March 14, 2022

Major European real-estate stakeholders unite to launch a pan-European low carbon label

The real-estate industry, largest CO2 emitter accounting for 39% of global emissions, is a key player in the fight against global warming. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, all European countries must work to reduce the carbon footprint of new and existing buildings.

At MIPIM, major European stakeholders in the industry united in support of the first pan-European low carbon label for real-estate.  This Low Carbon Building Initiative boasts its founding members from many different countries throughout Europe : BPI from Luxembourg, Belgium and Poland, NSI from the Netherlands, WO2 and ICAMAP from Luxembourg, France and United-Kingdom, and Generali Real Estate, BNP Paribas Real Estate as well as Covivio and Ivanhoé Cambridge with a European approach,  and Struan Robertson.

The French association BBCA provides the necessary technical support for this initiative, which aims at promoting the reduction of the carbon footprint of buildings over their entire life cycle. A scientific commission was set up to ensure an independent approach. Co-led by Artelia and Elioth by Egis, the commission brings together experts in Life Cycle Analysis and decarbonisation strategies for real-estate. The European methodology is expected to be developed by summer 2022, allowing the first exemplary buildings in Europe to obtain label certification by the end of the year.  Offices, residential buildings and hotels will be targeted as a first step.

Since 2016, around 300 projects in France, covering a total of over 2 million sqm have registered for or have already been awarded with a BBCA label. The implementation of best low carbon practices can reduce a building’s carbon footprint by 30 to 50%, depending on the label level, as compared with traditional construction methods. The BBCA label was also a precursor of and contributed to the new “RE2020” environmental regulation for new buildings in France.

Christophe Kullmann, Chief Executive Officer at Covivio, indicated: “Aware of its impacts on the environment and its role in the ecological transition, the sector is once again demonstrating its ability to unite on structuring issues. In line with its long-standing strategy on these issues, Covivio is delighted to join this pan-European initiative involving partners with different profiles. This diversity is a real asset for the creation of this standard and thus to face the climate and energy challenges that we all have to face together.

Olivier Terrenoire, Global Head of Asset, Property Management and Sustainable Investing at Generali Real Estate, commented: “The decarbonisation of the real estate portfolio is a key priority in Generali Real Estate’s ESG strategy. This is also expressed in the target that the Generali Group committed on, contributing to the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance. We are proud to be working alongside key European players, with the support of BBCA and to be a founding partner of this important initiative, to address one of the most important topics for our industry, and in order to create further synergies on that challenging path.

Stéphane Villemain, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Ivanhoe Cambridge, stated: “We are proud to support this European initiative which represents a major step towards the decarbonization of the real estate sector. Greater account needs to be taken of the emission levels of buildings throughout their life cycle, including when they are actually being built. This initiative represents a real opportunity to extend low carbon practices in our sector and to favorably position our portfolio over the long term.

Stanislas Pottier, Senior Advisor to Amundi’s General Management and President of the French association BBCA indicated:  “If we want to reach Net Zero by 2050, we have to get it right carbon wise in the coming 15 years and to do that, we have to change practices in the next 2 to 3 years. That means shaping a real CO2 accountancy and analysis framework for buildings, cities and portfolios. BBCA is glad to support this European Low Carbon Building initiative, contributing its technical expertise acquired over the last 6 years, in order to reach CO2 metrics and European Labels, in coordination with the undergoing work at EU level (Green Taxonomy, CSRD, NFRD…) and beyond (ISSB).

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