European firms band together to launch low-carbon label

A group of leading European property companies has launched an initiative to develop what it describes as the ‘first pan-European low-carbon label for real estate’.

The initiative, which is being presented at Mipim this week, involves a number of wellknown players in the European property industry and underscores the current keen interest in ESG and cutting real estate's carbon footprint.

The label’s founding members include French firm Covivio, Canadian investor Ivanhoé Cambridge, BNP Paribas Real Estate, developer WO2, fund manager Icamap, Dutch property investor NSI, Italy's Generali Real Estate and BPI, a developer active in Belgium, Poland and Luxembourg. Struan Robertson, chairman of EMEA Real Estate, Gaming & Lodging at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is also a founding member.

Christophe Kullmann, CEO of Covivio, commented: ‘Aware of its impacts on the environment and its role in the ecological transition, the real estate 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.’

French certification body BBCA will provide the technical support for the initiative, which aims to promote a reduction of buildings' carbon footprint over their entire life cycle.  

The European methodology for the new label is expected to be developed by summer 2022, allowing the first buildings in Europe to obtain certification by the end of the year. Offices, residential buildings and hotels will be targeted as a first step.

Stéphane Villemain, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Ivanhoe Cambridge, said: ‘We are proud to support this European initiative which represents a major step towards the decarbonisation 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 favourably position our portfolio over the long term.’

Stanislas Pottier, senior advisor to Amundi's general management and president of BBCA, noted:  ‘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).’

Since 2016, around 300 projects in France, covering a total of over 2 million m2, have registered for, or have already been awarded, a BBCA label. According to the association, the implementation of low-carbon best practices can reduce a building's carbon footprint by 30 to 50%, depending on the label level, compared with traditional construction methods.

See also PropertyEU’s profile of global ESG benchmarking firm GRESB

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