‘A Moral And Financial Imperative’: This Secretive £3.5B London Giant Has A Bold Climate Plan
When a big publicly listed property company or a large public pension fund puts forward a plan to decarbonise its property portfolio, it is often afforded the opportunity to bask in the do-good effect.
Private property companies, not so much.
Yet with little fanfare, the low-profile owner of one of the West End’s biggest property empires has set an ambitious target to make its portfolio net-zero carbon by 2030, according to just-published accounts.
Lazari Investment, the family-controlled company that owns a £3.5B portfolio of primarily West End offices, said in its annual report it would have a framework in place by the end of the year to become net-zero within a decade. That target means it will decarbonise its portfolio at the speed the Paris Climate Accord says is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“We recognise there is a climate and biodiversity emergency [and] the property and construction industry has a significant role in finding holistic solutions which reduce the sector’s impact,” the company wrote in its report for the year to March 2021. “It has become clear that playing an active part in the framing and applications of solutions is both an immediate moral and long-term financial imperative.”
Lazari said that its sustainability framework would look at the whole-life carbon impact of its portfolio, meaning that it would take into account emissions created by the development of new buildings as well as those created during their operation. The construction and demolition of buildings account for about 75% of their lifetime carbon emissions, Energy Information Agency data showed.
The company said it would reduce construction emissions in its development programme by refurbishing existing assets where possible and incorporating circular economy principles to reuse materials.
Lazari said it would work with companies in its supply chain and with its tenants to reduce the emissions they create.
In addition to what many perceive as a moral imperative, the financial benefits of creating a sustainable portfolio are becoming increasingly clear. A report from Knight Frank this week found that the greenest offices, those with the highest sustainability certifications, received a 12% rental premium over less green offices. Those with the second-highest certification received a 5% premium.