• Industry bodies support measure to make to make property greener
  • Protocol aims to improve energy efficiency and embrace renewable energy
  • Agreement is part of BRC Climate Action Roadmap, retail’s journey to Net Zero by 2040

Retailers and property owners have come together to develop a pioneering agreement to reduce the carbon emissions associated with retail properties. The Retailer/Landlord Net Zero Building Protocol outlines the principles required for Net Zero retail sites.

The Protocol aims to set high standards of sustainability between retailers and property owners. This would support businesses’ own commitments to reduce carbon emissions and align with the Government’s own requirements for increased building energy efficiency.

The Protocol covers two main areas: improving the energy efficiency of buildings and supporting greater use of renewable energy (both generation and procurement) within them.

On the former, the Protocol calls on property owners and retailers to improve energy efficiency by working collaboratively and investing in improvements such as insulation, and making it easier to share data on energy use. These agreements are important as they support investment whose financial returns will often stretch beyond the term of a lease.

In order to move towards more renewable energy, the Protocol asks retailers and property owners to support greater on-site generation of sustainable energy, explore options for purchasing of renewable energy (to drive cost down) and to consider positively the scope for offsetting carbon emissions through increased on-site biodiversity.

This guide is part of the BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap, supported by over 75 major retailers, which aims to ensure the Retail Industry and its supply chains are Net Zero by 2040. Retail has a key role to play in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels. In 2017, the full lifecycle of the sector’s sold goods had a footprint of around 215 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent – 31% of all GHG emissions associated with UK consumption.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“The Net Zero Building Protocol is a great opportunity for retailers and property owners to work together towards a greener future. The protocol is the first of its kind to address the sustainability of retail sites with an ambition to improve energy efficiency and embrace renewable energy.

“Climate action demands cross-industry collaboration, and this protocol gives retailers and property owners the language and structure to create a greener property market. The commitments in the protocol, and in the BRC Climate Action Roadmap, will see the retail industry and its supply chain reach net zero emissions by 2040."

Jane Wakiwaka, Environmental Sustainability Director at The Crown Estate, said: 

“Retail and real estate have a huge journey ahead on the transition to net zero, and decarbonising at the scale we need to see, will only be possible through collaboration between property owners and occupiers.

“This partnership is a really important step forward in identifying the practical ways our sectors can work together to tackle the crisis of our generation. We look forward to continuing to work together to turn this guidance into action.”  

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of British Property Federation, said: 

“Landlords are committed and ambitious about retrofitting properties to improve energy efficiency and deliver on net zero. We welcome an initiative that brings tenants and landlords together to reduce carbon emissions, as open dialogue and data-sharing will be vital to effective collaboration and delivery.”     

Sarah Ratcliffe, Chief Executive of the Better Buildings Partnership, said:

“We welcome the publication of this protocol led by the BRC and its members. We look forward to sharing the protocol with BBP members, with the aim of encouraging greater collaboration between owners and occupiers to address climate change.”

Nicki Woodhead, Head of Sustainability at WHSmith, said:

“The coming together of retailers and property owners in this pioneering protocol is the impetus we need to build a greener property market. Subscribing to these principles will help the retail industry get one step closer to a Net Zero future and we look forward to such principles becoming common practice.”