Urban Partners selected to pilot Science Based Targets initiative’s Buildings Science-Based Target-Setting Guidance and Tool

January 31, 2024

• As one of only 15 firms globally, Urban Partners is chosen to pilot SBTi’s new industry guidelines, bringing long experience from galvanising climate action and spearheading decarbonising initiatives for buildings through its real estate investor Nrep

• With CO2 reduction in cities being key to climate action, SBTi is now developing an industry-wide science-based framework to support the green transition in real estate, a sector accounting for close to 40 % of global GHG emissions

Copenhagen, Jan 29th 2024 – Urban Partners, the investment platform for urban problem solving, has been selected by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to pilot guidelines aimed at helping companies across the built environment set targets that align with science-based decarbonisation pathways.

Urban Partners is one of only 15 firms from across the world that have been selected to test SBTi’s Buildings Science-Based Target-Setting Guidance and Tool which contain science-based target-setting methodologies, tools and guidance for companies in the building sector and other stakeholders. Urban Partners’ contribution is grounded in its real estate investor Nrep’s 8 million sqm portfolio and renowned experience as a sustainability-led real estate investor and developer.

The guidance intends to enable companies to meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement through appropriate emissions accounting and reporting, as well as target setting and validation.

Over the last year, the firm has worked to establish a GHG emissions measurement and target setting framework that is based on the SBTi’s draft, published in May 2023. After being selected to pilot the industry guidelines, Urban Partners will share their datasets and actively engage in identifying possible amendments to be made to SBTi’s resources. The 15 companies have been selected to ensure representing a diverse range of companies in terms of region, intended user type, emissions profile and business size, that act in an informative capacity to the SBTi by testing the guidance using real world data, during the development of the project.

Jens Stender, Co-CEO Urban Partners, said: “The gap between industry performance and where we need to be in order to meet the 1.5° target in the Paris Agreement is growing, and crucial to act on. Collective participation in green frameworks, such as this market leading initiative from the SBTi, is already moving the dial and has the potential to get us back on track. For years, Urban Partners has leaned forward in exploring innovative emissions-reducing levers to scale and seek to inspire the industry in doing so, and SBTi is integral for our continued journey.”

Initiatives across Nrep’s real estate portfolio to reduce operational and embodied emissions include, for example, both exploring ways of increasing the use of low-carbon materials in construction, and a recent doubling of on-site renewable energy production. Design-stage life cycle assessments are conducted for every new development project, and 92 % of the portfolio’s buildings already have decarbonization plans in place. Furthermore, the firm’s commitment to improving emissions data quality and coverage has resulted in collecting real time utility meter data for around two-thirds of its buildings.

Elisabeth Hermann Frederiksen, Head of Sustainability at Urban Partners, said: “No company can achieve a full transition in isolation. Collaboration and alignment is crucial in framework development to identify best-practises and work transparently towards a shared objective. By actively supporting SBTi on this industry guidance and target-setting tool, we contribute with our knowledge and aim to collaborate in a global context to help accelerate clarity and action together.”

The guidelines are being developed by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the We Mean Business Coalition. The SBTi’s goal is to enable companies worldwide to do what climate science requires of the global economy: to halve emissions by 2030, and achieve net-zero before 2050. An ambition Elisabeth Hermann Frederiksen encourages industry alignment to:

“There is a steep but imperative learning curve that needs to take place within companies to properly comprehend the climate emergency. We encourage real estate companies, urban developers, city leaders and other stakeholders around the world to join us as we support efforts to scale up science-driven initiatives, such as this one from the SBTi.”

As a continuation of being selected as a pilot to support SBTi’s framework development, Urban Partners plans to align its current decarbonization ambitions for the Nrep portfolio to Science-Based Targets, based on the upcoming SBTi Buildings Science-Based Target-Setting Guidance and Tool.

Published: January, 31 2024