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Retailers and landlords come together to drive greener property

By Rachel Douglass

30 Nov 2021


Image: Simon Launay via Unsplash

Retail industry bodies have come together to develop a pioneering agreement to reduce the carbon emissions associated with retailer properties. The Retailer/Landlord Net Zero Building Protocol “outlines the principles required for Net Zero retail sites”.

The agreement hopes to set high standards of sustainability between retailers and property owners, supporting the business commitments related to the reduction of carbon emissions. Furthermore, it sustains the UK Government’s own requirements for increased building energy efficiency.

Two main areas are covered in the protocol. Firstly, it seeks to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, calling on property owners and retailers to collaborate and invest in sustainable improvements, such as insulation. It further aims to make the sharing of data on energy usage easier to attain.

Secondly, it supports greater use of renewable energy within buildings, urging the exploration of options for purchasing such sources and increasing the implementation of on-site biodiversity.

“The Net Zero Building Protocol is a great opportunity for retailers and property owners to work together towards a greener future,” said Helen Dickinson, OBE and chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the organisation the protocol is a part of. “The protocol is the first of its kind to address the sustainability of retailer sites with an ambition to improve energy efficiency and embrace renewable energy.”

“Climate action demands cross-industry collaboration…”

The protocol comes as part of BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap, supported by over 75 major retailers, including Asos, Marks and Spencer, Ted Baker and Next. The roadmap aims to ensure retailers and their supply chains are net zero by 2040, in line with the national goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius.

Dickinson added: “Climate action demands cross-industry collaboration, and this protocol gives retailers and property owners the language and structure to create a greener property market.”

Jane Wakiwaka, environmental sustainability director at property management company The Crown Estate, also highlighted the importance of collaboration between property owners and occupiers in the pursuit of achieving net zero goals. She said: “This partnership is a really important step forward in identifying the practical ways our sectors can work together to tackle the crisis of our generation.”

Developed in the lead up to COP26, the BRC released its Climate Action Roadmap through its Better Retail Better World campaign, asking the retail industry to build a fairer and more sustainable economy in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Multiple retailers joined the cause, publicising their intent to work on collaborative efforts.

Specific targets outlined by the roadmap and in consideration of the general UK net zero goal included that of implementing renewable electricity resources by 2030 and locating fuel, gas and refrigerant substitutes by 2035.