopeful that the stark reality we’re faced with will accelerate a desire within the industry of wanting to leave behind a more positive social and environmental impact – something that NREP has been advocating for many years.”
NREP is the largest real estate investment manager in the Nordics, with approximately €12.5 billion of assets under management, and has long been at the forefront of green initiatives that have propelled the region to its leadership position on an international sustainability stage. As we approach COP26, the company is proud to announce its ambition to become the first international real estate investor with a carbon neutral investment portfolio, well ahead of the IPCC’s target date of net zero by 2050.
As part of its phased pathway to achieving this stated ambition, NREP has adopted the decarbonisation tools of the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM), which provides tangible science-based targets for each property type and geography. The initiative is supported by a team exclusively dedicated to this cause, and which has set the following near-term goals for delivery by 2023, demonstrating the scale of intent:
- Reducing upfront embodied carbon by up to 30% from 2020 levels on new NREP developments
- Reducing at least 50% of operational carbon emissions from 2020 levels
The key tools to achieving these reductions will include applying internal pricing on carbon as well as leveraging innovative technologies which NREP has been an early adopter of:
- All developments will undergo early-stage life cycle analysis to enable design and material choices that significantly reduce embodied CO2 emissions
- Employing on-site and off-site renewables to generate carbon neutral electricity and heating, eliminating operational CO2 emissions
Acknowledging that there will be residual emissions, NREP is taking early action to capture CO2 through real and impactful initiatives such as local forestation.
Furthermore, by 2025, NREP will have completed the ground-up development of three large-scale, net zero innovation projects. These carbon neutral building prototypes – a residential and logistics project, as well as an office retrofit – will act as a benchmark for portfolio-wide construction practices as it moves towards its 2028 goal. Building on the team’s track record of investing in cutting-edge sustainable technologies, the entire building design and construction process will be re-engineered, leveraging the most innovative solutions to identify and solve any pain points causing a gap in CO2 balance. To foster innovation, NREP aspires to position itself as an open-source by sharing its progress and learnings along the way, and urges its peers to do likewise, to accelerate the industry’s delivery against a unified net zero mission.
Claus Mathisen, CEO of NREP, added: “The scale of the climate emergency becomes more apparent with each passing year. We are proud to be playing our part towards meaningfully reducing the built environment’s adverse impact on our planet by developing the scalable solutions that the industry needs, and which will help us meet our arduous 2028 target.
“The challenge should not be underestimated but we know that real estate has an enormous role to play in the transition to a zero-carbon economy and it has been hugely encouraging to see the sector galvanise ahead of COP26. But pledges alone aren’t enough – we need substantially more decisive action to protect our planet from the urgent environmental pressures that it faces and invite partners to join us in this movement towards making decarbonised cities a reality.”
NREP has long pioneered sustainability in real estate, which has played a central role in its value creation strategy. Spearheading initiatives to date include the use of CO2 neutral geothermal heating, projects such as the world’s first 100% upcycled concrete building and ‘UN17 Village’, the first large-scale project to align with all of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The company recently announced the final close of sustainability technology fund 2150 at €268 million, the first five investments of which have the potential to mitigate over 1.6GT of CO2 emissions.