Creating Resilience

Reducing the complexity of a decarbonization strategy

How two organizations navigated data, investments, and net zero commitments

August 21, 2023 3 Minute Read


As the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly clearer, companies around the world are prioritizing their efforts to reduce environmental impact. Those same companies are acknowledging that creating a real estate decarbonization strategy that includes management, finance, operations, and decision-making can feel overwhelming.

What is decarbonization? Decarbonization is the permanent removal of carbon emissions from an organization’s value chain by implementing sustainable, clean energy systems and a low-tolerance approach to residual emissions.

According to CBRE’s recently released Decarbonization Guide, buildings are responsible for 37% of global carbon emissions and 34% of energy demand. Other environmental impacts of buildings include resource depletion, air, water and land pollution, and biodiversity loss. While these effects can seem daunting, the time to act is now and enterprises are going to need clear strategies, targets and roadmaps.

Decarbonization is an increased priority for Financial & Professional Services companies due to the now fundamental connection between financial and carbon metrics. Clients are acknowledging the urgency to work toward a greener, more resilient future, and many have made formal commitments to the Net Zero Banking Alliance.

Decarbonization strategy and programming supports a clear path to net zero by 2030

A global financial services client announced their target to reach net zero across their owned operations by 2030 as a member of the Net Zero Banking Alliance. They were looking for a partner to assist them with developing meaningful decarbonization strategies with responsible investments. CBRE was engaged to provide a bridge between their aspirations and the daily work of achieving their target performance goals. Together, these organizations have integrated technology systems to enable analyses that can identify operational efficiencies. The success in this partnership demonstrates the importance of alignment on overarching net zero goals to ensure implementation milestones and reporting expectations are delivered to support business outcomes.

Partnering with the client, CBRE developed an implementation roadmap considering the client’s priorities to reduce their carbon impact and increase cost effectiveness. Having a heavily leased portfolio across the U.S., the client prioritized strategic changes to improve leasing, completed a decarbonization audit, and implemented sustainability analytics that CBRE continues to manage. The roadmap provides the enterprise with the tools and data to realize their 2030 carbon goal with savings in owned operations. The solution was designed to achieve the client’s goals through a three-phased process:

  • Phase I: Emissions assessments and portfolio-wide carbon forecast
  • Phase II: Decarbonization audits and strategy implementation
  • Phase III: Change management for finance, procurement, engineering, operations, and governance

Decarbonization strategy provides net zero goal and performance assurance

Another financial services client had established sustainability goals but was looking for a partner to assess their emissions data hygiene, define GHG baseline performance for 2019, and revise enterprise Scope 1 and 2 emissions targets to reach their net zero goal. 

Through two collaborative workshops, the client articulated their current state need for an updated decarb baseline, shared initial observations from their data assessment and desire for a carbon footprint model, and requested recommendations to explore proper solutions. Leveraging a two-phased approach, this company is partnering with CBRE to dive deep into the current state of their emissions and develop a roadmap and sustainability data analytics solution with ongoing monitoring and reporting.
We have contracted [CBRE’s] Decarbonization team to help us with data cleansing, finding a software solution, and prepping actions toward a Net Zero goal. I am very impressed with the team and appreciate the value they are bringing to us.
ClientVP of Real Estate

Solutions CBRE Deployed

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