Circularity in the built environment

This is not about going in political circles. This is about achieving Net Zero. It is about focussing on recycling and reuse and building back better. British Land has committed, and its CEO, Simon Carter outlines how the property sector will meet the challenge in a full report

The worldwide race to net zero has begun in earnest and Britain aims to take a global lead. It is a huge responsibility, but the right ambition for our country to adopt.

The task brings challenges for us all, including every sector of the economy. Businesses will be required to deliver profound change and the property sector will be a major driver and, I believe, enabler of this.

It is clear, however, that if our industry is to make a significant impact on the UK’s net zero carbon target it will require collaboration and innovation across the entire sector – from those involved in the finance, insurance, design, development, management, and occupation of buildings. I am optimistic that rising demand for more sustainable real estate will help us to deliver this, as more people desire to live and work in buildings that minimise their carbon footprint.

I also believe that leaving this to customer demand alone will not drive change fast enough. We need a clear policy and regulatory environment that helps to reduce emissions from the construction and operation of all buildings.

In this document, we outline proposals for doing just that: simple steps government can take to speed up decarbonisation of the built environment, from accelerating the adoption of sustainable construction materials in new buildings through to better standards to measure the performance of existing ones. British Land is already playing its part. Over the past ten years, we have reduced our carbon intensity by 73% and plan to go further, making our whole portfolio net zero by 2030. We have joined the Race to Zero and set out, in our own Pathway to Net Zero, the steps we will take over the next decade to get there.

We have come a long way, but there is still so much more that we can do. For us, prioritising sustainability makes good commercial sense, as we seek to create outstanding places for our occupiers and local communities. This is exemplified at 100 Liverpool Street and 1 Triton Square, our first net zero carbon developments, each setting new standards for reducing embodied carbon during construction. I hope that these examples and the proposals set out in this report contribute to driving the change and innovation we need across our sector.

You can access the full report from British Land here: