Show, don’t tell: Q&A on climate action with JLL

Posted on November, 16 2022

WWF Climate Business Network lead Seán Mallon speaks to JLL's Amanda Skeldon about the action the real estate company is taking on the climate crisis.
The window to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C is closing fast. If we have any chance of keeping global heating below catastrophic levels, every business must play its part.
As part of our efforts to encourage businesses to show what credible action they're taking instead of just talking about it, we’ve asked some of our corporate partners to share what they have learned with others. We are doing this to show what is possible and give companies real-world examples of what can be done. We want to take the conversation from words on a page to actions businesses can visualize, adapt and replicate.
We asked Amanda Skeldon, the Director of Climate and Nature for JLL, to share their story. 
Q: Could you tell us about your climate targets? 
A: In May 2021, JLL set a global target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, encompassing our entire greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. This commits JLL to reduce absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 51% by 2030, and 95% by 2040, from a 2018 base year. We accept that there will be some residual emissions in 2040, and we have committed to offset no more than 5% of our 2018 baseline. In October 2021, our net-zero 2040 target was certified by the Science Based Targets initiative, making JLL the first real estate company in the world with a validated net-zero target aligned to climate science.
Q: Is your company on track to deliver its climate targets? How did you achieve this?
A: At the end of 2021, we reported good progress in driving reductions across our own operations at a global level. We reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 17% from our baseline year and we are on track to meet our net-zero 2030 target for occupied office space and vehicle fleet.
We are on track to achieve our targets and have done this by:
  • Setting specific targets around travel, electric vehicles, embodied carbon, resource use and, in the UK, nature
  • Investing in organisation-wide training on sustainability as well as embedding dedicated sustainability professionals within our different service lines
  • Improving our data processes and use of technology across our own corporate real estate and the buildings we manage for clients, enabling us to collect data, set and refine KPIs and help optimize building performance
  • Engaging our clients and across the sector working with organizations such as the British Property Federation, UK Green Building Council and WWF. In 2021, JLL partnered with the World Economic Forum to develop the Green Building Principles, which is a roadmap to help companies decarbonise their real estate portfolios, referencing existing initiatives, for example explaining what companies need to do to deliver against the WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. This was launched at COP26 in Glasgow. 
Q: What difficulties have you faced when implementing this strategy?
A: Metrics and data are key to enabling investors and occupiers to make intelligent decisions around decarbonising real estate. Currently there are still challenges around lack of access to accurate and reliable information.
A lack of government policy that supports and incentivises retrofitting, repair and maintenance rather than new development and construction provides another challenge in implementing a rapid decarbonisation plan.
We also still face challenges around our UK commitment to achieve 100% electric cars for our fleet, benefit and pool cars and 50% electric commercial vehicles due to challenges of vehicle availability, pace of change in the market and workforce policy changes.

Ninety-eight percent of our emissions come from the buildings we manage for our clients and our corporate supply chain. Addressing this challenge means working in collaboration and partnership, leveraging our global expertise and technology investments to take clients on a rapid journey towards decarbonization. We have set targets to engage clients and the real estate sector on the Race to Zero and have already provided external client webinars and resources to support progress. 
Q: Where have your biggest reductions come from with your own operations?

A: We have initially focused on the buildings we own and operate to maximize rapid reductions. Ensuring that we are both achieving reductions in energy consumption and sourcing REGO backed renewable energy supply – with 92% of our UK portfolio already having achieved this.
In 2020 we prioritized focusing on circular principals in the fit-out of our new Manchester office, achieving a 38% reduction in embodied carbon; progress towards our UK target to reduce embodied carbon by 50% across all JLL Office fit outs.
Q: Which of our 7 Beyond Net-Zero leadership actions have you achieved, and which one needs more support from your government?
A: JLL has taken action on all of the 7 leadership actions. We have achieved 1 and 2 and are on target to deliver 3. We are taking significant action to enable and inspire our clients to take action too. We are making significant investments in new sustainability services to support our clients from net-zero fit-outs to climate risk assessments. This is supported by the development of resources such as the WEF partnered Green Principles. We are also working in collaboration with both the World Green Building Council and the UK Green Building Council to ensure industry wide collaboration. Engaging, collaborating, enabling and inspiring are actions that will continue to be grown, developed and embedded in our climate and nature action plans.
Government action is needed to support financing investment in climate and nature solutions and to better enable corporate policy alignment with local, national and global climate policy.
Q: What does the private sector need from policy makers in order to fully support delivery of their climate strategies?
A: The UK government needs to focus on an immediate, large-scale roll out of energy efficiency improvements through a national retrofit programme (initially prioritizing homes and offices); reducing excess spending on energy and the associated cost to the economy of poor health. This will enable further finance and support within the real estate sector for climate and nature solutions.
We need a clear, long-term commitment from the UK government that it will continue to invest in renewable energy to ensure energy security, decoupling renewable energy from fossil fuel and supporting Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). 
We need global commitments and action plans that embed nature recovery and prioritize nature-based solutions in the transition to net-zero. Businesses and government need to address both the climate and biodiversity crises and it is important to understand that they are inextricably linked.
As well as focusing on climate mitigation, we need to also ensure that our towns and cities are better adapted to the effects of climate change such as extreme rainfall, flooding, and heat waves. Incorporating green infrastructure and nature-based solutions into the built environment is a key component of this urban adaptation.
Q: What do you want to see as the outcome of COP27?
A: The key outcome that is needed from COP27 is moving from commitments to action and developing a solid, realistic plan to reach net-zero in real estate. We want to see action that addresses both the climate and nature crises through a just transition.
Globally and in the UK, we need a climate action plan that incorporates skills, health and equality.
The buildings and constructions sector accounted for around 37% of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021.
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