Choices for the planet
To increase the resilience of our properties and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.
An ambitious and realistic action plan
In response to the climate emergency, we have accelerated the decarbonization strategy for our properties and implemented an ambitious plan to improve their energy efficiency and resilience. Our roadmap is centred on three key priorities: aligning our portfolio with a trajectory consistent with the Paris Agreement, anticipating the consequences of climate change and the low-carbon transition, and, lastly, preserving natural resources and promoting the circular economy.
of our stabilized directly owned portfolio is green-building certified (based on the fair value on December 31, 2021)
reduction in the operational carbon intensity of our stabilized directly owned portfolio since 2017
(on December 31 2021)
Our choices for the planet
Aligning our portfolio with a 1.5°C trajectory
As almost 75% of the global real estate stock is considered energy inefficient1, we are committed to increasing our efforts in this area through greater emphasis on energy efficiency and management, implementation of renewable energy solutions, and investments in innovation and technology.
Climate warming represents a twofold challenge for our industry. The surge of natural disasters (floods, storms, fire, etc.), more frequent and intense than before, affects buildings and people. We must be very conscious of our properties’ resilience to these hazards. At the same time, real estate represents nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions2. Our industry has a responsibility to reduce its climate impact. As sustainable investor, we must act at our level to limit our carbon emissions and align our portfolio on a trajectory consistent with the Paris Agreement.
Achieve carbon neutrality in stabilized directly owned portfolio by 2040.
Reducing operational carbon emissions
In our existing portfolio, we are focusing our efforts on reducing operations-related carbon emissions (operational carbon) in the buildings we own. We are committed to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels in favour of more renewable energy. Our approach also includes energy efficiency and energy consumption-reduction measures using the best energy optimization technologies. We are working with our tenants to encourage them to adopt policies and practices aligned with our expectations on this issue. Our goal is to reduce the operational carbon intensity of our stabilized directly owned portfolio by 35% by 2025 compared to 2017. We are also aiming for all our development projects to be net-zero operational carbon, starting in 2025.
Accounting for carbon related to building construction, particularly related to manufacturing construction materials (embodied carbon), is one of the main challenges that our industry faces today. Accordingly, we have initiated work on the carbon impact associated with construction and construction materials that consider the entire life cycle of our properties. We are involved in collaborative initiatives with our peers to develop strong carbon emission accounting methodologies in the building sector, from construction to major renovation, including operation and deconstruction.
As of 2019, we have set up a program to offset 100% of carbon emissions related to our employees’ business air travel. We also pay close to the energy efficiency of our offices, such as our Montreal headquarters (LEED O+M Gold, BOMA Gold).
Anticipating the consequences of climate change and the low-carbon transition
The building sector contributes to climate change, but it is also exposed to the impacts of climate-related risks. Transition risk, or the risk associated with the steps required to move to a low-carbon economy, is a direct result of the industry’s contribution to climate change. This contribution has a direct impact on the physical risks that our assets are exposed to.
The real estate industry is at a turning point in its history, driven by the climate emergency and political and collective awareness. To protect our portfolio’s resilience, we are developing an in-depth understanding of the risks related to these issues while identifying new value-creation opportunities.
Strengthen our portfolio’s resilience to climate challenges.
Analyzing our portfolio’s exposure on an ongoing basis
Just as we objectively assess the sustainable performance of our stabilized directly owned portfolio using the annual GRESB survey (formerly Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark), we continuously analyze the exposure of our new investments and our directly owned portfolio assets to climate change-related physical and transition risks. We are implementing resilience plans for the assets most exposed to the consequences of climate change.
Integrating risks into our decision-making
For several years, we have integrated climate and transition risks into our business decisions, such as acquisitions or investments in real estate expenditures. As data availability increases, our investment and asset management teams are continuously strengthening our risk integration systems to take them more fully into account by using dedicated tools.
Capitalizing on risk-mitigation opportunities
We firmly believe that being sustainable is also profitable. Accordingly, adapting our assets to the realities of climate change will be a source of both protection and value creation. It involves sustainable construction opportunities (low carbon, cutting-edge energy facilities) and developing and enhancing existing assets that need adaptation to the new challenges. With this in mind, we ensure that our real estate portfolio meets the requirements and standards recognized by our industry. In 2021, 60% of our portfolio held green certification. We have also joined the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to promote greater transparency on financial risks related to climate change and enhance the resilience of our portfolio. Lastly, we support industry-led initiatives, such as the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM), to help us understand our level of exposure as well as the required investment to ensure our assets remain viable for the long term. Among many industry initiatives that we participate in, we are also a member of Resilience First, a global network of companies sharing knowledge and developing best practices to ensure climate resilience.
Preserving natural resources and promoting a circular economy
New building construction causes land artificialization and consumes natural resources, which can reduce the ecosystemic functions of biodiversity. However, our sector can adopt alternative practices for preserving and even restoring urban biodiversity, thereby improving the well-being of occupants.
The depletion of natural resources and the loss of biodiversity are a reality. In 2019, nearly one million species were endangered. Promoting species conservation and developing the circular economy should enable us to relieve pressure on resources and reduce our carbon emissions, while improving the well-being of occupants.
Step up our efforts to preserve biodiversity and natural resources.
Strengthening biodiversity preservation
Whether in our existing assets or our new investments, we are developing initiatives to reduce land artificialization (for example, making greater use of existing brownfield sites) and to increase vegetation and natural habitats on our sites. It means developing and creating urban farms, parks, green islands, bee colonies, and more in cities. These initiatives also have a very positive impact on residents and communities.
Reducing and recycling our waste and resources
Reducing our impact on the environment also involves better management of resources. Our efforts are focused on our properties’ waste management (collecting, recycling, transforming, composting) and water consumption. We are actively participating in developing more circular operations and development real estate activities by promoting the re-use of resources and materials (recycling, re-using materials, eco-design). A lot remains to be done, but we are committed to pursuing new initiatives.
As a long-term investor, we know that certifications are important in driving the performance of our assets. Environmental certifications are increasingly valued as a tool to promote the value and quality of a building’s construction and management, in addition to fulfilling the expectations of tenants, employees, business partners and other stakeholders. Through these certifications, we can ensure that our real estate portfolio meets recognized industry requirements and standards.
(non-exhaustive certification list)
Édifice Jacques‑Parizeau, Montréal, Canada
For greater transparency
As part of our commitment to putting sustainable investment at the heart of our business, we are committed to communicating our progress and actions to ensure greater transparency regarding our initiatives and approach.
1 International Energy Agency
22022 Global status report for buildings and construction, United nations environment programme