Strategies for occupiers to take ownership through measurable actions for achieving net-zero targets.
Multinational firms in the Asia Pacific region are often tasked with adhering to head office goals for net-zero targets. Yet the reality of achieving net-zero depends on much more than a top-down approach. Meeting targets by a specific year may be a breeze—or a brewing storm.
ESG checklist in hand
“Occupiers with net-zero targets should consider a number of criteria,” Amit notes. “They should have a list of parameters to select the right properties, and also consider green certified buildings with sustainable design, green-rated equipment and locally sourced materials. Once the space is occupied, they should monitor and audit energy usage while operating the space to maximise efficiency. In addition, they should look at ways to improve bio-diversity in and around their site.”
ESG-minded occupiers need to look beyond the usual leasing terms when considering a site. Amit suggests taking into account the following key considerations: “Can most staff members walk or take public transport to work? Are fit-out materials in sync with local requirements? Are there occupancy sensors to turn off lights when no one is around? These factors make up a solid checklist that occupiers can use towards achieving their targets.”
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Singapore-based Henry Chia, Director, Enterprise Clients | Asia Pacific, saw many companies reassessing which ESG solutions work and which require exploration during COVID-19. “It is an employee-driven market in Asia-Pacific right now,” Henry ascertains.
“Flexible work arrangements, employee experience and a great workplace culture weigh strongly with talent who can pick and choose which companies to work for. More employees want to see immediate action being taken by companies to achieve those goals right now—not just in anticipation of net-zero 2030 targets. Measurable data resonates with today’s talent, and ESG performance transparency is an important component to hiring and retaining them.”
Real time consumption tracking
Chloe Teo, Head of Enterprise Clients in Singapore, elaborates, “As occupiers get closer to their target year, they need to consider the overall picture. Hybrid work scenarios may reduce carbon footprints in the office but that footprint gets transferred to homes. Colliers partners with Measurabl to track and inform clients how much they are consuming. This leading real estate software solution is used across 90 countries to accurately track real time ESG performance. With Measurabl yielding data that can pinpoint which consumption habits to curb, there could be real savings for clients.”
As the Asia-Pacific region is incredibly diverse, occupiers also should consider what specific countries are realistically able to provide. “The green agenda is being set by various countries: China aims for net-zero by 2060 while the US by 2050,” Amit notes. “In line with each country’s corporate social responsibility, many firms have set more aggressive net-zero goals. This also aligns with the needs of attracting and retaining the best talent.”
Realistic expectations for ESG goals
Furthermore, occupiers are often restricted by what landlords can provide. Some companies are limited by the renewable energy sources available in their territory, such as in Singapore where a single power grid dominates.
In contrast, Japan – an island nation dependent on itself for the resources it consumes, is known for its sustainability practices such as their recycling habits, regardless of at home or in the office.”
Sydney-based Simon Crouch, Occupier Services’ Head of Tenant Advisory in Australia, notes that the current energy mix that powers buildings in Australia is diverse and range from intensive fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. As renewables in the grid increase in percentage, buildings powered by electricity are naturally decarbonising in line with grid power. With Australia’s reporting systems set up to recognise this transition, organisations with net-zero targets can capture cost savings associated with electricity-based consumption.
In the end, all the experts agree that leadership is what drives change. “Good management can shift the company culture through clear goals set, training and support for all staff members, and performance transparency,” states Henry.
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